To hear someone else's story of success is often motivational. It an build our faith. In the early 1900's, Horatio Alger wrote stories about impoverished boys who managed to rise above their low place in life. Poverty was rampant. Horatio Alger wrote to encourage boys and young men of their potential.
The Bible has many encouraging words. Horatio Alger stories for the spirit! Let's look at one.
Psalm 46 is thought to have been written after the conflict between the Assyrians and the nation of Judah. The events are reported in 2 Kings 18-20. Hezekiah was king, and he had been a good king. The enemy, Assyrians were powerful. They were the world empire of the time.
The Assyrians came to Judah and captured each walled city. King Hezekiah was intent on protecting Jerusalem, so he offered to pay a ransom if the Assyrians would not attack Jerusalem.
Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, declared an amount that could be paid for ransom. Hezekiah raised the necessary funds. The Assyrians attacked anyway. There are some people you should not do business with. The Assyrians, Satan and the world have much in common. They promise but never provide.
Hezekiah, went to his friend Isaiah with the problem. Isaiah gave Hezekiah a prophetic word. The Assyrians would leave without having shot an arrow. Due to conflict elsewhere it happened as Isaiah prophesied. But, the Assyrians soon returned and camped around Jerusalem.
This time, Hezekiah did not ask Isaiah to pray. The king prayed himself. (As a note. It is good to have someone else pray about your need, perhaps it is better to mature enough to know how to pray for yourself.) God used Isaiah to give Hezekiah a word of assurance. On the same night, the angel of the Lord smote 185,000 Assyrians. The next morning they were dead. The Assyrian army immediately headed back home.
Psalm 46 - A Retrospective
The psalm is written after the stressful time with the Assyrians. But it described realities that existed while the Assyrians surrounded Jerusalem. So, when you feel threatened take a look at Psalm 46. Read it aloud. Your confidence will rise.
God is With You
- God . . . is a very present help in trouble. (verse 1)
- God is in the midst of her (Jerusalem). (verse 5)
- The Lord of hosts is with us. (verses 7, 11)
The word translated "trouble" in verse 1 could have been translated tightness. Is anybody feeling "uptight?" He is a present help when you are uptight.
World empires come and go, but God is with you. Politicians rise and fall, but God is with you. Sickness comes and goes, but God is with you. The book of Ezekiel ends with the words: Jehovah-Shammah. It means, "The Lord is there!" Are you in His church - the Lord is there. Are you part of the bride of Christ - the Lord is there. Are you full of the Holy Ghost - the Lord is there.
God is a Refuge
- God is our refuge (verse 1).
- . . . the God of Jacob is our refuge (verses 7,11)
Two different Hebrew words for refuge are used. Both showcase God's protection. In verse 1, God is a refuge in the way walls provide protection to a city. In verses 7 and 11, God is a refuge as an embankment or cliff an enemy must climb in order to get to the walled city.
If you aren't content to live behind the walls of His protection, then see yourself living behind walls above a cliff. He is your protector. The writer of Psalm 46 could now attest to it. God had proven Himself to be a refuge.
God Will Help You
His power comes into play. His strength is not set aside. Jesus is not simply present as a spectator. He is a participant.
- A very present help in trouble. (verse 1).
- God shall help her and that right early. (verse 5).
- Come, behold the works of the Lord . . . (verse 8).
- He maketh wars to cease . . . breaketh the bow . . . cutteth the spear . . . burneth the chariot. (verse 9).
Who? He! Who is he? The Lord (verse 1), God (verse 5), the Lord of hosts (verse 7).
In the New Testament this powerful helper is fully unveiled. His name is Jesus. He is the Christ. He will help you. Today, His spirit known as the Holy Ghost can be in you as a power helping you prevail. God's power will help you.
And God said, "Hands Off!"
It was Israel's retrospective but it is also a present reality. Let the lone declaration from this God in Psalm 46 be compelling: Be still, and know that I am God . . .
"Be still" (verse 10) means, "Take your hands off, relax." You have trouble with letting be God be God. You like to be in charge. You need to have your hands on the wheel. Go ahead, admit it. But in your current moment of great stress, tension, pressure and change, God says, "Hands off. Take your hands off. Relax, let me take care of things." Can you do it?
He is present for you.
He is protective of you.
He is powerful in you.
Be still, and know that He is God!
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