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Be Still

Psalm 46: 6,7
NRSV: The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Message: Godless nations rant and rave, kings and kingdoms threaten, but Earth does anything he says. Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.
JPS: Nations rage, kingdoms topple; at the sound of His thunder the earth dissolves. The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our haven.

Psalm 46 describes God in the midst of God’s city, his holy dwelling-place. This place will not be toppled because it belongs to God and “God will come to its aid.” Earthly things topple- nations, kings, and kingdoms. But God’s presence is with God’s people; God’s presence protects God’s people. Some scholars name this city as Jerusalem, although the psalmist does not. God’s presence is not limited to an earthly place. Richard Rohr (

“Psalm 46 points out the contrast between an unstable world, where natural disasters can strike at any minute and where politics can make life hard, and a secure city where God is with his people…”

“God is present with his people in the middle of the city, but what city is the psalmist referring to? At first one might guess Jerusalem, since this was the city of David and the place where the temple was located, but interestingly the psalmist never names the city. For a time God dwells in Jerusalem in the temple, but eventually Jerusalem and the temple are destroyed. It could refer to the city Abraham was looking for, a city of God here on earth, but I think what the psalmist has in mind is God’s presence with his people. It is not so much a physical city as it is wherever the people of God are located. God has promised he will be with his people. Even though the waters roar, the mountains tremble, and the nations are in an uproar, God is with his people and they are secure. They will not be moved.”

“Throughout the history of Israel God was present with his people. Even after the presence of the Lord departs the temple in the book of Ezekiel, God is still with the remnant, those who remained faithful even in exile. Echoes of these stories are heard in Psalm 46 that repeats the refrain ‘the Lord of hosts is with us.’ And all these stories point forward to the promise of Emmanuel, a time when God will be with his people like never before.”

Our protection is remembering, calling upon, believing in God’s presence with us, whatever is happening around us. God constantly reminds us, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” Simply remembering “God is with me” means we are not alone. The same God who led and protected Jacob, who leads the heavenly host, is with us. This belief can keep us from being moved, knocked of our feet, terrified. This belief is our haven and refuge.