By Henry Law
God's near protection is a stronghold against all fear. The wonders of His mighty hand should excite terror in His foes, and confidence in His people.
1. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Such is the boast of all the sons of faith. Their path is through a land of trouble. Their bark is tossed by raging billows. Their foes are many from within and from without. They flee to God, and are secure to God who is forever near. How safe are they who in this refuge dwell; how strong are they, whose strength is God
2, 3. "Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof."
Tremendous images here show all nature in commotion. Ocean roars, and is agitated from its lowest depths. Mountains tremble from the lashing of the waves; their heads submerged no longer show their peaks. The scene is earth in the extremity of confusion. We are here taught to view the heart tossed and disturbed by all the violence of troubles--they break like mighty billows, threatening to destroy; but no fears prevail. Amid convulsing elements there is the calmness of serene repose.
4. "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High."
As a river flowing through a city spreads gladness all around, as the refreshing streams bring plenty, and cause health to smile, so the presence of God is constant joy and peace to the believing heart. This heart is the abode of God--the place where He holds dwelling, and manifests His presence. So fears cannot approach, and gladness holds its constant reign.
5. "God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God shall help her, and that right early."
How blessed is the state, when God will not withdraw. No trouble can give real alarm. No apprehensions agitate. God will give early help, and His help is perfect peace.
6, 7. "The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved. He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge."
What though mighty powers, with mighty rage, muster their armies; what though extensive kingdoms are in commotion, and all appearances threaten destruction--it gives the Lord no trouble to defeat the adversaries. He only speaks the word, and they sink low in ruin. His voice annihilates, and they disappear as snow when melted by the sun.
The believer gives no place to fear. If armies are all arrayed against him, the Lord of hosts is on his side. He who upheld the fathers of the Church still lives. His covenant of old is verity and truth. He will perform the oath to Abraham, and the promise to Jacob. If we are Christ's, then are we Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
8, 9. "Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations He has made in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow, and cuts the spear in sunder; he burns the chariot in the fire."
Our minds are prone to disregard the mighty workings of the Lord. His hand is ever doing wonders, which we fail to notice. But it is our wisdom to observe how He manifests His interposing power to make desolate the regions of His foes. Whatever be the hostile preparations and the stores of ammunition, He can bring all to nothing.
10, 11. "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge."
Let, then, all disturbing thoughts be banished. Let tranquil patience exert calm sway. God will be manifest as supreme sovereign, curbing the heathen's rage, and exercising unlimited control throughout the earth. Let all His people rejoice evermore, and loudly sing, from realizing hearts, "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge!"