Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
By Chris WittsSaturday 14 Nov 2020Morning Devotions with Chris Witts
I wonder if you’ve ever taken notice of the way people pray? Children have a lovely way of praying—they’re so honest and truthful.
Like the little boy in kindergarten class who prayed: Lord, if you can’t make me a better boy, don’t worry about it. I’m having a real good time just like I am.
Or the 9-year-old who was overhead praying, Dear God, please help me in school. I need help in spelling, adding, history, geography and writing. I don’t need help in anything else. It’s not only children who pray—I have a feeling many adults also pray, especially when things are going against them. And then there’s the prayer that sums up the thoughts of many of us, God, please take care of yourself because if anything happens to you we’re in a heap of trouble. It’s a very interesting prayer.
When the World Crumbles Around Us
In the Old Testament we have the Psalms, and I’m thinking especially of Psalm 46. Try reading it sometime—it’s short, with only 11 verses. This prayer was written in the context of problems. Actually, it’s a song about stress and uncertainty. The writer’s world was crumbling all around him and he kept coming back to the truth that since nothing can happen to God, everything would be alright.
Millions of people over the centuries have turned to this Psalm during times of trouble and turmoil. Maybe you need these words right now; others will need them later because if you’re not afraid or anxious today, you may be tomorrow. I read that Billy Graham read from Psalm 46 at a church service soon after the 9/11 tragedy in the United States. Also, It’s a beautiful prayer read at hospitals when someone is afraid of surgery the next day.
Many times ministers have read Psalm 46 as a word of comfort and hope. Verses 1-3 (CEV) say:
God is our mighty fortress,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
And so, we won’t be afraid. Let the earth tremble
and the mountains tumble into the deepest sea.
Let the ocean roar and foam,
and its raging waves shake the mountains.
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God Is Our Refuge
In the midst of whatever you’re feeling today, God wants to be your refuge, strength, and your help. God is our protection even when what seems permanent is demolished. When the world crashes in around us, God is still there, protecting us. The word ‘refuge’ literally means to flee, as in running to a shelter.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1 – NKJV)
While the idea of a refuge is a bit vague to us, the first readers of this Psalm understood this concept very clearly. In the Old Testament six ‘cities of refuge’ were set up for those who had accidentally killed someone. It was common for a blood relative to seek revenge on the one who had killed his family member so this allowed the perpetrator a place to flee for safety.
What a great picture of God’s heart! He gives safety and refuge to his people, especially when they are in crisis. This is the same theme in Psalm 9:9: “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” If your world is rocked right now, if you are tired of running, run to the Rock of Refuge and seek safety in his strength.
And Our Strength
The word ‘strength’ implies that we can rely on his might when we feel weak and defenceless. And we’ve all felt like that at times. You know of course that nothing saps our strength like stress. Proverbs 18:10: “The Lord is a mighty tower where His people can run for safety”. In other versions they use the phrase ever-present help. And that means God is quick to give assistance.
It literally means that he has ‘proved’ himself to be such a help in the past and we can therefore trust in him in the present. He has been ‘tested’ and found to be trustworthy. No crisis is too big for God to handle and nothing will happen to him. Because of this we do not have to fear.
Amazingly, in the Old Testament there are 21 different words for trouble. This shows that there are many ways for us to be in need. Here in this Psalm 46 it means to be in a tight place, experiencing affliction, distress, or tribulation. God is calling us today to not live in fear because he is our refuge, strength and help.
If we run to him we will not be afraid. If God is your refuge and strength, you don’t have anything to worry about. If you are full of worry or anxiety, then perhaps you haven’t yet put your trust in Almighty God. He will do his part as you seek protection in him.
(To be continued in Disaster and Psalm 46 – Part 2)
By Rev. Brian Bill