Let us turn at this time in our Bibles to Psalm 41. This is another one of the psalms that begins with a beatitude. The very first psalm begins with a beatitude, "Blessed is the man." Here again,
Blessed is he that considereth the poor, the LORD will deliver him in the time of trouble (41:1).
Now the Bible has much to say about God's concern and God's interest with the poor. And God is constantly exhorting us in His Word that we should be concerned for the poor. That we should seek to help the poor. It is biblical that our concern should be for the poor. In fact, there is a Scripture that says, "He that lendeth to the poor, lendeth to the Lord" (Proverbs 19:17). So if ever you want to loan the Lord anything, go out and find a poor person and lend them some money. Not looking, really, for a return from them, but just looking to the Lord to return it to you. Because really you are lending to the Lord, and He actually pays fantastic interest. "Blessed is he who considers the poor." One of the blessings, "The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble."
The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou will not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all of his bed in his sickness (41:2-3).
Now, it is an interesting thing that the psalmist speaks of God in such a personal kind of a way. If you have been generous towards the poor, if you have been interested in giving to the poor, among other things, God will take care of you when you are sick in bed. Now, this is an interesting concept concerning God, and is certainly far from the pagan concepts of their gods. Can you imagine this being said of Jove? Or of Jupiter or of Buddha or whatever? That he will take care of you when you’re sick in bed. And yet, we think of God in these beautiful, intimate kind of relationships, of even watching over us when we are sick. When we are languishing on our bed, taking care of us.
Now, this is the first part of the psalm. The first three verses declaring, really, the interest, the concern, and the blessedness if we will just take care of the poor. The interest we should have, the concern for the poor.
Now he turns to his own case and he said,
I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee. Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish? (41:4-5).
This is what his enemies were saying, “When is he going to die, when is he going to perish?”
And if he comes to see me he, speaks emptiness: his heart gathereth iniquity to himself; and when he goeth abroad, he tells it (41:6).
He comes and he sort of, you know, interrogates me. Or he acts in very friendly, gets me to confide in him, and then he goes out and tells everything that I have confided. And,
All that hate me whisper together against me: and they seek to devise my hurt. They say an evil disease cleaves fast to him: and now he is lying down, he is not going to rise again (41:7-8).
As the psalmist is crying out his woe, in the next verse, actually, he utters a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ and His betrayal by Judas Iscariot.
Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me (41:9).
In the thirteenth chapter of the gospel of John, verse 18, Jesus quotes this verse as referring to Judas Iscariot and the betrayal of one of His own followers. So it is interesting that as the psalmist is speaking of his own position, that suddenly he lapses over into prophecy and speaks to the Lord.
But thou, LORD, be merciful unto me, raise me up, that I may requite them. By this I know that thou favorest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. And as for me, you uphold me in mine integrity, and you set me before thy face for ever (41:10-12).
And the psalm closes with a benediction.
Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen (41:13).
Now this is the end of the first book of psalms. There are actually five books of psalms. Some of the old Bible scholars see in the five books of psalms sort of a sequel to the five books of Moses, the five books of the Pentateuch. In the five books of the Pentateuch you find God speaking unto man, giving the laws, and establishing the covenant with man. In the Psalms, they see in the five psalms the sequel to the Pentateuch, only it is now man expressing himself to God in his worship and his praise and all. Whether or not they can actually be tied together, the five books of the psalms with the five books of the Pentateuch, is a thing for theologians to worry about. We don't need to concern ourselves with it. However, each of the books of the psalms do end with a benediction, similar to what we have here, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting. Amen, and amen."
So we enter now into Psalm 42 into the second book of the psalms.
And as a hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God (42:1).
Jesus said, "Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6). Here the psalmist is expressing his desire for God, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so pants my soul after thee, O God." Jesus cried out, "If any man thirsts, let him come unto Me and drink. And he who drinks of the water that I give out of his innermost being, there shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38).
There is within every man a thirst for God. Down deep inside of every man there is that thirsting after a meaningful relationship with God. Now this thirst is like being hungry sometimes and not knowing exactly what you are hungry for. Your body chemistry is trying to tell you that it is needing some particular chemical. Maybe it is in enchiladas, or maybe it is in ravioli, but you are hungry for something and you can't quite pinpoint what you are hungry for. And so as a result, you are eating everything, trying to find out, "What am I hungry for?” And nothing seems to satisfy; nothing seems to fit my particular hunger. Sometimes the hunger is a little indistinguishable. Even as the thirst often is indistinguishable, in that I know that I am lacking, I know that I need something more, I know that life must have something more than what I have yet experienced. There must be more to life than this. In reality, way down deep inside my spirit is thirsting after God and a meaningful relationship with God.
Now it is amazing the many things by which people seek to satisfy this thirst. Look at the world around you in which we live and you see people trying to satisfy this spiritual thirst by all kinds of experiences; physical experiences, emotional experiences. And so often, as they are pursuing after one of their immediate goals, their idea is if I can just attain, if I can just achieve, it is going to satisfy. And oh, they become evangelists for this particular little deal that they are in right now, cause, "Oh, this is it. This is going to satisfy. This is going to bring to me all that I am looking for in life." And they are running down the trail. But when they get to the end of the trail, they find that it is empty, just like everything else. And so they are looking for another path to follow. They are running here; they are running there. They've got a thirst. They are trying to satisfy that thirst, but they don't know where. They don't know how.
Jesus, when He talked to the woman of Samaria there at the well, He said to her, "If you drink of this water you are going to thirst again" (John 4:13). Now you should inscribe that verse over every earthly ambition that you have, over every worldly pursuit. Go ahead, drink of it, but you are going to thirst again. You are not going to find the real satisfaction that your heart is yearning for, until you find God, and a meaningful relationship with God. Now it is a wise man and it is a blessed man who is able to define the thirst and know that it is a thirst for God and comes then into a meaningful relationship with God. God is the one that planted the thirst there. And only God can satisfy that thirst. And so the psalmist identifying, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so my soul panteth after Thee, O God.”
My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they [that is, my enemies] continually say unto me, Where is your God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them into the house of God, with a voice of joy and praise, with the multitude that kept holyday. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? why art thou disquieted in me? (42:2-5)
Now here the psalmist is talking to himself. And sometimes talking to yourself can be a very healthy thing. There is a form of talking to yourself that is not healthy. But here the psalmist is saying, "Hey, soul, why are you cast down? Why are you disquieted in me? Why am I depressed? Why am I discouraged? Why do I feel so miserable?" Now a lot of people just get depressed and they just think, "Well, I am just depressed today." And they go on in their depression, rather than talking to themselves and talking yourself out of it. You can actually talk yourself out of depression, out of discouragement, out of defeat. So many times we are talking ourselves into it. "Oh, nobody has ever had it as bad as I have it. This is the worst that ever happened to anybody in the whole world. No one’s ever faced anything like this." And we just, you know, languish in our own sorrows. But the psalmist said, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me?" And then he gave his soul some advice.
hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance (42:5).
Now, he is saying, "All right, now don't get discouraged. Hope in God. God’s on the throne.” And that is when we get discouraged, when we forget that fact. You must not forget that God is ruling. God is on the throne. When I forget that and I look at the world, I think, “It’s no use.”
When our little girl was in first grade, just learning to write, we came home one day and there was a note that said, "There is no use. I've run away." And sometimes we feel that way. It’s no use; we want to run. It is because we have forgotten that God is on the throne. God is ruling over all. Oh, I will be the first to admit that things are beyond man’s control. I mean, the ship is sinking fast. It is out of man's hands, but God still reigns, God still rules. He is still on the throne, and that is my only hope today. And thus, when I start looking at the whole world scene, when I start reading what is going on and I start getting all disquieted and upset, I have to say, "Hey, what is the matter soul? Why are you so disquieted?" "Well, you fool, can't you read the papers? Don’t you know what’s happening?" Yea, but hope thou in God, for He is yet going to deliver. God is yet going to work. God is in control. I am glad about that, I'll tell ya!
O my God (42:6),
And here is an honest confession.
my soul is cast down within me (42:6):
It is important that you be honest with God. You are never going to deceive Him. You are never going to fool Him. And if you are upset, confess it. Be honest with God. "Oh God, my soul is disquieted within me." There are some people who say, "How is everything going?" "Oh great, just great, great, great." You know. But in reality they are just covering, because things are going horribly and they are really upset. They are at their wits’ end. They don't know what to do. And yet, they put up a good front. And we sometimes carry this over with God. But it is best to be honest with God. "God, I am so upset. My soul is disquieted. It is cast down.”
therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and from the Hermonites, and from the small hills. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the LORD will command his loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life (42:6-8).
And so, though it seems like I am being overwhelmed, the billows of grief and sorrow, and trouble are just overflowing me, yet the Lord will command His loving-kindness in the daytime and in the night His song shall be with me.
There are many references in the Scripture to songs in the night. Couple of years ago I was back in Pennsylvania speaking in some special services back there, and I got hold of some bad tuna that they served for dinner and I got food poisoning. And after the service that night when I came back to my room, I was sick! Oh, I was sick. I couldn't sleep. My stomach was just churning, burning, crazy food poisoning. And as I lay there in misery, a beautiful chorus, worship chorus came to me. I never heard it before, just inspiration, just a song of worship and praise to the Lord. And I started to sing it, and I sang it over and over and over again. A song in the night, of worship, of praise, of thanksgiving to the Lord. And I thought, “Oh, that is a beautiful chorus. I better get up and write it down. I can maybe slip downstairs and pick out the tune on the piano and write it down, because I don't want to forget this. I want to teach this to everybody. Oh, such a neat chorus to worship the Lord, you know.” And I thought, “Well, if I were plunking on the piano at this hour of the morning and I should awaken my host, they will think that I was crazy or something. Maybe I better not go downstairs.” But, really, I was too sick to get out of bed and just turn on the light and write the thing down. So I just kept singing it over and over. And I thought, “Oh, no, I will never forget this. This is just beautiful.” And I finally sang myself to sleep. In the morning when I awakened, I was healed; the Lord had touched me. I was feeling fine, except that I couldn't remember the chorus. It’s sort of like the lost chord, you know. I've searched. Done my best to try and remember it. And I said, “Oh Lord, please help me to remember it.” And He said, "No, that was just the song for the night. My song to get you through that rough night."
"In the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.”
I will say unto God my rock, Why have you forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a sword in my bones, my enemies reproach me; while they daily say unto me, Where is your God? (42:9-10)
That’s one of the things that people quite often cast at the Christian when something goes wrong. "Where was your God when that tragedy happened? Where was your God?" As though God is supposed to deliver us from every problem in our lives. God doesn't promise to deliver you from every problem. In fact, there is a promise that you don't really like that says, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous" (Psalm 34:19). I hate that promise. I don't like afflictions. And in afflictions people are always saying, "Well, where was your God then? Where is your God when children are starving to death in Cambodia? Where is your God when earthquakes happen in Algeria? Where is your God when Mount St. Helens blows its top? Where is your God?" It does get discouraging sometimes when we don't have answers.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? why are thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God (42:11).
Hey, I am going to come through. One of these days I will be praising God even for this trial that I am presently enduring. I will yet praise Him.
Psalm 43 seems to be similar to Psalm 42. There are some who believe that it actually belonged to Psalm 42, and in some of the manuscripts they were even put together as one psalm.
Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man. For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles (43:1-3).
How many times we have cried out to God, "Oh God, send out Your light and Your truth. Let them lead me. God, I want to do the right thing. God, I want to follow Your will in this matter. God, I don't know which way to turn. I don't know what way to go. God, send out Your light. Let Your truth lead me."
Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God (43:4).
And then the phrase that we had in the last psalm.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God (43:5).
We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work you did in their days, in times of old. How you did drive out the heathen with thy hand, and you planted them; and how you did afflict the people, and cast them out. For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thy arm, and the light of thy countenance, because you had favor unto them. Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob. Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me (44:1-6).
Now, this psalm begins in a very powerful kind of an affirmation of God and a dependency upon God and, "Lord, we have heard, our fathers have told us, how that in times past You were with them, You helped them, You delivered their enemies into their hands. How that they came into this land and You gave this land over to them. You drove out the enemies. It wasn't their strength or their power, but God, it was Your hand upon them that brought them into the land then gave them victory here. Lord, we have known all about it. We've heard about it. And You are our God. We acknowledge You as our King. But what is wrong?"
Now we get into the complaint of the psalmist. Up until now we were in good shape. "We know Your power. We know what You have done, and You are our God. But something has gone wrong here.”
But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and thou hast put them to shame that hated us. In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever and ever (44:7-8).
And then the Selah brings the end of that part of the psalm. That is it. “God, we’re trusting in You. You are it. You've done it.” Now, here begins the complaint with verse 9. The Selah ends the first thing of confidence in God.
But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and you go not forth with our armies. You make us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves. You have given us like sheep appointed for meat; and you have scattered us among the heathen. You sell your people for nothing, and you do not increase your wealth by their price. You make us a reproach to our neighbors, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us. You make us a byword among the heathen, the shaking of the head among the people. My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face has covered me, for the voice of him that reproached and blasphemed; by reason of the enemy and the avenger. All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant. Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way; Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death. If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; Shall not God search this out? for he knows the secrets of the heart. Yea, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever. Why do you hide your face, and forget our affliction and our oppression? For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaves unto the earth. Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies' sake (44:9-26).
Now it is an interesting psalm because there is vivid contrast. Again, the beginning with God, "We have heard of what You have done in the past. We know of Your power. Our fathers have told us what You have done. You are our God." And yet, the difficulty of trying to understand our present circumstances which are so adverse. "If it is true that You take care of Your people, if it is true that You deliver Your people, then why are we in this present dilemma? For we have served You. We have kept Your covenant. Why, God, are we having these problems?”
Again, let me emphasize that God nowhere has promised that He would keep us from problems. He has promised to be with us in every trial. "But beloved count it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as though some strange thing has happened to you" (I Peter 4:12). And yet, when we see a friend going through a deep trial we say, "Boy, this is weird. Wonder why God is allowing this, you know." Or if I am going through a heavy trial I am always thinking of it as some strange thing that has happened to me. Why should I have to go through this trial? I guess it is almost instinctive for us to shun suffering. We don't want to suffer. We don't like to suffer. We would like to have an easy path through life. We would like to have everything come up roses. But life isn't that way. Life has many pitfalls. Life has many sorrows. Life is filled with trials. But as a child of God I have the confidence and the assurance that God will be with me through any experience that I might have to pass. More than that, He has already gone before me.
“There is no temptation that has taken you but what is common with all man. But God, with that temptation, will provide for you the way of escape” (I Corinthians 10:13). For He will not allow you to be tempted beyond your capacity to bear it, to endure it. But the trial of your faith is more precious than gold, though it perisheth, because that trial of your faith is producing, really, the enduring qualities.
Now fire is an interesting substance. And one of the ways by which God is defined is, "Our God," it says, "is a consuming fire." Now God is love, God is light, God is good. But then also our God is a consuming fire. What does He consume? He consumes the dross, the chaff, the sin, the evil. You see, fire is interesting because it has the capacity of destroying or of transmitting into permanency. It all depends on the material that is in it. Now if you have got a bag of sticks, then fire will consume it. But that same fire that consumes the sticks can forge the steel into permanency. In order for steel to be hardened, forged, you've got to put it through severe fire, tremendous heat. But it is tempered, transmitted into permanency. Now God is a figure of fire. We are all dwelling in God, in the fire. But what is the fire doing to you? It all depends on what you are. If you are a child of God, that fire is burning the dross. If you are not a child of God, that same fire is destroying you.
Now, we do have experiences in life that we do not understand. It is interesting that this particular psalm does not come out with any glowing happy ever after at the end. It ends with a cry, "O help me, God, for Your mercies' sake." But it isn't one of the, "And lived happily ever after," kind of things. It just ends with the cry, "O God, I need help." But because the cry is unto God, the end is assumed. God will take care of it. God is watching over me. God does know the trial and the path that I take. And God will bring me through. Someday I am going to come out on top, victorious through Him. God will see that I do.
The forty-fifth psalm is one of those beautiful psalms that refers to Christ, a Messianic psalm. The glorious king. But in this same psalm is seen the church, the bride of Jesus Christ. And so we have in Psalm 45 the beautiful mystery of Christ and the church. The King and His bride.
My heart is indicting a good matter: I speak of things which I have made touching the King: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer (45:1).
Describing the king,
Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most Mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously, because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee awesome things. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre (45:2-6).
Now in the book of Hebrews it acknowledges that this was written concerning Jesus Christ. And as the author of the book of Hebrews is seeking to show the superiority of Jesus Christ over the angels, he quotes this particular psalm, showing that God called Him God. For this psalm is inspired by God, and God in inspiring the psalm saying of Jesus Christ, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever." So in the New Testament there are those that would challenge the deity of Jesus Christ, saying that it isn't really a biblical doctrine. In spite of the fact that in the first chapter of John we read, "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the same was in the beginning with God, and all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made."
In spite of the fact that Thomas, when Jesus said to him after the resurrection, "Thomas, you want to put your finger in My hand? Go ahead. You want to thrust your hand into My side? Go ahead. See if it isn't Me." And Thomas cried, "My Lord, and my God” (John 20:28). In spite of the fact that Paul the Apostle called Him God, declaring that we look forward to the great appearing of our glorious God and Savior Jesus Christ. It is pointed out in the book of Hebrews that even God Himself called Him God. For the Lord said to Him, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever. The sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre." So, John, Paul, Thomas, all were willing to acknowledge Him as God, and even the Father willing to acknowledge Him as God is good enough for me. I don't need the Jehovah Witnesses to come along and say that He is not God. There is ample biblical proof.
So inasmuch as this is quoted concerning Christ in the New Testament, we know we are on good ground as seeing the King as Christ.
Thou lovest righteousness, you hate wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad. Kings' daughters were among thy honorable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir (45:7-9).
The queen, of course, the church.
Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him (45:10-11).
How beautiful. Speaking now of this intimate, beautiful relationship between Christ and His church. "Hearken, O daughter, consider, incline thine ear. Forget the world, thy father's house. For the King greatly desires thee, thy beauty. For He is thy Lord, worship Him.”
And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall entreat thy favor. The King's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: and they shall enter into the King's palace. Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth. I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever (45:12-17).
Much, much that is there to just go ahead and come back to this one and read it and meditate upon it. And just to see the beautiful picture of the bride of Christ. The glorious day when we are brought to Him. Unfolded for us in the book of Revelation, chapter 19. Invited. Now the other groups that will be there, outside of the church, the virgins, bringing their companions that follow, there's a lot there.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea (46:1-2);
Because God is my refuge and strength, I will not fear any kind of calamity that may befall me, or catastrophe.
Now a few years ago people were predicting that California was going to drop off into the Pacific Ocean, and people had visions of great tidal waves rolling down through into San Joaquin Valley, and this whole thing being inundated in a tremendous flood. And actually, there were many people who moved from California as a result of these prophecies and some of these visions and dreams. Some of those that moved, it was good riddance. California has enough kooks already. But a lot of people were really terrified because of these prophecies and visions of the catastrophes and calamities that were going to befall California. And actually…of course, it’s really weird. They had visions of this whole coastal area just dropping, you know, into the Pacific. They saw that from the San Andreas fault line, their visions, from the San Andreas fault line westward here, we were all going to just, you know, drop into the ocean. And some of them actually had gone to the area of Wrightwood and had row boats and ropes and everything else that they were going to, you know, if you could get that far inland, then they were going to tow you up the mountain and keep you safely there in the Victorville area and all, on the other side of the fault line. And it was interesting. There were a lot of prophecies written about it and all. Back in the late sixties there was quite a bit of, quite a few of churches having doom prophecies and so forth that people were giving within it.
And so, of course, they would bring these pictures of people envisioned the destruction and catastrophe, and they would say, "What are you going to do, Chuck? Are you going to move?" I said, "No." "What are you going to do?" I said, "I am going to get my surfboard ready and when that tidal wave comes in, I am going to have a wild ride, you know." "Oh no, no. It is serious, Chuck. It’s serious, you know." And I said, "Well, if you want me to get serious, I'll tell you this, God is my refuge and my strength. He is a very present help in trouble and I will not fear, though the mountains be removed and cast into the midst of the sea. So what!"
You know if God is your refuge and your strength, you don't need to fear. People can you know come around with all kinds of doomsday notions and prophecies, but it doesn't stir me. It doesn't worry me. Now, I wouldn't blame God if He did shake California off into the Pacific, at least Hollywood and San Francisco. And I think He would be justified in doing so. But my trust is in God, always. Now, I don't care where you go, you can't really escape. You can't really run from danger. Face it, living is dangerous. No matter where you are you are surrounded with danger, and you can't really hide from danger. What you can have is the security of God, no matter what calamity or catastrophe may befall. Your life can be hid in Christ, in God, and thus secure. And if an earthquake comes and this whole place is leveled and I end up under the rubble of it all, the only thing that is going to end up under the rubble is this dumb old body. Me, I'll be soaring. So, because God is my refuge and strength, I cannot fear.
Though the waters of the sea roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof (46:3).
For there is something far more permanent than this earth and its uncertainties.
There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God (46:4),
In Ezekiel, in the description of the city of God, he speaks of the river that he saw that came out from under the throne of God. In the book of Revelation we are told also about the river in the city of God. And on either side of the river there are these trees that bear twelve manner of fruit. A different fruit every month. Tell me I'm not going to enjoy heaven. The leaves of the trees are for the healings of the nations. "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God." Now this is what those in the Old Testament were looking for. It says that these all died in faith not having received the promise, but having seen it a far off they claimed it and they said, "I am just a stranger and a pilgrim here, I am looking for a city which hath foundation, whose maker and builder is God." And we need to have a light touch with this world and realize that we are just strangers and pilgrims; we are passing through. But we are looking for a city which hath foundation, whose maker and builder is God. There is a city with a stream. The river and the streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place of [his dwelling] the dwelling of the Most High. And God is in the midst of her (46:4-5);
The glorious city of God, and He is dwelling in the midst of that city. And I plan to be there. And if the mountains are removed and cast into the sea, I'll be there that much sooner. I am not going to be here much longer at the best. Should we find glorious solutions for the world problems, should we be able to solve our energy crisis, our economic crisis, our diplomatic crisis, and all of the other crisis in which we are faced with today, I am not going to be around too much longer anyhow. I might be around twenty, twenty-five years. God forbid thirty. But I am not looking for a utopia here. I am looking for the city of God, where God dwells in the midst of that city.
[that city] will never be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged (46:5-6),
This is speaking of the Tribulation period before the great establishing of Christ upon the earth.
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 (46:6-7).
Here is an interesting sweep, "The Lord of hosts, the God of Jacob." It is sort of an all-inclusive sweep. “The Lord of hosts,” the hosts actually include the angelic hosts. Now we are told in the book of Revelation in chapter 5, as the angels join in to sing the chorus of the praise unto God, the song of praise for His worthiness to take the scroll, and it says, "And a hundred million plus millions of angels joined in singing, 'Worthy is the Lamb to receive glory and honor and dominion and authority and might and power.'" So the hosts, vast hosts of heaven; the Lord of hosts, Jehovah of hosts is with us.
And then he…that can be very…the Lord of hosts can be very remote from me, and see, that's vast. That's universal. That's way out here. And that can be quite impersonal to me. But he brings the sweep down and he says, "The God of Jacob is our refuge." Now in bringing the sweep down to the God of Jacob, now it's coming down to my level. The Lord of hosts is with us, but the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Jacob was not the most honorable man who ever lived. He took advantage of his brother's hunger and weakness, and traded a pot of red porridge for the birthright. Later he disguised himself to smell and to feel like his brother to go in and deceive his aged blind father, in order that he might steal his brother's blessing. He so incurred the wrath of his brother that his brother found only one solace, and he said, “I am going to kill that rat, as soon as Dad dies.” And he was just comforting himself with the thought I am going to kill him. And so Jacob, knowing that his brother was out for vengeance and blood, fled to his uncle. And there with his uncle, he began to manipulate the wealth of the family, until Jacob, actually, when he started back home, was leaving with most of his uncle's wealth. He was cunning, he was conniving, he was deceitful. And yet, God said that he was the God of Jacob.
Now, I like that lower sweep, because in that lower sweep it includes me. If He can be the God of Jacob, He can also be my God. Because, you see, I am not the most upright, wonderful, gracious person whoever lived. I've had my times, but I really don't think that I have been crooked as Jacob. So the fact that God would sweep a little lower than me gives me comfort and gives me hope. The Lord of hosts; vast, universal. The God of Jacob; down to my level.
Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth (46:8).
Now, this is talking of the Kingdom Age, going ahead. First of all, the desolations when we come back to the earth, we are going to see the desolations on the earth that result from the Great Tribulation period. I do believe that a part of the Kingdom Age will be the rebuilding process of the earth that has been ravaged during the Great Tribulation. "Come behold the desolations that he hath made in the earth.”
But he has made the wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and he cuts the spear in two; he burns the chariot in the fire (46:9).
And so the glorious Kingdom Age where they will beat their swords into plow shears and their spears into pruning hooks, and they will study war no more. The glorious thousand years of peace upon the earth as we dwell together in God's glorious kingdom. Living together in that glorious age, where righteousness covers the earth as waters cover the sea. Oh, what a glorious anticipation we have of that neat, neat time. Living on this earth, rejuvenated for the glorious kingdom of Christ.
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth (46:10).
Just be still. Know that God is going to work His purposes. The day will come; He will be exalted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge (46:11).