God the Mighty Deliverer – Psalm 46

Humans need help. And lots of it. We constantly need to be delivered. When I look at my life I know that without the help of others, I would be dead.

When babies are born, we often say that they are delivered. I know it was the case for me. I was born at 6:30am, at the time when the nurses changed shifts. My mom had to scream to get help because I came so fast, I popped out like soap and a nurse came just in time to catch me. I call my birth my first bungee jump.

As a 4 years old I once jumped into the pool without my floaters. I sunk straight to the bottom. If it wasn’t for my dad jumping with all his clothes on, I would have died.

In second grade, I was so bad at spelling, I even misspelled my own name on a spelling quiz.

I once burnt my backyard. If it wasn’t for my mom seeing the fire and the fire hose installed by qualified people, who knows what would have happened.

Without my glasses, I can barely see anything. Without eye doctors, I would be useless.

Even now, as I grown up, I continue to get in trouble and need help. One day, I was holding our little baby and I didn’t have a shirt on, and little Elena grabbed my nipple. It hurt so bad, and in the angle I was holding her I could not get her off, I had to yell to get my wife to come.

It’s hard to believe, but even the smallest people can put you in situations where you need to be delivered. The other day I was taking a bath with my baby to help her relax, and she started pooping all over the water. If it wasn’t for my wife helping me, it would have been a lot worse.

As humans, we constantly need deliverance. Sometimes from small and silly situations, but other times from life-threatening situations.

As of now, just in this audience, I can list a tons of things from which you may need to be delivered.

Some of you need to be delivered from bad decisions you have made.

Some of you need to be delivered from financial problems at home.

Some of you need to be delivered from dangerous situations that you put yourself into.

Some of you need to be delivered from drugs and other addictions.

Some of you need to be delivered from slavery to medias and entertainment.

Some of you need to be delivered from oppression from friends or family.

Some of you need to be delivered from your own stupidity and foolishness. And if you laugh because you think of someone in your mind, this one is for you, because there is no greater fool than the one who believes that he is better than those around him.

Some of you need to be delivered from the consequences of your own sins.

Some of you need to be delivered from bad puns that non-funny people make around you. Some of you need to be delivered like pizzas are delivered.

And all of you need to be delivered from temptations, from sin and from death.

Now, the world will often offer pleasures or distractions to help you cope with those issues. But in all of this world, I can guarantee you that there is only one Savior and deliverer powerful enough to deliver you from all you troubles, and at any times. That is the God that we serve.

This week, we are going to look at many different aspects of God’s deliverance. And today, as we begin, I wanted us all to be reminded of God the mighty Deliverer.

READ PSALM 46

Psa 46:1  To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. [2]  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, [3]  though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah. [4]  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. [5]  God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. [6]  The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. [7]  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah. [8]  Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth. [9]  He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. [10]  « Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! » [11]  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah.

 Now this Psalm is a Psalm of the sons of Korah. Now, who the heck are those guys? there are several Korahs mentioned in the Bible, but one in particular stands out in the book of Numbers because he opposes Moses. And the reason why he opposed Moses was because Korah and Moses both belonged to the same tribe, the tribe of Levi which had been set apart by God to serve Him. The Levites were indeed the priests and those who sacrificed and ministered in the tabernacle and the Temple.

Now one day Korah became jealous of Moses.

Num 16:1  Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. [2]  And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. [3]  They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, « You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD? »

Korah was jealous of Moses’ authority as a leader. Following this, Moses challenged him and his followers, and they put censers in front of them to see who God would bless. Then the earth opened from underneath their feet and “swallowed” them.

But then you get that very short verse that stands out: “But the sons of Korah did not die” (Numbers 26:10).

While God destroyed Korah and all the possessions that he had, he spared his sons. And as Levites they continued to serve God, and eventually became singers and wrote many Psalms.

Now what is important to know about the sons of Korah is that as Levites they only had the opportunity to blossom and really serve in the times of good kings, because when the kings didn’t care about God, well, most Levites lost their jobs. This is why they are only referred to in times of revival, first with king David, then king Jehoshaphat and king Hezekiah, periods which all went through terrible wars as well, and amazing miracles of deliverance from the Lord. So in all, the sons of Korah were probably some of the most qualified people in history to speak of God’s grace and deliverance.

And it is one thing to write a song in times of peace and prosperity. It is another one to write a song when there is an army that is coming against you, that is stronger than you, more powerful and numerous, and that can potentially destroy everything you live for. In times of war, when you are on the losing side, you can expect many things. Many would lose their lives and see many of their friends and family be killed. Some would see their wives and sisters and mothers and daughters be raped or kidnapped. Some would be taken as slaves. If you are on the losing side, your house and city might be burned, and even if you survive, it will be only to live under the oppression of a new system which will take advantage of you as a conquered land.

It is a question of life and death. And if you chose the wrong deliverer, you’re done.

And so when you read the words of this Psalm, there is a lot of weight in the trust they give to God to be their deliverer. And the main point is this: God is the Mighty Deliverer. He is bigger than the bigger danger. He is closer than the closest threat. He is stronger than the strongest enemy. He is the mighty deliverer.

I.                    God is bigger than the biggest danger (vv.1-3)

And so we begin our Psalm with this in mind, and the first point that we see is that God is bigger than the biggest danger.

Psa 46:1  To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. [2] Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, [3]  though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

I love how this Psalm begin. What is the first word? God. It is also the last word in Hebrew, as the Psalm ends with “God of Jacob.” Yes there are difficult times and events and situations in life, but if we keep dwelling on them we will sink very fast. The best way to approach difficulties is by staying focused on God from the start.

“God is to us refuge and strength, a help in trouble exceedingly available” we could also translate this verse, more literally.

And why should we start on God? Because He is a refuge, He is strength, and He is available.

Now, we must understand the context once more. What is refuge in the Bible? Is it just a place to run when it rains a little bit outside? No, it’s much more significant than this. A refuge is a place of safety in times of life-threatening dangers. It is the strongest place of trust for someone in trouble.

David defines this in 2 Samuel 22 after God delivered him from Saul:

2Sa 22:2  He said, « The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, [3]  my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. [4]  I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. [5]  « For the waves of death encompassed me, the torrents of destruction assailed me; [6]  the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.

But God is not only a refuge, He is also strength. You know, it is one thing to have a place of refuge, but sometimes the most dangerous time in a war is when you are on your way to the place of refuge. Those are the times when we are the most vulnerable and the easiest to ambush. But God is not only a refuge, He is strength. He gives us the energy and the inner resource to stand firm and hold the fort.

And not only is He refuge and strength, but He is also available and present to help in times of trouble. Here the word for “trouble” is interesting because it comes from the root meaning “tightness.” Trouble comes when things get tied. When there is tension.

And He knows how to fix that. Remember when Adam was created and he was alone in the Garden? God saw His need and created a “helper fit for him.”

God is the one who created help. He is the One who invented the concept of helping. He is the best at helping, and He is exceedingly present to help those who trust in Him.

So yes, God is the best at helping, no matter the difficulties. We see that in the following verses:

Psa 46:2  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, [3]  though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah.

The imagery here is that of the tidal waves that destroy mountains. The enemies that faced Israel were so strong, they were compared to the power of the ocean, limitless, unstoppable, extremely strong.

And we know the power of the ocean. I am sure most of you have seen some footage of the tidal wave that hit Japan in 2011. 15,000 people were killed, and it damaged more than one million buildings, one out of 6 being completely destroyed. It left 4.4 million people without electricity. In fact, the earthquake that created the wave was so strong that it even shifted the axis of the planet several inches.

In 2004 there was also a tidal wave in the Indian Ocean that was so powerful, it killed over 230,000 people. It caused the entire planet to vibrate, and earthquakes were caused by it all the way to Alaska.

Water can swallow mountains. There is a reason why 16% of the world’s electricity is produced by water. It is strong.

Nature when it is unbridle is extremely powerful. In 10 minutes, a hurricane releases more energy than all the nuclear weapons of this world combined.

But guess what? God is much bigger than that. There is no wave, no hurricane, no mountain that can crush God’s refuge for those who fear Him. He is the ultimate deliverer. He is God. He always win.

I mean, how strong do you think that God is? He can eat any of the Marvel super hero for breakfast.

If you took all the planets and stars and galaxies and put all their energy into a mega ball of intense fire, it would not even splinter His finger.

He is God. He is the biggest, the strongest, and the most reliable. Those who take refuge in Him will always be rescued.

II.                  God is closer than the closest threat (vv.4-7)

First, God is bigger than the biggest danger. Secondly, God is closer than the closer threat. You see this in verses 4-7.

Psa 46:4  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. [5]  God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. [6]  The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. [7]  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah.

While the other nations are like the waves of the ocean, random, violent, unreliable, fearsome and deadly, God’s goodness is like a river. Unlike the waves of the ocean, that river is constant, it is always there, giving life, blessing and flowing with joy.

And contrary to the mountains that move into the ocean or the kingdoms that totter (verse 6, which is the same Hebrew word for “move” as well), that river does not move. God is always there, and always there to bless. His presence is a gift that cannot be taken away by enemies.

That presence He had chosen to put it in Jerusalem, in the Temple. In the Old Testament, the expression “city of God” always refer to Jerusalem. That was were God’s glory dwelt, where the Ark of the Covenant stood. And there was absolutely nothing that would move it away. God had chosen to be close to His people, and there was nothing that could come in between Him and them. For those who trust in Him, God will always be closer than the closest threat.

It doesn’t mean that there aren’t any challenges. But even in the midst of those, God is closer to us than the dangers are.

As a kid I still remember going very early to church with my dad one morning and seeing it in smoke because someone had tried to burn it by throwing a Molotov cocktail in the basement. The church was brand new, and to see it so badly shaped devastating. Yet, the insurance gave us over $160,000 for it. We fixed everything ourselves for $20,000, and the rest of the money served to pay off the church property. That’s our God!

 At the end of history, we will see the final score of all the bad things that happened: God 50 billion, Satan 0.  Even when Satan induced people to kill Jesus and to betray Him, God still used that to save the entire human race!

When Joseph’s brothers tried to get rid of him, they meant it for evil, but God meant it for good, and through Joseph the people of Israel were saved from the famine, as well as the people of Egypt and the surrounding countries.

You can’t beat God. Everything works together for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purposes. He will always be there for those who seek Him for deliverance, and He will always win.

God is there, but again, only those who take refuge in Him will taste of His goodness.

Isa 8:6  « Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and rejoice over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, [7]  therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, [8]  and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel. »

God was to His chosen people a gentle and pleasant river, full of grace and goodness. But for those who go away from Him and seek the pleasures of the world and the idols of the heart, not living in obedience and in love to Him, there will be destruction and no refuge.

A lot of you here need to repent from lives of sin and disobedience. And the good news is that God is there to welcome you and deliver you and free you from those passions that entangle you.

Psa 46:6  The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. [7]  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah.

While entire nations and kingdoms may rise against you, all that God needs to do to stop all your trouble is to utter His voice. He just need to speak to stop the waves of the sea…wait…didn’t Jesus do that to?

He showed it to us in a tangible way, but that’s what He can do to any situation. He utters his voice, the earth melts. That’s pretty incredible. I mean, wouldn’t it be cool to have a flamethrower that could melt any problem you have in life? Any time you face an issue, a problem, a tension, you take your flamethrower and burn it to the ground?

Well, God is the mighty deliverer. He can do just that. Now it doesn’t mean that there is no war, but simply that when we trust in God we win every time. He promises wisdom to those who ask in faith. He promises strength to the weak. He promises joy even in the midst of sufferings. That’s the God who delivers.

But then look at verse 7.

Psa 46:7  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah.

That is super meaningful. He is the LORD of hosts with us. Now, the word for host might not do the best job for us to describe what that means. When we think of hosts we often thing of a big mass of people, but in Hebrew, it most often refers to an army. That is why in French they always translate “LORD of hosts” as “LORD of the armies.”

Now, why is this significant?

Do you know the greatest atmosphere of the battlefield? Confusion. When you are on a battlefield, things come at you from all sorts of directions, move all the time, you lose people around you, things get destroyed, there is no stability. For God to be the LORD of hosts means that He is also the LORD who can lead you to do exactly what you need to do, even in the midst of confusion.

And many of you are confused. You are confused about your meaning in life. You are confused about your faith. You are confused about the choices you need to make or that you have made. You are confused about who you are and who you want to be.

As God of the armies, God is the only one who can take all of us confused people in the world and gather us into a unified army fighting for what really matters.

He is the LORD with us, a fortress worth trusting in.

III.                God is stronger than the strongest enemy

First, we saw that God is bigger than the biggest danger. Secondly, we saw that God is closer than the closest threat. Finally, we see in the last verses of this Psalm that God is stronger than the strongest enemy.

Psa 46:8  Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth. [9]  He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. [10]  « Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! » [11]  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah.

Here is an invitation. Come! Behold the works of the Lord!

The sons of Korah were not just abstract theologians. They didn’t ask people to trust in God and take refuge in Him because it was the right religious thing to do. It was more than this. They had seen with their eyes God crushing the armies of the enemies.

Now, as I mentioned in the beginning, there are only 3 times where the sons of Korah are mentioned in the history of the kings of Israel. Since the Temple wasn’t built until after David, we suspect then that this Psalm was probably written during the time of Jehoshaphat or Hezekiah.

So let’s take a look at the stories, since the sons of Korah invited us to do so.

JEHOSHAPHAT

2Ch 20:1  After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. [2]  Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, « A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar » (that is, Engedi). [3]  Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. [4]  And Judah assembled to seek help from the LORD; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. […] [14]  And the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. [15]  And he said, « Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. [16]  Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. [17]  You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you. » [18]  Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. [19]  And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. [20]  And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, « Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed. » [21]  And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, « Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever. » [22]  And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. [23]  For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another. [24]  When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked toward the horde, and behold, there were dead bodies lying on the ground; none had escaped.

HEZEKIAH

2Ki 19:6  Isaiah said to them, « Say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. [7] Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.' » […] [32]  « Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. [33]  By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the LORD. [34]  For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David. » [35]  And that night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.

It does not matter how strong the enemy is. The king of Assyria had just conquered early the northern kingdom of Israel and taken the tribes into captive. In the southern kingdom, he had also come and destroyed almost everything. He wrote on a wall in his country: that he had destroyed in Judah 46 strong cities, countless smaller places, and had trapped the king in Jerusalem like a bird in a cage.

But God protected those who trusted in Him and took refuge in Him.

He is strong, stronger than the strongest enemy. There is nothing that can prevent Him from delivering those who trust in Him. Nothing.

And this calls to a response!

Psa 46:10  « Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! » [11]  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah.

God holds the world in His hands. There is nothing that won’t happen without Him allowing it. Even the trouble in your life happens for a reason. Do you know why? So that you can know Him! The reason why God brings tests in our life is so that we can see Him deliver us! That’s His specialty!

See, in most religions God is a distant god. But our God can be known. You can get to know God, and how glorious He is. And you will get to know Him the more you trust Him. The more you turn to Him to satisfy your life, to guide you in times of confusion, to fill you with love and knowledge, the more you will know how good He really is, and how worthy it is to know Him!

God is worthy of all glory. He is powerful, beautiful, perfectly loving, just and holy, and one day He will get all the honor for this. His name will be exalted because it deserves to be exalted.

This is why we should saturate our thoughts with God. The Psalmist began with God being a refuge, and ends here with God being a fortress. It’s all about God. All your trouble and your problems and your confusion exists for a reason. God has allowed it so that through those things you can learn to trust Him and to know Him, who is the most precious to know in this world.

So don’t waste your troubles. Don’t waste your confusion. Don’t waste your trials and tests in life. Get to know God. Trust in Him, and see how strong of a Savior He is.

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse de messagerie ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *