There is a direct correlation between who God is and how His people are to respond. What we know and believe about our King should make a difference in how we respond to our circumstance.
I’m chewing on Psalm 46 this morning. The song’s theme isn’t hard to identify, it’s the line repeated twice.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
(Psalm 47:7, 11 ESV)
God is our fortress. Though the earth gives way and mountains start tumbling into the sea, God is our fortress. Though the nations rage and the enemies of God rise with bow, spear, and chariot, God is our fortress. And if it is true that God is our fortress, our refuge, our strength and “a very present help in trouble” (v.1), then declares the psalmist . . .
. . . we will not fear . . . (Psalm 47:2a ESV)
Then how come we so often find ourselves fearful? Why can the grip of anxiety become so tight we find it hard to breath? Why does what we know to be true about our God seem to fade in the background as we’re consumed by what we don’t know about the future?
No simple answers. But maybe a couple of clues in this song. Clues found in taking note of the two commands directed to God’s people in a song which is otherwise all about our God.
Come, behold the works of the LORD . . .
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
(Psalm 46:8a, 10a ESV)
Behold and be still. See and let it sink in. Perceive and ponder. Look and listen. Reflect on the works of God and then rest in the presence of God.
I wonder if how busy and distracted we can become isn’t at the heart of how disquieted we often feel. And, while I’m not suggesting there’s a formula for eliminating the fear factor, I’m thinking there are at least a couple of solid principles here.
Behold the works of the LORD. No need to run through a long list of works, just bow before the cross, His greatest finished work. Consider the work that surpasses all other works. Greater than creation is the making of a new creation. More astounding than deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, is the deliverance from the bondage of sin. More amazing than seeing the Red Sea parted, is knowing the veil torn asunder, from top to bottom, allowing free access into the holy of holies because we’ve been robed in Christ’s righteousness.
Behold the work of the cross. Consider afresh His atoning sacrifice. Marvel anew at Calvary’s declaration as to the degree to which God so loved the world.
And then, be still. Having recalled the cross, now reflect on the cross. Knowing it again, noodle on it awhile. Sit beneath its shadow. Gaze upon its glory.
That’s what our devotional times are for. Not just to check a box, work through a reading plan, or maintain a routine. But to behold and be still.
That’s what communion is for. Not simply a sacred ordinance. Far more than a monthly end of service add-on. But a new opportunity to behold and to be still.
And then, when we do, I’m thinking we may just find the song’s lyrics on our lips, “Therefore we will not fear.”
Behold and be still . . . and then God our fortress will be known.
Because of His abiding grace. For His all-deserving glory.