May 17, 2020
The God Who Helps Us Now
This psalm was popularized by Martin Luther’s rendition in “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” This happened to be Martin’s favorite Psalm in the face of a PERSECUTION that threatened his very life.
This psalm is a TRIUMPHAL song that celebrates the EVER PRESENT GOD WHO HELPS us NOW! The word “alamoth” is a Hebrew word that is associated with “women” and may indicate that this song is to be sung by “women at a very high range”, probably “soprano”.
What I remember here would be the songs of Sandi Patti and the ascending notes sung with the ASCENDING ATTRIBUTES of a mighty God!
We have seen our God who was PRESENT yesterday and we know He will be PRESENT tomorrow, but more importantly RIGHT NOW, He is PRESENT TODAY in this COVID-19 crisis.
If you asked me, “What are the TWO SCARIEST things that can happen to our world today?”, my answer would be: “CALAMITIES and WAR.” Interestingly, this Psalm tells us that God has the POWER to help in the face of these TWO THREATS to HUMAN EXISTENCE:
I. God’s PRESENT HELP in CALAMITIES (vv. 1-3)
The first metaphor is that God is a “refuge” where one finds rest and asylum. Israel had CITIES of REFUGE where somebody who kills someone ACCIDENTALLY can run to and be SAFE from the AVENGER. God is our place of SAFETY.
II. God’s PRESENT HELP in WAR(vv. 4-11)
Here we find another METAPHOR – the “RIVER”. Incidentally, there is no river in Jerusalem, only the spring of Gihon. The imagery of a RIVER here is a STARK CONTRAST to the RAGING WATERS in the previous verses.
A “RIVER” speaks of God’s GRACE and LIFE GIVING PRESENCE – bringing about FAVOR, BLESSING and RESTORATION – which comes upon the “city of God”, Jerusalem.
WARS and CALAMITIES produce very UNSTABLE and INSECURE ENVIRONMENTS, but it is such a great COMFORT to know that our God is an EVER PRESENT HELP in time of TROUBLE.