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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2018.01.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 46

Questions for Littles: Who is our refuge and strength (1a)? What else is He (1b)? What, therefore, won’t we do (2a)? When (2b)? And when else (2c)? And when (3a)? And when (3b)? What was one event when these things literally happened? What water from v4 is not water of judgment? Whose city does this river make glad? What else does v4 call this city? Who is in the midst of her (v5a)? What does this keep from happening to her? Who helps her (5b)? When? What happened when the nations raged (6a)? What happened when the Lord just uttered His voice (6b)? Who is with us (7a, 11a)? What is our refuge (7b, 11b)? What are we encouraged to do (8a)? In this case, what works specifically are we to behold (8a)? And v9? What are these raging and warring nations commanded to do (v10a)? Who wins this battle for supremacy among the nations (10b)? In all the earth (10c)? 
This week’s Call to Worship, Invocation, and Confession of sin came from Psalm 46.
Here is a great Psalm of confidence in the Lord. If God is our refuge—where we go to be safe—and our strength, … then what danger should really cause us to fear?

Really, there is only one that comes close. The judgment and wrath of God Himself. This is the danger that removes the earth. This is the danger that casts mountains into the sea. The flood (and the burning of fire at the return of Christ) are utterly terrifying.

But think about the flood. Who, in the flood, had God as his refuge and strength. To whom was God the present help in trouble? This is the great safety of Noah. Not the ark. But Him who is causing the devastation, destruction, and desolation beneath the ark.

Did you catch that in v8? “Come, behold the works of the Lord.” What works? “Who had made desolations in the earth.” The world-destroying power of God is actually a comfort to those who know that this world-destroying power is for them, not against them.

If by having God as our refuge, we have faced down God’s own wrath, then what have we to fear from men, and governments, and armies, and nations? There were plenty of those in place, when the earth had been “filled with violence” in Genesis 6, and God destroyed them all with one great stroke. Just so—it can be fearful when nations rage and kingdoms move. But our God’s power is such that the mere uttering of His voice makes the earth to melt!

“Yahweh of Hosts” is a name that highlights this. Not only is He the Creator of all, so that everything depends upon Him, but one of the things that He created are the angel armies—the hosts—that are under His command. But He is not just our God of unlimited power, He is our God of amazing grace!

“God of Jacob” is a name that highlights this. He doesn’t use the name “Israel” that covenant name of faith. No, there is plenty of “Jacob” left in believers in this life. That name, of course, highlighted how Jacob was a heel-grasper, who from the womb lived by his wits: manipulating, tricking, and stealing however he could to get his way. This was anything but a man of faith.

No, God does not shrink from identifying Himself with people who need such grace as we do. He is a God of amazing grace!!
What current situations seem most difficult to you? How will you remember God’s power for you?
Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge” or HB381 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength”

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