A refuge is war terminology, usually a place you can run to in the heat of a battle.  It is generally a secure fortress, or hiding place, where you can renew your strength and re-strategize for the battle.

What is a refuge to you?  Is it a place that you can run to when things are scary?  What is strength to you? Is it feeling weak and yet finding strength inside and outside of yourself?

Do you know where to find a refuge and strength?

Unlike most of the other psalms which start with describing the crisis the Psalmist finds themselves in, Psalm 46 starts with a statement about God’s provision:

“God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

Notice that God is the only refuge and strength offered, there is no other, and that it is very present as opposed to distant help.  In the Amplified version it says: “a very present and well-proved help in trouble.”  One of the privileges we have as modern day believers is that God is always present with us and lives inside of us. (Heb 13:5; 1 Cor 6:19)

It is believed this Psalm 47 (and Psalm 48) was written around the events of Isaiah 37, when the kings of Assyria marched against God’s people and surrounded Jerusalem.  The angel of the Lord went out and put to death 185 000 men in the camp.  When the people woke up, there were dead bodies in the camp and the kings withdrew.  God fought for His people without the people having to lift a finger.

The people celebrated the might of God and His presence with them.

The psalm is divided into three sections each divided by the word “Selah” which means pause and think on it.  The purpose is to think on the words that you have just sung to bring you to spiritual insight.

First the psalmist says that when the mountains shake and the earth gives way and we find ourselves on unsteady ground, drowning and things that were once firm are now shaky. Then, we are to remember that the Lord is our strength and refuge.  We are to think on that.

Secondly when the nations are in uproar and kingdoms are falling, we are to remember that God is present with us and that we will not fall.  God will be our help at the break of day because He is in fact the Lord Almighty (Lord of the Angel Armies) and very personal to us as our God (the God of Jacob).  He is  more than able to calm the whole earth by His command and is equally more than able to calm the storm in your life by a Word from Him. (Mark 4:38) We are to think on that.

Thirdly, when we know and see God in all His power cause wars to cease and destroy the power of our enemies, we are to be still (cease our own fighting in circumstances) and know and recognize that HE IS God (Psalm 46:10).

The chorus repeats that HE IS the Lord Almighty (Lord of the Angel Armies), ever-present with us, our covenantal God (of Jacob) who protects us.  We are to think on that.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty when you listen to the news and watch what is going on in the world around us? Or filled with fear about what is going to happen in your life when you consider your circumstances.  In a world filled with trouble and uncertainty, you may be looking at a year of uncertainty, or have a day of uncertainty, or a moment of uncertainty, but we can be certain that God is with us and that He is strong. (Psalm 2 and 93)

It isn’t about not being afraid of uncertainty, but it is about no longer striving, worrying, fighting in these circumstances, but instead quietening our spirit and focusing on WHO God is and His presence with us in those same circumstances.

“Be still, and know I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted on earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

He is the I AM God and He is always in control and always wins, this Psalm tells us to focus on that. This psalm is not about being quiet and doing nothing, as some would consider that verse to be saying “be still and know.” Instead it is an instruction from the Lord to know and understand who HE IS and that you are secure in Him, safe in His unfailing love.

Then we will know Him as our refuge and strength.

Take action, stop right now, and complete the sentence to yourself: God is … to you.

Meditate on the words of the song “God leads His dear children.”

In shady, green pastures so rich and so sweet

God leads His dear children along.

Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet

God leads His dear children along.


Some through the water, some through the flood

Some through the fire, but all through the blood.

And some through great sorrow, but God gives the song

In the night season and all the day long.


Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright

God leads His dear children along.

Sometimes in the valley in darkest of night

God leads His dear children along.


Though sorrow befall us and Satan oppose

God leads His dear children along.

Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes

God leads His dear children along.

Father, you are to be praised in all the earth, by all nations and by myself.   You are my mighty fortress, my refuge in times of trouble and my protector no matter what circumstances I may be facing.  Help me to stop fighting and to be still and focus on You, my God.  Thank you that you are always present with me, and that you are God of the Angel Armies who at a word can calm the earth and cause wars to stop.  I can be confident that you will be my guide and watch over my life because when You are in me, I will not fall and you will be my help at break of day, I need not fear.

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