Psalm 46: When the Earth Trembles

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 46:1

Yellow, blue, and red flags adorned the stone walls. Iron gates and armored knights lined the brick road. Restored frescoes welcomed us from the archways. We were standing in the star shaped fortress in the heart of Romania as our host was explaining its magnificent history.

As the city was under siege long ago, the reigning Christian king, in a move of chivalry to protect his people, converted his palace into a monastery. As it was understood in those times, waring nations would not enter religious centers, and so this king gathered the people of the kingdom to live behind the fortified walls of his palace-turned monastery. And to this day, the city still remembers and celebrates the warrior king who was a stronghold for the kingdom.

Psalm 46 is a song about another warrior king—in fact the greatest of them all.

Perhaps the ground beneath your shoes is trembling right now. Maybe you’re walking through a spiritual battle. Maybe you’ve been standing in the rain and the waters are rising.  You just need to find shelter. You just need to find your strength again. You just need….help.

In Psalm 46, the psalmist says “though the earth give way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling,” we do not have to fear (2-3).

Despite the scene before you, the noises around you, the feelings inside you, the ground beneath you, beloved, you have a Warrior King on your side.

Who is this warrior King?

He is a REFUGE and STRENGTH for His people (v.1). Scripture describes Him as always found (Hb. matsa) when sought (v. 2). And when everything else is falling apart, we don’t have to worry. Why? Because we’ve been given a promise (v.5-6). A promise that when we need refuge and strength, God is our refuge and strength. And, from first tremble to the light at the end of the tunnel, trust and waiting will be required, but that early morning dawn will come (v. 5). And He cannot go back on His promise; it’s just not His nature.

He is WITH US (v. 7). He is the Lord of hosts who reigns sovereignly over the hosts of heaven and earth.  What’s more is that the earth RESPONDS to its Master: “He utters his voice, the earth melts” (v. 6) A voice that the very created world-earth, sky, and sea—bends towards and obeys. A word by the Almighty and the earth moves. A single utterance and the earth responds to its Maker. What a voice. No, what a Maker!

And finally, He is a FORTRESS (v. 7). This God of Israel—this God who chose to use the Jacobs and Sauls and Ruths and Rahabs to weave a redemptive thread into our existence—cares about you when the earth trembles below your feet.

So beloved? We can release our grip on the reins of control and run with gusto towards rest because of His Crown. And just like the Romanians running to the palace steps, each step is a step towards safety in the arms of the impenetrable, unshakeable, and immovable stronghold who is Yahweh.  And just like the Romanians, I would imagine that with every new dawn, peace will settle deeper into your hearts as the King reminds you of the promise that the war waging outside the walls does not have to wage within