An Unwavering Faith

Psalms  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  40:25
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Good morning. I hope everyone is doing well today. That actually sounds a bit odd now that I say it given the topic of todays sermon.
When I say the three words that are the title of our sermon this morning. “An Unwavering Faith” what is it that comes to mind? Perhaps you think of someone in your life that you know that has demonstrated a faith that was unmoved.
How is it that we were able to see that unwavering faith in that person?
How would you know if your faith might be said to be unwavering?
Well, this is the hard part about unwavering faith. It must face troubles and trials within this world for us to see just how unwavering it truly is. One doesn’t truly know just how unwavering their faith truly is until something comes along that might actually cause it to well waver.
We all live our lives within this fallen world. And at times the fall is going to fall all over us. Perhaps we are going to be faced with the death of a loved one. Or perhaps we are going to be faced with significant health issues or financial distress.
Whatever this world throws at us none of us want to shrink away and hide. None of us want to become overcome by anxiety or depression. All of us I would hope want to stand in the midst of lifes storms tall and strong. If that’s you then the only way that is possible is through faith in Jesus. And today I want to look at Psalm 46 and how it is that we might stand with an unwavering faith regardless of how bad the world around us or even our own lives may seem to be out of control.
Psalm 46 consists of three sections and we are going to first look at each of these separately and then in the end I will hopefully bring all of this together so that we might see what a life of unwavering faith looks like.
The first section begins by speaking about the troubles that are going to naturally come along within life. And the faith that is necessary to stand.

God In The Troubles

This might sound odd for me to state, but if God’s not present in the tough times of our lives, then what does our faith stand upon? In other words if we don’t stand upon the solid rock of Jesus then what are we standing on. And our struggle in those times is that our focus tends to go astray. Our focus tends to stray to either the troubles that stand in front of us or innocuous distractions that surround us. This is where our focus tends to go rather than upon our God who stands above all things.
And so this first part of our Psalm is going to help to reorient our focus during those times of trouble. And we read in verse one.
Psalm 46:1 ESV
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Our problem is that when times of trouble come along we have a real tendency to forget that God is our refuge. We forget that He is the one who will strengthen us in the difficult times when we feel so weak. And He is the one who brings the help when it is so desperately needed.
Have you ever watched a fellow believer walk strong through the greatest trials of life? Do you want their secret? It is this right here. It is what they are focused on in the tough times. And because they are focused more on God than the trouble before them. They find refuge, and they find strength and they find help in our God in order to deal with whatever they might face.
How strong is a faith that stands daily with the Lord in this manner?
Well, let’s read verses two and three.
Psalm 46:2–3 (ESV)
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.
I don’t suspect that anyone here today has ever given witness to the whole of the earth giving way or the mountains literally being moved. We live life daily with the comfort that the earth and the mountains stand unmovable.
And so what our Psalm is saying is that the one who stands firm in God as his/her refuge, as their strength, and the one who rests in the help of the Lord could experience the complete upheaval of their lives and stand strong. Because they know that their God stands above all of the troubles that may be brewing around them.
We need to always remember that we can find refuge within the dwelling place of our Lord no matter how bad things appear all around us.
Now we move into the second section of our Psalm.

God In The City

And our Psalmist shifts gears ever so slightly and moves from a discussion about the upheaval of the natural order around us to the upheaval that others often times bring into our lives. Our Psalmist is going to accomplish this by talking about the city of God being placed under siege by the nations and armies of the world. When the original readers and the author thought of the city of God. They envisioned Jerusalem during that time period for them. Because during that time period that was the dwelling place of the Lord Most High. However, as God has moved His people through time the dwelling place of God most high has changed. That place is now within each and every person who places their faith in Christ Jesus. Because in that moment the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within each one of us. So that we are now the dwelling place of the Lord Most High.
And we read in verse four.
Psalm 46:4 ESV
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
We move abruptly from the seas that were stirred up against the mountains to the calm waters of this life giving river. And thought the world around us may rage out of control within the walls of the city of God is refuge along the banks of these calm waters and within these walls is gladness as we find rest. What a contrast from the previous verse.
What we are seeing contrasted here is what life looks like when we try and live apart from the care and protection of our God. A life lived separated from the Almighty creator of all things. And what life looks like for those who find their lives hidden in Christ Jesus. We are called to live life daily within the protective walls per se of the very dwelling place of our creator.
Then in verse five we read.
Psalm 46:5 ESV
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
In this verse God is using a play on words that when we step through the passage like we are doing today with my constant comments we tend to miss.
So what is this point that God is making that is so important for us to see. Previously in verse two we saw that the troubles around us felt as though the mountains might be moved into the sea. And later in verse six we are going to read the nations rage, and that the kingdoms totter. This word totter is the same that the author has used twice now that was translated as moved.
And so what we are told is that even though the troubles around us may be able to move mountains or kingdoms. The place that the Lord dwells shall not be moved. We will find that after the storms of life have passed and the new day comes. Jesus is still Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He is still seated upon His throne and those that dwell under His protection will find things just as they were meant to be as we find rest in the presence of our God.
Then in verse six we read
Psalm 46:6 ESV
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
I think that one of the difficulties that Christians tend to struggle with is the ever present reality of evil within this world. And unfortunately I fear all too often Pastors preach a false gospel that tells you that when you come to Christ things will be better they will be easier. This isn’t completely true. The moment you become a believer in Jesus Christ you become the sworn enemy of Satan and his demons. And unfortunately the evil within this world is and always will be present until the day that Jesus returns and when He returns he will utter only words of judgment over the nations and kingdoms and the people of this world. And in that moment this world will melt away. And Jesus will speak all things into order again.
And in that moment we will know only peace. Until then though we need to find our refuge, our strength, our help in Christ Jesus.
And so we read in verse seven.
Psalm 46:7 ESV
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
The Lord of hosts is with us. We can rest assured that the one who commands armies of angels, the hosts of heaven, is ever present with us His children. And we can find refuge within His presence.
The word fortress is a slightly different word for refuge from what was found in verse one. But it conveys the idea of a place of refuge. The word here speaks of a place whose heights are inaccessible from the outside. A literal translation might be a high stronghold. And so this fortress is a place, by the grace of God, that we are able to find refuge.
In this verse we also read this phrase the God of Jacob. Jacob was the chosen one from whom God would bring the twelve tribes of Israel. In fact God would rename Jacob as Israel.
Most of the time when we see mention of the God of Jacob in the Old Testament it is God’s grace that is being spoken of. As, I believe, is the focus here. And it is by Gods grace that His dwelling place is now within each one of us. And the dwelling place of God will always be a strong fortress for us to find rest in the midst of the worlds troubles and trials that come our way.
So listen what I am saying is that there is no specific location that you need to be in order to take refuge in Christ Jesus. Because He is always present within you in the person of the Holy Spirit. This strong fortress is the Holy Spirit who now dwells with us.
The Psalmist is going to shift gears one last time. And he does so to show what a life lived in the refuge, strength, and help of our Lord leads to. When we have lived a life that has experienced the troubles and the trials of this world. If you’re wondering thats everyone in this room. Regardless of age even. And when we have experienced those troubles and trials with our Lord we come through them exalting and praising our God for the mighty works that he has allowed us to witness.

God Will Be Exalted In All The Earth

To helps us to see this our Psalmist shifts to a future victory that is still yet to come. But it is meant as a reminder that the victories that we experience here today are but a foretaste of something that is so much greater.
And we read in verse eight.
Psalm 46:8 ESV
Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
Behold what is yet to come. The great and mighty works of the Lord. Because our God exists outside the construct of time He has already experienced victory over both sin and death within this world. And our passage now turns to look forward to what is to come at the end when Christ returns.
Peace is the outcome for all of those who are found hidden under the mighty arms of Jesus. Those that find their lives covered by the blood of the Cross and have found forgiveness in Christ and Christ alone. We will know peace everlasting.
One of the hard things for Christians to accept is that we must never lose sight of the reality that that peace comes through judgment.
And Jesus will one day bring desolation upon this earth through His righteous and just judgment upon sin.
Then in verse nine we read.
Psalm 46:9 ESV
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.
All war will one day come to an end and will never be seen again. But the means by which this peace is brought is through the breaking of the might of those militaries that will stand against Christ in the final days. Jesus and the host of heaven will wage war one last time. And then there will be peace everlasting.
Then in verse ten we read.
Psalm 46:10 ESV
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
There is a day that is still yet to come. A day in which all of mankind through human history will be resurrected and will all as one stand before Jesus.
And in that moment the scriptures states that there will be silence everything will simply stop. Everything in existence will be still. And then every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is God Almighty.
In that moment.
His name will be lifted up among the nations.
In that moment
His name will be lifted up throughout the earth.
And then finally our Psalmist finishes in verse eleven and he writes.
Psalm 46:11 ESV
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
In the midst of the troubles and trials of this world we need to always remember that right here in every moment the Holy Spirit is always with us.
He is always present with us His children. And He desires for us to know that He provides a fortress for us within which we can find refuge, and strength, and help in times of need.

So What?

There are two points that I want to make in order to help us find God as our refuge, as our strength, and as our help during times of need.
The first of these is found in the Hebrew idea that we translate as “Be Still.”

Be Still and Know That I Am God

There are several different Hebrew words that are actually translated into english as “be still” throughout the Old Testament. This one actually doesn’t carry with it the connotation I may have conveyed earlier. It does not carry the sense to be quiet or to calm one self. I may have laid a bit of a stumbling block with the statement that there will be a time of silence in the end. This word however means to stop whatever you have been doing and to be still. It is similar to when my children were younger and would at times get into a struggle or a little fight perhaps. I would come between them and bring the struggle to a screeching halt. It would be like if I had strongly stated to them, “BE STILL.” And in that moment they immediately stopped fighting and turned all of their attention towards me to find out what was best for them in that moment.
This is the idea that God is conveying when He says “Be still and know that I am God.” When you think about it. It is exactly what we need to do. How many of us when troubles and trials hit begin to switch into frantic fix it mode? I would suspect that it is most of us. God says stop and look to Him and know that He is God. Because it is then when we stop everything and seek Him that we will have the amazing opportunity to experience and see God at work within this world on behalf of us His children.
Final point.

Though The Earth Give Way - We Will Not Fear

We just walked through Psalm fourty-six that began with a complete lack of fear in the face of the near destruction of the world. And it ended with a confident stillness in the face of warfare unlike anything seen before at the ends of the earth. And right between those two paradigms lies the reason for the calmness.
It is God.
The place of eternal reality where God Himself dwells, that final fortress that God Himself will provide, the city of God that will one day descend from the heavenlies. It is the dwelling place of the Most High. And we we need to hear and to hang onto is that the city of God WILL NOT FALL. This isn’t confidence in the face of minor setbacks. In fact we aren’t even thinking about some of lifes greatest pains - such as the loss of a loved one, or a debilitating disease.
As terrible as these experiences are to go through. They pale in comparison to the experiences that the Psalmist is actually looking forward to. We’re not talking about earthquakes like any has seen before. What happened in Turkey and Syria recently will pale in comparison to the earthquakes that will come during the end times. When God created and spoke all things into being he set limitations upon the destructive nature of the chaotic waters that at times rage within this world. And our writer is saying that even if God releases those limits and allows those waters to break forth and completely and utterly dissolve the earth as we know it. There would be absolutely no reason for fear. None. This is what we just read in Psalm 46.
At one point during Jesus ministry He asks the question “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” And at first the answer appears to be yes. But let me rephrase this a very different way. How long will you live without food? Wait if there is an end date on this question then is the answer not no. Life isn’t much more than food. How long would we live exposed to the elements without clothing? Again if there’s a possible end date to this question and there is. Then again the answer doesn’t seem to be yes but rather appears to be no. Well then what is Jesus getting at here. The real question that Jesus is asking us is this. Is there something that is more important in life than life itself? In other words is there something anything that is worth dying for?
Jesus gave the answer to that question when he went to the cross.
Jesus also during His earthly ministry declared himself to be the bread of life and that any who come and eat of this bread would live forever.
Today no matter what may come you are able to live faithfully because Jesus is at the very core of the food and drink that make our lives worth living. Apart from Jesus, life is merely one breath breathed after another with no true meaning.
However our life that is lived hid in Christ Jesus is not dependent on life as the world knows life. Life with Jesus transcends our need to live here and now within this world. Life lived within the power of Jesus’ refuge and strength becomes eternal life. It is not simply a life that hopes to be restored to existence one day. Life within the refuge and strength of Jesus is a life that is not threatened by the troubles and trials of this world. Or perhaps even the complete destruction of all that we know. Our lives lived today are eternal.
Nothing can take our life. Because our lives are held within the hand of God Almighty.
When we live a life that finds its refuge, its strength, and its help in Christ Jesus we will live lives of unwavering faith.
Because The Lord Almighty is with Us.
The God of Jacob is our fortress.
Let us pray.
Closing Prayer.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
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