A Mighty Fortress
Pastor Steve
Psalms 46:1
June 17, 2018

[, Music ], the church wasn't doing well financially, so the pastor came up with an idea for a fundraiser, a means to bring a little extra money into the coffers, and so you boldly announced the first person who gives $ 1000 this morning can pick out three Hymns the sanctuary was quiet for a while, so the pastor repeated the offer and then a spinster lady at the back, waved her handkerchief and said: okay I'll give $ 1,000. She made her way to the front, got for the platform and she wrote out a check, and he said my dear what three hymns do you want? She looked out over the congregation. She said him and him and him that's just messed up. Isn'T it much of life is just messed up simply living causes us to be faced with all manner of messed up, stuff life changes. We were singing I'll, run the race, and I thought nowadays, I'm likely to just walk the race things change, which we can't control. The events in Washington or Denver or even downtown Grand Junction impact our lives with each new administration, as they bring on new rules and regulations or make the old ones not matter anymore, and then our personal lives are filled with storms. Literally and figuratively. We don't know the specific background of psalm 46, but we know this. It was written in response to a world which was messed up follow along as we read psalm 46. God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in time of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though, the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters, roar and foam, though the mountains tremble, at its swelling, there's a river there's, a river whose streams flow, whose streams make glad the City Of God, the habitation of the Most High God is in the midst of her. He shall she shall not be moved. God will help her when morning Dawn's the nation's rage, the kingdoms taught her. He utters his voice. The earth melts. The Lord of Hosts is with us the God of Jacob. Is our fortress come behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes Wars cease to the end of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear he burns. The chariots with fire be still and know that I am God I will be exalted among the nation's. I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of Hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress. This is the word of Lord father, as we delve into this passage, I ask that you would speak to each of us individually that we might learn from your word today. Amen we sang at the beginning of our service, so mighty fortress is our God. If a hymn that was written by Martin Luther and he is reported to have written it after the diet of worms, I'm pretty sure that if I had a diet of worms I would lose quite a bit of weight. He wrote a hymn. Actually, it was a different type of diet, but that's the way my mind goes when I think of the diet of worms. It was at the diet of worms, it was a city in Germany. Luther was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. He had posted his 95 theses and is seeking to reform the Catholic Church and what they did is kick him out. His life was messed up and when life is messed up, this Psalm is a great place to turn. The psalm starts out with these two simple, fantastic, powerful words. God is it's so basic, so simplistic that it's great and powerful God is it's, not God, maybe or God might or God pasta. There'S not a hint of doubt when the psalmist says: God is he's there in the midst of our troubles, it doesn't matter how it happened, how he got into the trouble who caused our trouble. God is there he's ready and willing and wanting to help us in the midst of the messiness of life? These are powerful words, God is they express a basic truth? God is, and the sons of korah are going to give us three ways to finish that thought. Before this, if I had said complete this sentence, God is you might have added love, just the sons of korah take us in a different direction they take. These three chair gives three truths about the existence of God, which will sustain us through the messiness of life. First, God is our refuge. Therefore, we are safe. God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear we are safe. God is our refuge. We spend a lot of our lives in fear, we're afraid of all sorts of things. We afraid to that car with the funny lights on top and the weird siren is coming after us. We'Re afraid that we'll get a phone call in the middle of the night, we're afraid to see the doctor because well the doctors ever say. With the exception of you, Pat, you should gain weight, yet I'd bring one of the doctor for my whole life and for at least the last thirty years they said you need to lose twenty pounds, it's always the same amount. I lose twenty pounds and I say you need to lose twenty pounds. This is not good. It makes me want to go on a diet of worms. The scripture says, God is our refuge and strength. Therefore, we will not fear. He is our refuge. Think about that word refuge for a moment, because it's not one which we often use the meaning in Hebrew is a place of shelter. I left my home early enough this morning that wasn't yet raining out and I I saw someone come into the cafe carrying an umbrella, and I said: oh, it was a raining yeah a little bit and I I hugged a few of you and your shirts are Wet and I'm thinking boy, it must be raining a lot more than it was when I wasn't raining at all. That idea of a shelter is the idea of an umbrella, and I noticed something about an umbrella. It'S not 100 ?fective. You can be under an umbrella and still get wet and that's kind of the way it is with the shelter because it doesn't mean that God removes us from the storms of life, but rather he shelters us. While we are in the midst of them. It does not mean they he'll, never lead us into difficult or dangerous situations. It doesn't mean that he's never gon na. Let us get wet when we want to stay dry. It means that even in the midst of the messiness of life, God is a safe shelter and he's a shelter that we don't think that much about for most of life. We don't think much about God as a shelter when things are going well. But when we are in this in distress, we recognize that we need him and we're more likely to experience his presence. Someone once said: I only pray when I'm in trouble, but I'm in trouble all the time. So I pray all the time and therefore we know God is our shelter. The psalmist brings us the comforting and reassuring words that, God is our refuge, though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved all the waters war, though the mountains, tremble, God, is our refuge. It'S not a statement that bad things won't happen, but rather a statement that God is with us as a strong force, a strong fortress in times of trouble, and we need a mighty fortress. Not only is God our refuge, but the psalmist goes on. God is our River and therefore we are supplied. This comes from verse, 4 of our text. There is a river whose streams make glad the City of God. Upon initial reading of this passage, I looked at that note that that's kind of an odd thing to say, but then they quickly reflected upon the image of a river throughout scripture, the value of and the importance of a river occurs throughout the Word of God. Isaiah speaks of it when he says, come everyone who thirsts come to the waters. He who has no money come by and eat come buy wine and milk without money without price Jesus talks of it in John 7, when he stood up in the and he said if anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as a scripture has said out of his heart, will flow rivers of living water, and the writer of Psalm 1 tells us that the man that the blessed man is like a tree planted by streams of water God is our River supplying us. What we need Genesis tells us that a river fed, the Garden of Eden and the book of Revelation tells us that the river of life feeds the people of God in eternity that River flows from the throne of God and the sons of korah. Looking forward to that great and coming day simply say: there's a river whose streams make glad the City of God, because God is there, he is our River, he is our supplier, he is in the midst of the city and we are made glad we are. We are supplied, it speaks of God's provision for his people in the first section, verses 1 to 3. We'Re reminded that God is our refuge, specifically in the midst of natural desires disasters and in verse, 7. We are reminded that God is our fortress, while the nation's rage, verse 4, reminds me of Psalm 2. Why do the nation's raise its actually your verse 6? That reminds me of verse, 2 of Psalm 2? Why do the nation's rage and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying let us burst their bombs apart and cast away their cords from us. He who sits in the heavens laughs, that's long, no matter what's happening, the nation's rage and gods in heaven, just kind of looking and laughing the sons of korah take up the flurry theme. The nation's raged the kingdom's totter, his voice, he utters his voice and the earth melts. The Lord of Hosts is with us Jehovah sauvé Allah. He is our River, our provider Jehovah Jireh. He is our refuge, therefore we're safe. He is our River. Therefore, we are supplied and finally he is our ruler and we are secure after laying out the statement of confidence. In God, the psalmist speaks to us as though we needed convincing that God is our refuge, he says, come behold, the works of God come and see what God has done. The works of the Lord include all the acts of God in the history of salvation from creation and the fall of mankind to the provision of a promise in Genesis to the Exodus and the conquest in the period of the judges and a monarchy. The recitation of the mighty acts of God plants deep in the memory of God's people, the evidences of his care, his protection and his providential rule. It was one of the roles of father is to remind the children what God has done to continue to bring before them the mighty ox of God, because he is our ruler and our conquering King, again, anticipating the Great and coming day of the Lord, the sons Of korah look forward to the end of war and the destruction of the implementation implements of war. They look forward with confidence that God, our ruler, will wipe away every tear where death will be no more where there will be no more mourning or crying no more pain, no more suffering, because God is then the psalmist flows into speaking for God. In one of the most wonderful and at least obeyed verses of all of Scripture, it is verse 10 be still and know that I am God Max. Lucado writes this. We live in a culture where speed is king. I find myself in a hurry, even if there is no reason we are an uptight generation of compulsive activists. There are ten times more things to do in a day than anyone can do, and so we feel we are always behind and failing to do, all that we could. All we do is respond, respond, respond to stimuli, we want peace, but it just does not fit into our agenda. Peace calls for doing nothing sometimes and we can't handle that. He concludes the thought. Pascal, the great Christian philosopher and scientist, said most of man's troubles come from his inability to be still I'm reminded of a bizarre event that happened yesterday. I didn't get to see it live, but if you are on the internet and you care at all about golf, you have seen what Phil Mickelson did yesterday for those of you that don't golf you aren't supposed to hit a moving ball. You hit you, let the ball stop and then you hit again and on the 13th green yesterday, Phil Mickelson putted and he really misjudged this putt and as the ball is going past, the hole he is following it and then he runs to catch up with it. And as the ball is continuing to move, he hits it back up. It was a major amateur thing to do it's a two stroke penalty or some say: perhaps you could have gotten expelled from the tournament. All he needed to do was be still, and he wouldn't have done something stupid and that's often the way it is with us. That'S why, in a in the past, people would say count to 10 before you say anything or do anything, and sometimes you need to count to a hundred. He still stopped. The scripture says be still and know that I am God. I know that you're busy we're always busy, there's always something going on there's someplace to be there's something to do. There'S another project when I read that the average family has between 4 and 8 unfinished home repair projects every year and they tend to accomplish only three of them in a year, so every year they get further and further behind because always something to do mow. The lawn paint the siding, sweep the walk repair, something I live in a fairly traditional house, although I know how to do laundry. I haven't done laundry in on many years, and that is one thankless, never-ending job. Unless you have middle school boys in the old way, they wear the same clothes for a week, but there's always more to do. There'S more stuff to clean, there's, more laundry, there's more more and then more. The list goes on never ends we're always busy. So we feel we can't just come to a full stop and the only way we will ultimately find shelter with our God. The only way we will find him sufficient for life. The only way we will find security in him if we are, if we are willing to go countercultural and just playing, be still CS, Lewis wrote the moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals and The first job each morning consists of shoving it all back in listening to that other voice. Taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in be still and know that I am God we need rest, we need quiet. We need time to reflect, we need to be still, and then we will know that he is God it is in the quietness of being still that our mind can eventually be filled with the thoughts of God, the one who will be exalted among the nation, the One who will be exalted in the earth is the one we seek to hear from and in the busyness of our life, with no stillness. We can't hear him now it's pretty hard to do this in a large crowd. Somebody in the next few minutes, if we were to have 60 seconds of silence, somebody would break it. They move a COFF, it's hard to do it in a large crowd, but you know you can do it at home. You can do it in your car. Interestingly, there's a little knob on the radio that you can turn all the way to the left, which turns the noise off. It can be done on a walk with practice. It can be done with others around, but it has to be intentional, be still and know that He is God turn off the TV turn off the radio turn off your cell phone and your computer, combined together the disciplines of solitude and silence, get alone and get Quiet, I don't think you can do this while exercising. I don't think I can do it while taking a walk. I can be quiet, but I am focusing too much on those little pebbles that can twist my ankle and make it so. I can't walk anymore I'll focus on God when I'm golfing I've heard people say that they worship on the golf course, but their use of the word - God isn't usually worshipful. It runs against our nature to be still, but it is the invitation of Scripture that we resist the urge to fill the void with conversation. Be still don't tell God anything, be silent, don't ask him, for anything, say nothing do nothing, just be still just be still and know he is God our refuge, a river. Our ruler, though, the mountains, tremble, the waters, roar and form, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea. He still and know he is God you're safe, though the nation's rage, the kingdoms totter. He still and know that He is God he is our ruler, and because of that, we are secure the picture at the end of this Psalm of the God who breaks the bow when shatters the spear and burns the chariots with fire as a picture to projects Us into that great and coming time when the trumpet sounds when God thus ends with the shout of the trumpet and every knee shall bow every tongue, confess Jesus Christ as Lord, and they begin to dismantle all the weapons of warfare and peace descends. Because our has come, our God is the Lord of Hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge of mighty fortress. Is our God a bulwark, never never changing, Amen, let's pray together, our gracious Father. We haven't faced the type of issues that Martin Luther face when he penned the words to that great hymn and we we don't know the specifics of what the psalmist was facing when he penned through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the words of psalm 46. But we know the message is for us today: the you are our refuge, an ever-present help in time of need, and we ask Lord Jesus that you help us in this coming week to find time to make time to be still and know that you are God. So the honor and glory of Christ, we pray, amen now go have a good week, enjoy your life but slow down so that you can be still and know your God amen. [, Music, ]