Psalm 46
Pulpit Commentary
<> God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Verse 1. - God is our Refuge and Strength (comp. Psalm 18:2; Psalm 94:22, etc.). A very present Help in trouble; literally, a very accessible Help - one easy to be found (comp. 2 Chronicles 15:4).
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Verse 2. - Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed; or, though the earth change - a somewhat vague expression, probably to be understood of political changes and revolutions (see ver. 6). And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; rather, and though the mountains be hurled into the heart of the seas. A metaphor for still more strange and violent disturbances and commotions. The revolutions and disturbances intended are probably those caused by the Assyrian career of conquest briefly described in Isaiah 10:5-14; Isaiah 37:18-27, and fully set forth in the annals of the Assyrian kings (see G. Smith's 'Eponym Canon,' pp. 106-149; and the author's 'Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 2. pp. 83-210).
Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
Verse 3. - Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled; or, roar and foam (Hengstenberg, Kay, Cheyne). Though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof (comp. Psalm 93:3, 4; Jeremiah 46:8, 9; Jeremiah 47:2).
There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
Verse 4. - There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God. In contrast with the scene of tumult and disturbance in the world at large, which the writer has presented to us in vers. 2, 3, he now shows us, resting in perfect peace and tranquillity, "the city of God," threatened, indeed, by the nations, but undismayed by them, and calmly trusting in the protection of the God who is "in the midst of her." To this city he assigns a "river, the streams whereof make her glad;" imagery in which we may recognize the perennial fountain of God's grace - that "pure river of water of life," which, welling forth from the throne of God and of the Lamb, continually refreshes and gladdens the Church of Christ (Revelation 22:1), whether her dwell-tug-place be the earthly or the heavenly Jerusalem. The holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High (comp. Psalm 43:3). The direct application is, of course, to the earthly Jerusalem, which the armies of Sennacherib were threatening.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
Verse 5. - God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved. While the world is being turned upside down (vers. 2, 3, 6), the Church is unmoved - since "God is in the midst of her." God shall help her, and that right early; literally, at the turning of the morning, or, in other words, "at the break of day" (comp. Psalm 30:6; Psalm 49:14; Isaiah 17:14). The deliverance of Israel from Sennacherib came, it is to be remembered, when it was discovered "early in the morning" that in the camp of the Assyrians were 185,000 "dead corpses" (2 Kings 19:35).
The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
Verse 6. - The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted (comp. vers. 2 and 3). The past tenses arc probably the "preterite of prophetic certainty." The writer foresees and announces the destruction of Israel's enemies.
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Verse 7. - The Lord of hosts is with us (comp. 2 Chronicles 15:2; 2 Chronicles 20:17; Isaiah 8:8, 10). This is the ground of assurance. Our God, Jehovah, is "the Lord of hosts" - one who has countless angels at his command (2 Kings 6:16, 17; Psalm 68:17; Matthew 26:53). And he is "with us" - on our side, ready to help. The God of Jacob is our Refuge; i.e. our covenant God, the God who entered into covenant with our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
Verse 8. - Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. The deliverance of Israel from its peril is effected by "desolations" or "devastations," which God accomplishes among the nations. The announcement is very vague and general, so that it would apply to almost any occasion when the people of God were delivered from a pressing peril.
He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
Verse 9. - He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth (comp. Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 65:25). Each great deliverance effected by God is followed naturally by a term of peace (comp. Judges 3:11, 30; Judges 5:31; Judges 8:28; "and the land had rest twenty, forty, eighty years"), each such term being typical of the final peace, when God shall have put down all enemies under Messiah's feet. He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; i.e. he destroys all offensive weapons, so that none may "hurt or destroy in all his holy mountain" (Isaiah 11:9). He burneth the chariot in the fire. War-chariots were largely employed by the Assyrians, and formed the main strength of the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:23).
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Verse 10. - Be still, and know that I am God (comp. Exodus 14:13, 14; 2 Chronicles 20:17; Isaiah 30:15). As a general rule, God requires man to cooperate with him. "We are fellow-workers with God." "Aide-toi, le ecel t'aidera." But there are occasions when man must stand aloof, and all must be left to the almighty Disposer of all things. The invasion of Sennacherib was such an occasion. Human effort could not but be futile; and unless God gave deliver-ante in some strange and extraordinary way, there was no hope of escape: Judaea must cease to exist as an independent country. I will be exalted among the heathen. When a deliverance was plainly miraculous, the God of Israel got him special honour among the neighbouring heathen nations, who could not gainsay the fact that there had been a supernatural interposition (comp. Exodus 14:4, 17, 18). I will be exalted in the earth. Exaltation among the neighbouring heathen had an effect upon a still wider circle (comp. 2 Chronicles 32:23, "And many brought gifts to Hezekiah, King of Judah, and he was magnified in the eyes of all heathen henceforth").
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Verse 11. - The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (see the comment on ver. 7).



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