The Berean Expositor
Volume 30 - Page 37 of 179
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The Eternal God is thy Refuge.
(Being a series of studies designed to encourage
the believer in times of stress).
"God is our Refuge and Strength" (Psa. 46: 1).
pp. 29, 30
After having considered the testimony of Moses, which provides the title for this
series, we turn almost instinctively to the Psalms. There have, of course, been great
doctrinal and dispensational changes since their immortal phrases were sung and penned,
but human experience and need, and Divine mercy and provision remain unchanged. Let
us turn, then, to Psalm 46:
"God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psa. 46: 1).
"The Lord of hosts is with us: The God of Jacob is our refuge" (Psa. 46: 7, 11).
The land and people of Israel were not strangers to war, and this Psalm probably refers
to the siege under Sennacherib. It does not celebrate "a victorious campaign, but a
successful defence" (Companion Bible).
"In the whole of Israel's history, there is only one event, of which we can here think,
the destruction of Sennacherib's army before the gates of Jerusalem, Isa. 37: 36 . . .
after the exodus from Egypt, there was no occasion more appropriate than this for
bringing vividly out the leading idea in this Psalm" (Hengstenberg).
The blessed refrain "God . . . . . is with us" is but an echo of the Immanuel ("God
with us") that we find in Isa. 8: 10; and just as Hezekiah prayed that through the
deliverance of Jerusalem the kingdoms of the earth "may know that Thou alone art the
Lord" (Isa. 37: 20), so in this Psalm we read:
"Know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the
earth" (Psa. 46: 10).
We note first of all in this psalm that the exultant reference to God as Refuge comes
three times--in verse 1, verse 7, and in the last verse, 11. Further, it should be noted that
the reference to the earth being "removed" and the waters "roaring" in verses 2 and 3,
corresponds with the "rage" of the heathen and the "moving" of the kingdoms in verse 6,
where the same two words are found in the original. The "Selah" between verses 3 and 4
draws attention to the contrast between the roaring waters without, and the gentle flow
within of the river that supplied, as from a secret source, the needs of Zion.
Coming back to the thought of the Refuge in this Psalm, we note next that the Psalmist
has been inspired to use two words to describe this refuge, and neither of them being the
same as that found in Deut. 33: 27. The word used in verse 1: "God is our refuge",
carries with it the idea of something one can "trust", as will be seen by its usage in