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Martin Luther's Psalm

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
November 11, 2021 7:00 am

Martin Luther's Psalm

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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November 11, 2021 7:00 am

The Lord Almighty is with us. Today on The Bible Study Hour, we’ll take a closer look at that in what may be a familiar psalm, psalm 46. As Christians, we often hear that God is our refuge and our strength. But what do those words really mean? We can say that we trust God at all times and in all circumstances, but what does that look like when the hard times come?

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God is the eternal one and he is never shaken today on the Bible study our will take a closer look at what may be a familiar song. Psalm 46. As Christians we often hear that God is our refuge and our strength. But to those words really mean we can say that we trust God at all times and in all circumstances but what does that look like when the hard times come to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.

We know that nothing on this earth is permanent. The world as we know it will one day pass away.

So where should we put our trust. What hope do we have if you have your Bible turn now to Psalm 46, almost anyone who knows anything about Martin Luther association with the book of Romans specially with Romans 117 just show live by faith does theme verse of the Reformation.

Luther was according to the stories about his life, converted by that verse leased by the doctors when it contains what we sometimes forget we think about Martin Luther is that he was also a great student of the salts he was converted part by his study of this great Old Testament book he loved the songs throughout his life talk to him throughout his life and his favorite song was Psalm 46 said of Luther that sometimes during the dark and dangerous. The Reformation, he would get discouraged and depressed all of the danger all of the difficulties that was confronting him and the others, and that when that happened, he returned to his friend Philip Melanchthon was his coworker and say to them, come on Philip let's sing the 46 all. Many would sing it in his own strong version 1 version goes like this ashore stronghold.

Our God is CM timely shield and weapon our help he will be and set us free from every ill can happen. That's that him that we know is a mighty Fortress is our God wrote about this all is what he said about it. We sing this song to the praise of God, because God is with us powerfully and miraculously preserves and defends his church and his word against all fanatical spirits against the gates of hell against the implacable hatred of the devil and against all the assaults of the world, the flesh and sin of the way, Luther writes, he writes with such force and in this translation is given us a forceful him which we sang and of course his love throughout the church today is another great Lutheran HC lowballed who was one of the great commentators on the Psalm, and he says so. Psalm 46 few songs breathe the spirit of sturdy confidence in the Lord in the midst of very real dangers of strongly as does this one now Luther was rather loose in his translation not doing close rendering on this all him. We just sang a few moments ago to the attunement target number 37 is a much closer rendering on a mighty Fortress is our God knows Stan is closer to it than Luther's first stanza, and what is said in the Psalm in verse one because Luther understood it verse one says God is our refuge and strength, and ever present help in trouble versus saying you can understand it in English that's a bit stronger even in the Hebrew is less. It is God who is our strength and our refuge God along all he and no other say we need to learn that because living in the midst of the materialistic world as we know it. Among people who do not think in a spiritual way. We find ourselves thinking of other ways as well. We say what kind of security.

A man I have in this world and we say what you have to do is get an awful lot of money and the people looked money for their security in life are like the rich man and Jesus parable. You know had such a good harvest. He laid it all up in Barnes and then he said to himself. You have plenty of good things laid up for many years take light easy eat drink and be merry.

Jesus said he didn't know that every night it's always going to be required of all the money that he can acquire all the material things that he could lay off would not protect it with the final judgment are given security when he stood in danger of the wrath of God and of the truth be told that he doesn't even save you or keep you protected against the heartbreak of the failure of the sin of the danger or the disaster that we experience here very bad place to look to for your security. Some people say well what I trust are my personal skills are my training my talents course people can have all those things and can experience very severe reversals of fortune people say well I deal in relationships and what I care about are my friends, my family, that's where I get my security with those things don't always last family could be taken away. Reformers knew all about.

That's why they said we must look for any real security world passes away. Jesus said that all the desires that the only real security that anyone confides in God and so they signed the Hamlet goods and kindreds go this mortal life. Also body they may kill God's truth by death. Still, his kingdom is forever and so they look to him. I first versus something else. Not only does it say that God alone is our refuge and strength, tells us it is our refuge and our strength unsafe to different things about refuge is that into which you fly stronghold where you go for safekeeping were secure in God and his stroke was one of the later Psalms is going to say 10,000 will fall at your right hand thousand at your left, but it's not going to come to you because your secure in God. The reformers understood that they were under threats of death they were in great danger. They were secure in God is another kind of help we need and that is because sometimes in life things do affect us, we will suffer in various ways. Her sin will come into our lives, or sometimes where my circumstances and when that is the case, then we need the second thing verse one speaks out, we need an inner strength and ordered over, were able to say in times like that God is my strength. He enables me to go on things that are so difficult now that is true not only in minor things, but even when the most turn calamities, verses two and three are talking about. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth giveaway and the mountains fall into the hearts of the sea, though its waters roar and foam in the mountains shake with her surging some of the commentators suggest that what that is really doing is referring to God's acts of creation is told in Genesis when he separated the earth from the waters on the third or fourth day of creation, and it say even if there should be a reversal of the creation and all of the land should fall back into the sea, and everything in life be shaken. Even if God should come again, even in a time like that. I'm secure in God because God is eternal and is never shaken. I never read those verses anymore that I don't remember something Elizabeth Elliott said when she was here with us.

One of our conferences know her story.

I'm sure she lost two husbands. One was Jim Elliott. She was killed by the ark Indians in Ecuador was trying to reach them with the gospel, along with other missionaries and the second was Addison Leach. He was a professor, president of the seminary out was in Pennsylvania and he had cancer and he died with the cancer in a long illness. She was trying to talk about what those things mean that you use these verses to refer to what she says when experiences like this come into your life. It's like having everything that seems to be dependable shaken is given like mountains are falling earth is really in such a time.

You need to know that your only real security is in God, you need to do.

She said is what the psalmist talks about later." God is saying. Be still and know that I am God. God's God, whether we realize it or not, but it's a comfort to us to realize what we have to do is quieter hearts. Be still and arrested him.

And that's a first stanza. The same is divided into three stanzas and there's a certain progression in them.

Each of them concludes with a work seal example it means to pause and think of the last to have a reframe but close is going to look at that as we come to the end because it's really our response to what is set at first stanza the one we just looked at says that God is our refuge at all times. Even in the worst calamities the second stanza begins to talk about the city city of Jerusalem and how God is the defense there of the sitting other two ways of looking at the city want us to look at it in reference to the earthly city of Jerusalem along exclusively and course are many Psalms that refer to Jerusalem and praise God for the way he defended the city even in the Psalter many Psalms that do there called the songs of Zion such Psalms or Psalm 48 Thompson two more 76 8487 122 and maybe some others as well. Now if that's the case in this stanza of the river is that stream of silo in Jerusalem was the only source of water in the city of Jerusalem still is today, except for what is piped in and when it talks about the only place with the most high dwells. That's a holy place of the tabernacle in Mount Zion was referring about it saying God is defending his city. Unable defended against all who might attack it now. It would seem that humanly speaking, that is what the song was written about a great deliverance that God provided on occasion when armies from some sort marched against the city.

There are some examples of that two theories on one occasion we read about in the second Chronicles 20 the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Msgr. came to attack Jerusalem in the days of Jehoshaphat, alarmed by what was happening. He didn't have resources to stand against this great army that was coming to him from the East. He prayed about it publicly asked God to intervene and help women God that God sent the prophet to him and said what your to do is take the people go to a high place where you can watch the armies, don't engage them in battle to stand there and watch them so they did what they saw as of the armies fell into the fighting among themselves armies of Ammon and Moab turned against the armies about seer was a great slaughter on the text says the men of Judah came to the place later and they look toward that vast army and they saw only dead bodies on the ground but when it escaped on that occasion God intervened and special land delivered the people called delegates. One of the great scholars. Psalms thinks that that's what this is referring to when he is a good argument for that accounted second Chronicles 20 and mentions the sons of Cora and it said they praise God for his deliverance on that occasion, my mother, Psalms 146 is by the sons of Cora. What might very well be solemnly wrote a medication praising God for his deliverance as a second better-known incident and that is the deliverance of Jerusalem from select current during the reign of Hezekiah. That story is told in second Kings 18 and 19's inaccurate steel commander was directing the troops on that occasion. They already overthrown a lot of the other states roundabout. They marched against Jerusalem surrounded and nobody could get in or out, and then the commander stood before the walls and he cried out in the language of the people so everybody would understand your God is going to deliver you. All the other nations round about a fallen your city is going to follow us to Hezekiah to know what to do while he was trying to figure out what to do feel commander sent a letter to Hezekiah and said the same thing about the strength of the God of the exterior Hezekiah were told of this chapter is laid out that letter before the Lord asked the Lord what shall I do, what could he do in a situation like that he didn't have any strength to stand against those armies and ghats in Isaiah. Isaiah was in Jerusalem on that occasion great prophet of the time. Isaiah said, you don't have to do anything God is going to intervene and deliver the city of Zachary was gonna turn around and go back to them about is going to die.

There is what happened that night the angel of the Lord were told when out in the camp of the Assyrians and killed hundred and 85,000's inaccurate woke up the next morning they were all dead on the text is written that way when the people got up the next morning there were all the dead bodies so so decorated.

The king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew it returned to Nineveh and stayed there and he was killed in Nineveh, by his own sons turn some of you who have studied English literature may know that our environment Road. Listening about that band called the destruction of select rabid you might know it because of the way up against the Assyrian came down like a wolf on the folds his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold for those who studied English literature that's written in antipasto for beats to lie that's why everybody quotes it is a good illustration of an anaplastic way of doing it while Lord Byron wrote that now most of the commentators think that that say about I really don't know. I think the evidence is inconclusive, but I do think there was an occasion on which God delivered the people and that the song was composed a medication yet we also have to say. Don't miss this, or talking about the city of God and the Bible were dealing with a theme that is far bigger than the mere city of Jerusalem is because quite often that phrase city of God is used for that heavenly dwelling place that God has prepared for his people. That's where Jesus said he was going to prepare a place for his own and we find it there in the New Testament we find it in the New Testament and that the very end of the book of Revelation there is a city of God, prepared for God's people asked the city to which Abraham looked. He was looking to Jerusalem Jerusalem. He was looking to the heavenly Jerusalem because he knew it was a city that has foundations because the builder of that city and the architect of that city is God you say. That means that we can look at this Psalm we can say yes refers to an earthly Jerusalem. That doesn't mean that it doesn't have anything to say to us because we're looking for that heavenly city prepared by God where God is going to defend his own against everything you see on life is progressing. My first stanza here we are in earth were saying God is our refuge and strength, a matter what I call to us even if our universe collapses around our feet.

God is nevertheless the security of the saints get to the second stanza and already our thoughts are lifted up to heaven we say yes.

Of these prepared a place for us there. Nothing is ever going to shake that heavenly city become of the third stanza we find something else is using the imagery that we had earlier, see the works of the Lord.

The desolation is brought on the art that reminds us of those occasions where the people were to stand on the city look down see how God delivered them from their enemies all those dead bodies of those would come to destroy them, see the works of the Lord, you have to read very far in that stanza to realize that that language is not heightened to talk about the destruction of the opposition. All the armies of the world against the Almighty. The kind of battle that is going to be thought of one by God Almighty in the final day that time. You see, he makes wars cc breaks the bow shatters the spirit burns the shields with fire is what is talked about in Psalm two second Psalm says the kings of the earth take counsel together and conspire against the Lord and against his anointed one saying let's break their bonds asunder and got in the last six is limited destroy them all.

How foolish it is, think that you can fight God Almighty same thing we find go to the book of Revelation, because as you come to the very end of that book you see that great battle prepare the battle of Armageddon there all the nations of the earth are lined up against God and his anointed, and he destroys them all responses he makes wars cease establishing peace only point out that there are two kinds of pieces of negotiated peace. The kind of peace is a piece that's imposed by a picture on the Concord. Now it is the latter piece of the solace talking about here say as long as men can fight women can fight the good fight, God but God is one day going to subdue all of that opposition because is the Almighty one.

There is an illustration of this in a metal from the Roman time slips from the time of Vespasian, one of the emperors.

After all, is wars in Italy and other places. He struck this metal and once I know that it had the goddess of peace, and in one hand, the goddess of peace was holding the olive branch which indicated negotiated peace and in the other hand, the goddess was holding a torch which he was burning up the armor of the enemy sound that's exactly what this is saying here he breaks the bow, and shatters the spirit burns the shields with fire say that's the case then when it says in verse 10. Be still and know that I'm God. This is not a call for meditation on the part of God's people important as that may be so were directed to the enemies and it says just put down your arms and be quiet because I am God, and I want to be exalted in the earth, or is going to be a day when every mouthful be stopped. All of the weapons will be laid down and God is going to reign supreme in that day is a day for which we must prepare nobody can hope to resist God in that day. Now we have the last verse, and it's the refrain occurs not only here in verse 11. We also have in verse seven. Response and says the Lord Almighty is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge to us as one who is the refuge and strength of his people on answers of those two names the Lord Almighty God of Jacob, Lord Almighty literally means the Lord of hosts Hebrew for it is Jehovah's health, Lord of hosts of the armed hosts of God, that's appropriate to the context of the Psalm is striking that that word occurs. I said when we were studying an earlier song. As we began the second book of the Psalter that in the first book of the Psalter, the dominant name for God is Jehovah occurs many dozens of times in the word Elohim means God only occurs may be about 10 times, but then in the second book of the Psalter, the word predominates on the Lord Jehovah doesn't occur very often but here it does. Jehovah saw the Lord of hosts, because of course he is the one who delivered the city of about us and this Lord of hosts is one who stands with us.

Recall that story about Elisha Dothan. It was there in the city with his servant, and the armies of men he had surrounded the city were trying to catch Elisha because he been telling about plans of the king of Syria to the Jewish kings of the Jewish King to get his armies out of the way and escape all the traps in a that was waiting for them and so when he found out he tried to capture Elisha early in the morning. After all these trips around the city by night. The servant goes out to use out there to draw water. I suppose it was sleepy aborting. He's trying to get his bucket in the well of the seas. Growing up, I imagine. All of a sudden he looks up, he seized all the soldiers chariots and horses around the city dropped the bucket back in the well runs back in the cities of the shall be due and Elisha praise God will open the young man's lives in his eyes were opened and the story tells us he sees the mountains filled with horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha Elisha says greater are they who are with us that now it's the Lord of hosts commands close heavenly forces, who protects us and surrounds us to second name that occurs there is a God of Jacob is quite a different thing.

Jacob was the third of the three great Jewish patriarchs that he was the least attractive of the three was a schemer. It's what its name implies, he didn't trust God.

Very much, at least it took a whole lifetime to learn how to do it yet.

That interesting thing is that the God of Abraham was no less. Is God. God describes himself as the God of Jacob Alexander McLaren has an interesting comment.

He says the God of Jacob is the Lord of host. But even more wonderful than that. Lord of hosts is the God of Jacob, are you a liar quite often like Jacob or we can more often unattractive as God is great God is our God as well. Song comes down to that point and the point is this is that great God, your God, you trust in you know him know him through Jesus Christ, your God is the one who is refuge and strength for his people and he will be with you if you know him, which I am not one who did John Wesley Wesley on the day he died nearly lost his voice was very very weak I can hardly understand what he was saying they were leaning over trying to hear what he had to say on that day, suddenly with little bit of strength that was left to him.

He called out the best of all is God is with us and then he raised his hand slightly and waved it a bit in triumph, and he exclaimed again the best of all is God is with us and then he fell back anytime those were Wesley's last words well is Lord Almighty with you was with Martin Luther's lawn through all those dangerous days of the Reformation. It was with John Wesley is with his people. All of them storms of life will, the greatest storm of all final judgment. Make sure that your life is hid with Christ in God is your refuge and your strength spray father were thankful for this great song, one that many love and have tested the field of battle virtual battles temptations and dangers found it to be true.

Give testimony to its even with her dying breath. Granted, when the time comes for us to die. We appear before you. We will be able to say those things were proceeded us. No doubt, said Psalm is true. Lord God is our refuge and our strength, he has proved himself to be that all our days. We give him praise for granted we might grow in that faith in triumph in it to Jesus. Thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.

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