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  Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #166
Posted: December 11,2008

PSALM 46:1-3


We step in this week to our study of Psalm 46. I might add that this is one of my favorite Psalms. The Bible title is ‘To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth.’  This is a special song to be sung by special people.  The Psalmist wants the chief choir leader and chief singers to sing this song.  The word ‘Alamoth’ is a word for the young virgin with a high soprano voice.  This is a song to be sung with a high note of praise.  This is not what we would call a congregational song but a special song. 

            It has been called by many of the reformers ‘Luther’s Psalm’.  For that reason I want to look at it under the title of “A Mighty Fortress”.  Let us look at verses 1-3, which say, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.”

            This song can be equally divided in three parts by the word, ‘Selah’. (Vs. 3,7,11)  I want to look this week at verses 1-3 which I have called ‘The Sanctuary Of The Mighty Fortress’.  Let us look in verse 1 at the fact of ‘It Is My Sanctuary’.  A sanctuary in the olden days was a place where one could run who was in trouble.  It was usually in the house of God.  No one could touch him, not even the law.  In verse 1 we are told, “God is our refuge…” The word ‘our’ speaks of ones personal property.  The word ‘refuge’ is a sanctuary, a place to which one could go quietly for protection. It is a cleft in the rock.  He is my strength. When we wait upon our God He renews our strength.  The word ‘renew’ tells us we can exchange our strength for His.  When we wait upon Him we find He is a ‘present help’.  The phrase means help that comes in the nick of time.  The word ‘trouble’ means in a tight place.  The Psalmist is telling us in a tight place where everything is pressing in, our God will come through just in the nick of time.  He will offer Himself as a place to hide until the trouble passes over.

            A second fact we find in verses 2-3 is that of ‘It s A Mighty Sanctuary’.  There is much devastation going on in these verses.  The earth is ‘removed’, mountains ‘carried’ into the sea, waters ‘roar’ and are ‘troubled’, and mountains ‘shake’.  There certainly seems to be a natural disaster.  The word ‘remove’, means to be disposed of.  We know that America is never mentioned in the Bible prophecy and have to wonder at the thought of the earth being disposed.  The words to describe the water, roaring and troubled, remind me of the Old Testament writer when he said the wicked are like the troubled sea continually turning and churning up mud and filth.  The word ‘shake’ is used to describe the mountain in a time of great earthquakes.  The writer of Hebrews says that one day our God will shake the heavens and earth so that which cannot be shaken may remain.

            The Psalmist says in verse 2 that while all of this is going on “…will not we fear.”   How can these horrible things be going on and the people of God not be afraid?  It is simple. ‘God is our refuge’. We who live in Him will not care about what goes on outside of Him for we know it cannot come near us.

            The last fact we see of the ‘Mighty Fortress’ is ‘It Is A Mindful Sanctuary’.  The Psalm closes verse 3 with the word ‘Selah’.  The word means to stop and change the focus.  Let us stop looking around and look up.  When I think of the marvelous sanctuary of the Mighty Fortress we have in God to hide, I am reminded of John Phillips’ definition of the word ‘Selah’ which is, ‘Well, what do you think about that?’