Sunday, March 20, 2016


"It is said of Luther, that, when he heard any discouraging news,
he would say, 'Come, let us sing the forty-sixth psalm."
(Matthew Henry)

"God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
And though the mountains slip
 into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake
at its swelling pride."
(verses 1-3)

Some believe that this psalm is sung upon the release from Babylonian captivity when "the Persians had overturned Asia Minor, and destroyed the Babylonish empire: they had seen Babylon itself sacked and entered by the Persians; and Cyrus, its conqueror, had behaved to them as a father and deliverer.  While their oppressors were destroyed, themselves were preserved, and permitted to return to their own land." (Adam Clarke)

Though earthquakes could very well have been involved which may cause mountains to sip and the waters roar, this could also be interpreted as the political commotion signified by the word "roar."
as "secular rulers shake with the swelling thereof."

"Though the earth on which the church is seated be moved, or removed...Though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;--that is, the greatest and strongest empires and kingdoms should be ruined, and overwhelmed...yet, we were not afraid, nor will we fear." (Adam Clarke)

No matter if it is shifting of fault lines in the physical realm or in the political or personal, God is our refuge, our place to fly to, our asylum, our strength and stay.  We will not fear no matter if we are all shaken up.  Mountains slipping could be earthquakes as we have seen or even experienced or mountains meaning kings.  There ultimately is no kingdom but God's: "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done."  That is where our trust is to be put to rest.  The opposite of fear is trust, rest. 

"The roar and foam is political unrest, trembling that these tumults should terminate in the subversion of the state."  Hmm.  Does that speak to our political climate today, not just in our nation, but in the world?  The earth is bent on destruction with genocide against Christians and Jews, the "swelling pride."

Have you been through an earthquake?  Having lived in the Midwest, the greatest fear in the tornado alley is earthquakes.  We were asked many times when people found out that we were from California how we could stand the fear of earthquakes?  They said that they preferred tornadoes because they could see them coming.  My family moved from the Midwest to California in 1964, the year that the 9.2 Alaskan earthquake hit, one of the strongest in recorded history.  Yet, some of the greatest earthquakes recorded have been in the Midwest, with a recent 4.9 in Oklahoma.  Now tornados, though on a smaller scale, are even known to happen on the west coast.    We could all be shaken up, no escape wherever we live. 

The small shakings that I have felt are nothing compared to what could be. I have grown up feeling small tremors from Pasadena to here near San Francisco.  The 1989 Loma Prieta occurred during a World Series game there. 

We were friends with Bob Knepper who was a pitcher for the Giants when that 7.1 Loma Prieta hit during the World Series.  Some of his family were in the stadium, while some of his children were in Roseburg, Oregon where we lived. (His children were in a small Christian school with our children, and as parents, we developed a close friendship.)  All their friends, us included, were watching as it unfolded very concerned for their safety.


Bob Knepper had an earlier shakeup in his life according to his personal testimony.  He flat out didn't believe in God, but his close friend Dave Dravecky was constantly witnessing to him.  One day Bob went back to his hotel room, laid on his bed and shouted to the ceiling, "God, I don't believe in you.  If you are real, you will have to show me."  Then he said that God came and overwhelmed him with His Holy Spirit, and he laid there bawling like a baby for over an hour.  He was the man who never cried.  


"God is our refuge and strength,

A very present help in trouble."

So, are you singing with Luther?

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