Learn the Secret of Stillness
INTERESTING FACTS : John Adams, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; JUDGE; DIPLOMAT; ONE OF TWO SIGNERS OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; SECOND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
"The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.
"The Holy Ghost carries on the whole Christian system in this earth. Not a baptism, not a marriage, not a sacrament can be administered but by the Holy Ghost. . . . There is no authority, civil or religious ? there can be no legitimate government but what is administered by this Holy Ghost. There can be no salvation without it. All without it is rebellion and perdition, or in more orthodox words damnation."
DAILY READING : PSALMS 46 - 50
TEXT : PSALM 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 46:2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 46:3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. 46:7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
THEME : PEACE
Happy is the man [or woman] that gains wisdom from the Almighty. [Pro_3:13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.] For this knowledge is not granted to everyone. It is only given to those who seek Him will all their heart. [Jer_29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.] Therefore, you are the better if your first choice is to seek and serve the LORD. Those who do, enjoy a rare understanding of life that will protect them in every circumstance. No matter what life brings in the way of destruction, you will be able to enjoy a peculiar peace if Christ is your refuge and strength that others do not possess.
For the Christian, we do not find our help in the government, our armed forces, or our combined patriotism. Our sole support in Christ, and Christ alone. "Sola Christus" - "Christ Alone," was one of the five "solas" of the Protestant Reformation and it is the anthem and credo of the Christian.
"God is our refuge and strength." Not our armies, or our fortresses. Israel's boast is in Jehovah, the only living and true God. Others vaunt their impregnable castles, placed on inaccessible rocks and secured with gates of iron, but God is a far better refuge from distress than all these: and when the time comes to carry the war into the enemy's territories, the Lord stands his people in better stead than all the valour of legions or the boasted strength of chariot and horse. Soldiers of the cross, remember this, and count yourselves safe, and make yourselves strong in God. Forget not the personal possessive word "our;" make sure each one of your portion in God, that you may say, "He is my refuge and strength." Neither forget the fact that God is our refuge just now, in the immediate present, as truly as when David penned the word. God alone is our all in all. All other refuges are refuges of lies, all other strength is weakness, for power belongeth unto God: but as God is all-sufficient, our defence and might are equal to all emergencies. "A very present help in trouble," or in distresses he has so been found, he has been tried and proved by his people. He never withdraws himself from his afflicted. He is their help, truly, effectually, constantly; he is present or near them, close at their side and ready for their succour, and this is emphasised by the word "very" in our version, he is more present than friend or relative can be, yea, more nearly present than even the trouble itself. To all this comfortable truth is added the consideration that his assistance comes at the needed time. He is not as the swallows that leave us in the winter; he is a friend in need and a friend indeed. When it is very dark with us, let brave spirits say, "Come, let us sing the Psa_46:1-11."
"A fortress firm, and steadfast rock, Is God in time of danger; A shield and sword in every shock,
From foe well-known or' stranger." [C.H. SPURGEON]
Christ, a historical Person and our Savior, is a "Place" as well as God come in the flesh. He tells us to "abide" in Him which means "to stay." If we do, we have exceptional promises that will keep us safe and will also keep our minds peaceful in the tempest of life's frequent and violent storm's. [Joh 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Joh 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Joh 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Joh 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Joh 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. /Psa_91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.]
Christ is always present to help us. All you have to do is call on Him from wherever you are. If you do, He is faithful to deliver you from all your fears and troubles.
"God is our refuge and strength - God is for us as a place to which we may flee for safety; a source of strength to us in danger. The first word, "refuge," from a verb meaning to "flee," and then "to flee to" - הסה châsâh - or to take shelter in - denotes a place to which one would flee in time of danger - as a lofty wall; a high tower; a fort; a fortress. See the notes at Psa_18:2. The idea here is, that the people of God, in time of danger, may find him to be what such a place of refuge would be. Compare Pro_18:10. The word "strength" implies that God is the source of strength to those who are weak and defenseless; or that we may rely on his strength "as if" it were our own; or that we may feel as safe in his strength as though we had that strength ourselves. We may make it the basis of our confidence as really as though the strength resided in our own arm. See the notes at Psa_18:2.
A very present help - The word "help" here means aid, assistance. The word "trouble" would cover all that can come upon us which would give us anxiety or sorrow. The word rendered "present" - נמצא nimetsâ' - means rather, "is found," or "has been found;" that is, he has "proved" himself to be a help in trouble. The word "present," as if he were near to us, or close by us, does not accurately express the idea, which is rather, that "he has been found" to be such, or that he has always "proved" himself to be such a help, and that, therefore, we may now confide in him. The word "very," or "exceedingly," is added to qualify the whole proposition, as if this were "emphatically true." It was true in the most eminent sense that God had always been found to be such a helper, and, "therefore," there was nothing to fear in the present distress." Psa_46:2. [ALBERT BARNES]
Like the cities of refuge the LORD established under the Law for the accused to find sanctuary in, you too can run to Christ. He is your refuge and your help in times of trouble. Every living person knows life is difficult. Sin has brought all these worries, frustrations, and difficulties on us. However, you can run to Christ anytime and find help.
"God is our refuge and strength,.... That is, Christ, who is God as well as man, is the "refuge" for souls to fly unto for safety; as for sensible sinners, in a view of danger, wrath, and misery, so for saints, in every time of distress; typified by the cities of refuge, under the legal dispensation; See Gill on Psa_9:9; and he it is from whom they have all their spiritual strength, and every renewal and supply of it, to exercise grace, perform duties, withstand enemies, bear the cross patiently, show a fortitude of mind under the sorest distresses, and hold on and out unto the end: in short, he is the strength of their hearts, under the greatest trials, of their lives, amidst the greatest dangers; and of their salvation, notwithstanding all their enemies;
a very present help in trouble; whether inward or outward, of soul or body; the Lord helps his people under it to bear it, and he helps them out of it in the most proper and seasonable time: they are poor helpless creatures in themselves; nor can any other help them but the Lord, who made heaven and earth; and he helps presently, speedily, and effectually: in the Hebrew text it is, "he is found an exceeding help in trouble" (t); in all kind of trouble that the saints come into, the Lord has been found, by experience, to be an exceeding great helper of them; moreover, he is easily and always to be come at, and found by them for their help." [JOHN GILL]
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "LEARN THE SECRET OF STILLNESS"
There is a secret in being still that only the believer in Christ enjoys. In this place of solitude [of the soul] the believer hears God whisper - "I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth." Blessed is the Christian who has heard Him speak those words to their own mind. It has kept them in life from the dangers, toils, and snares that Newton wrote of in "Amazing Grace." The LORD is a fountain of power that never runs dry.
Be still, etc. — literally, "Leave off to oppose Me and vex My people. I am over all for their safety." (Compare Isa_2:11; Eph_1:22). [JAMESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN]
God is also a jealous God. He is protective of His children as well. Let the [false] gods [and those that worship them] say what they will. The One True God knows there is no God beside Him.
Isa_43:11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. Isa_44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. Isa_44:8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. Isa_45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: Isa_45:6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. Isa_45:21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
"Be still, and know that I am God - הרפו harpu, Cease from your provocations of the Divine justice; cease from murmuring against the dispensations of his providence; cease from your labor for a season, that ye may deeply reflect on the severity and goodness of God - severity to those who are brought down and destroyed; goodness to you who are raised up and exalted: - cease from sin and rebellion against your God; let that disgrace you no more, that we may no more be brought into distress and desolation.
Know that I am God - Understand that I am the Fountain of power, wisdom, justice, goodness, and truth.
I will be exalted among the heathen - By the dispensation of punishments, the heathen shall know me to be the God of justice; by the publication of my Gospel among them, they shall know me to be the God of goodness. I will be exalted in the earth - I will have my salvation proclaimed in every nation, among every people, and in every tongue. " [ADAM CLARKE]
Desolations have come in history past, and more are yet to come. God's judgments are frightening to those who are the object of them. However, the follower of Christ never fears. He or she knows Christ will build His Church, and the gates of Hell [itself] shall never prevail against it. [Mat_16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. ] This is the child of God's everlasting rest - God is God, and He will protect and save His own!
"Come and see the effects of desolating judgments, and stand in awe of God. This shows the perfect security of the church, and is an assurance of lasting peace. Let us pray for the speedy approach of these glorious days, and in silent submission let us worship and trust in our almighty Sovereign. Let all believers triumph in this, that the Lord of hosts, the God of Jacob, has been, is, and will be with us; and will be our Refuge. Mark this, take the comfort, and say, If God be for us, who can be against us? With this, through life and in death, let us answer every fear." [MATTHEW HENRY]
The Day of the LORD is yet to come. That is, the appointed time when Christ will judge the living and the dead, then rule and reign. It is a fearful and dreadful Day for those who have refused the mercy of the Great King. However, it is a day of deliverance for the believer in God's Word, written by the apostles and prophets - Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone. Keep in mind the destruction of Egypt in the days of the exodus was the deliverance of Israel. Likewise, one event - the Coming of the LORD, will be experienced differently by all the people of the world. To one, the LORD will be a Judge, a Conquering Host, and a terror. To the Christian He will be as He is now - an everlasting source of comfort and consolation.
"Be still, and know that I am God,.... These words are thought by some to be spoken by the Lord to the nations of the world, to "cease from war", as the Targum renders the words; or from going up any more against Jerusalem, as Jarchi interprets them; and that they were spoken to them before the breaking of their bows, &c. as Aben Ezra observes; or that they are an exhortation to them to cease from their evil works, and know that the Lord is God, and has power to raise up and to make low; which, is Kimchi's sense of the words: but they are rather a continuation of the church's address to the fearful among them, as before to behold the works of the Lord, so here to hearken to what he says, as follows, "be still"; not that they should be like sticks and stones, stupid, indolent, and unconcerned at the commotions that were in the earth, and be unaffected with the judgments of God, and be wholly silent and inactive; but that they should not be fearful, nor fretful and impatient, or restless and tumultuous; but be quiet and easy, resigned to the will of God, and live in an assured expectation of the appearance of divine Providence in their layout. And "know"; own and acknowledge that he is God, a sovereign Being that does whatsoever he pleases; that he is unchangeable in his nature, purposes, promises, and covenant; that he is omnipotent, able to help them and deliver them at the last extremity; that he is omniscient, knows their persons, cases, and troubles, and how and where to hide them till the storm is over; that he is the all wise God, and does all things after the counsel of his own will, and makes all things work together for good to them; and that he is faithful to his word and promise, and will not suffer them to be overpressed and bore down with troubles. Who further says for their encouragement, and is to be hearkened to in it,
I will be exalted among the Heathen; with or in the conversion of the Gentiles; when the kingdoms of this world shall become Christ's, and all nations shall come and worship before him, Rev_11:15. Or in the destruction of the Gentiles; the Papists, the antichristian states; which will cause great rejoicings, hallelujahs, and attributions of honour and glory to him, Rev_16:5; so Jarchi interprets the words, "I will be exalted", בצקמתי, "in my vengeance"; that I will take upon the Heathen;
I will be exalted in the earth; now Christ is exalted in heaven at the right hand of God, before long he will be exalted in the earth, where he was despised and rejected, crucified and slain; he will be King over all the earth; his dominion will be from one end of it to the other; his tabernacle will be among men; and his people, as kings and priests, will reign with him on earth; by whom he, and he alone, will be exalted in the dignity of his person and offices, and, especially in his kingly office, Zec_14:9. The consideration of which may serve to remove fears and dismayings of mind under present troubles." [JOHN GILL]