August 1, 2006
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalm 46: 10)
A true story: A retired couple was alarmed by the threat of nuclear war so they undertook a serious study of all the inhabited places on the globe. Their goal was to determine where in the world would be the place to be least likely affected by a war, a place of ultimate security. They studied and traveled, traveled and studied. Finally they found the place - an island. And on Christmas they sent their pastor a card from their new home - in the Falkland Islands. However, history tells us their so-called "paradise" was soon turned into a war zone by Britain and Argentina. - James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 402.
This morning bombs and missiles are flying in the Middle East. Terrorists are out to destroy Israel and anyone who supports her, namely the United States. Half of the country, including Detroit is experiencing record and dangerous heat. Babies are being murdered before they have a chance to live. A few more court decisions made today will push God out of our schools, families and nation... just a little bit more. People in Sudan are starving to death and children in South America are suffering from intestinal parasites. The streets of Honduras are filled with street children who have literally been discarded by their families to live alone and fend for themselves.
Closer to home...today someone will be served with divorce papers after many years of marriage. A doctor's report will come back with the dreaded diagnosis..cancer. A phone call will come from the police that a son has been arrested. A daughter is on drugs. An abuser strikes another few blows at the face. A parent dies. Job stress and grouchy co-workers ruin a good work day. The sun rises on another day behind bars. Reckless words pierce like a sword. Gossip and slander ruin yet another reputation.
Psalm 46 warns us about adverse circumstances and perils that we will face. And it also provides us with the answers that we need to find that ultimate place of safety and security. Unlike our retired couple, the place to travel and study is in God's Word, not in travel brochures and The Travel Channel. Ultimate security is in God, not in the world. Ultimate security comes from faith, not our circumstances. Ultimate security comes from knowledge of Eternity, not in the present.
God is so fair. He is so honest with us. He doesn't make us believe that when we are His children we will not have to suffer perils, trial, tribulations and troubles. Jesus Himself tells us that "in this world you will have trouble." (John 16: 33). James tells us that we will fall into divers temptations and trials of many kinds. (James 1: 2) Peter says we may have to suffer grief for a season in all kinds of trials. (1 Peter 1: 6 ) I think of the old saying, "Forewarned is forearmed." Psalm 46: 2-3 says that "the earth may give way, the mountains may fall into the sea, the waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." Perils can be great...but God is greater and He is "our refuge" (Hebrew word: mahseh means "shelter from danger") and our strength, our courage. He is an ever present help in trouble. (Psalm 46: 1) Verse 7 tells us that God is our fortress (Hebrew word: misgob means "a high, safe place). God is present whatever the outward circumstances may be. He is our shelter from danger and our high, safe place.
It's just like our loving, wonderful God to step in right when all seems lost and give us a word of hope. Right near the end of the Psalm, He draws near to us and whispers in our ear, "Be still....and know that I am God." The Amplified Bible says "know (recognize and understand) that I am God." I love the way the Message says it: "Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at Me, your High God, above politics, above everything." He says, "Look at Me. I've got it all under control." He tells us in Psalm 47 that He is seated on His holy throne. He didn't get up and leave. He's still there. He's still in charge. He's still in control. The world and evil haven't swallowed up all of your hope. Circumstances haven't ended it all for you. God wants you to refrain from your vain strivings and lack of confidence and have a silent trust in His saving power.
The power that will give you strength to go on without that man. The power that will make you wise to help your child through the crisis, without falling apart yourself. The power to believe that the treatment will work and that you will be healed. The power to face grief and mourning with hope in eternal life. The power to smile and speak kindly to those grouchy co-workers and show them the love of Christ in spite of how ugly they act and to do your job "as unto the Lord." (see Colossians 3: 23) The power to be like Teflon and let the slanderous words and the gossip about you just slide off and allow you to overlook offense and forgive. (see Proverbs 12: 16) The power to take a deep breath and do what you must do to leave that abusive situation. You don't deserve to be treated that way. Arm yourself with who you know you are in Christ and move on! The power to be free in your spirit even when you're looking at prison bars.
Know today that He is God. Isaiah 43: 2-3 says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." The only way out is through. But He is there, with you, right by your side. He covers you with the shadow of His hand. (see Isaiah 51: 16) You are protected. You are not alone. Take His hand and go through with Him. From the other side of the world in the Middle East to the quiet of your bedroom where you shed tears of grief, loneliness and confusion, He is God in all things, in all places, at all times.
The rock badger hides in the crags in the rock. They are gray in color and blend well with the rocks. When a predator comes to attack, they will run into a hole, the crag in the rock. The vulture or eagle must sweep down on them before they get into the rocks. The badgers know where their security lies. If they decide to go off to the field or forest, venturing away from the rock, then it is vulnerable. It doesn?t matter how courageous they are, it doesn?t matter how strong or fast they can run, the most courageous badgers can fall victim to the smallest wolf or lion. When it wanders away from the rock, a badger is dead meat. If you have the wisdom of a badger, you?ll know where your security is ? the Rock of ages. The security you must have is the security of God himself. (Christian Cheong, www.sermoncentral.com)
Be still and know that He is God!
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