Read Psalm 46
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Depending on the version of Scripture you are using, this powerful phrase is repeated two or three times within a span of 11 verses. So what did the author mean and why was it worth repeating multiple times?
“Host” here doesn’t mean hospitality. Instead, this name for God which appears 261 times in the Old Testament means armies, referencing the angelic armies of heaven. This God of the angelic armies is the same God “whose eye was on Jacob even before his birth, who watched as Jacob trapped himself in his own schemes and reached out to him when he was his most vulnerable.” The God of Jacob as our fortress references God’s covenant of protection for His people, in spite of our best attempts to mess things up. He loves us so much that He will even wrestle us free from our own will, so that He can get us to the place where we can receive His blessing (Genesis 32:22-29). Read that closely: Armies of heavenly angels stand at God’s beck and call, ready to battle for us and to protect us no matter what is surrounding us even though we have done everything possible not to deserve it. Understanding the background now, notice again when and how the psalmist uses this phrase.
Though we face imminent doom, though we are in the midst of a storm, though the very earth moves beneath our feet and a tsunami is over-taking us, though mountains fall into the sea, and all seems to be lost we can believe this truth: The God of the armies of heaven is with us, and He will not break His covenant. When nations are at war, when kingdoms that seemed invincible fall to ruin, when everything and everyone around us seems to be at odds, the God of the armies of heaven is with us, and He will not break His covenant. He merely utters His voice and the earth melts. He is in control.
God is our defense, an ever-present help in times of trouble. But, just as importantly, God is our offense. We are called to completely surrender our own initiatives, trusting the God that “bans war from pole to pole and breaks every weapon over His knee.” The God of the armies of heaven is with us, and He will not break His covenant. We can be still. We can breathe.
Whatever it is today that is surrounding you, even if it is threatening to shake the ground beneath you and wreak havoc in every area of your life, you can trust God. You can lay down your weapons of worry, fear, desperation, anger, and control. You can be still and rest. The God of the armies of heaven is with you, and He will not break His covenant.
- Maybe you have trusted God to come to your defense, but have you trusted Him to go on the offense for you?
- What weapons have you been using in your fight? Ask God to help you identify them and help you lay them down so that you can be still and trust Him.
- If you feel prompted, reach out to someone you trust today and confess what battles you have been trying to fight on your own. Ask that person to hold you accountable in surrendering your own initiatives and trusting God to help you in your time of trouble.