Even in a tight spot, we must not fear and trust the Lord because He is our refuge and strength (v. 1). When we are surrounded by the enemy, we must be still and know that He is God (v. 10). That’s the theme of worship and thankfulness as Psalm 46 commemorates how God gave King Hezekiah and Judah the victory over the Assyrian army. Jerusalem was surrounded by the Assyrian army, but God had promised them it would not fall at this time (Isaiah 37:33). God was the refuge and strength within the hearts and minds of who were facing trouble (vv. 1-3). He was ever-present within the walls of Jerusalem (vv. 4-7), and the victorious King on the battlefield outside the walls of Jerusalem (vv. 8-11).
The Assyrians had not only surrounded Judah, but they had destroyed many of its fortified cities (Isaiah 36:1). Psalm 46:2-3 tell us that even if it got much worse and the whole earth were overcome, Judah would not fear and trust the Lord! The Assyrian king sent threats to King Hezekiah and Judah that they would be the next to fall. When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and went to the temple to pray (Isaiah 37:1). When we face trouble, what is our first response? Is it fear, panic, and worry? Do we trust the Lord? When it looked like all was lost, Judah did not fear (Psalm 46:2). When an army surrounded a city, they typically cut off their water supply and waited them out. But Hezekiah had prepared, building an underground tunnel and pool of water (2 Chronicles 32). Even if that source of water was cut off, God was their “river whose streams make glad the city of God” (v. 4). God dwelt with them (vv.4-5, 7). He had promised them the Assyrians would never set foot inside the walls of Jerusalem (Isaiah 37:33). While it’s hard to trust the Lord with the enemy that close, we must “be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10).
In the middle of the night while everyone was asleep, the Angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrians outside the walls of Jerusalem (Isaiah 37:36). The Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament is Jesus! Psalm 46:8-9 depict a victorious Judah over the Assyrians. They wanted everyone to come out of the walls and see how Jesus had single handedly destroyed the Assyrian army. Not only had Assyria been defeated and retreated, but their king would also soon be murdered by his sons as he worshipped his false god (Isaiah 37:38). When surrounded and it seems defeat is imminent, do you pray to the Lord Almighty (v. 11)? Is He your fortress? Martin Luther wrote “A Mighty Fortress is our God” after reading Psalm 46. We worship the Lord together with that song in church. Psalm 46 is already a song the community of God used to worship the Lord for victory over the Assyrians. Let it be a song you use with God’s people to worship Him for the victory you need today. Be still and know that He is God. He is your refuge and strength, and ever-present help in time of trouble.
- When seemingly surrounded, is your first response fear or prayer?
- Are you able to be still and quiet and allow the Lord to fight your battles?
- Is God your refuge and strength?
Lord, thank You for surrounding me with Your presence. Thank You for fighting my battles when the enemy rushes in like a flood. Help me to trust You and not retreat or surrender to my fear. I choose to trust You. You will keep me in perfect peace as my mind is stayed on You. While I rest, You will fight. I need only to be still and trust You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.