En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘God’s Word’

A River that Never Runs Dry!

Posted by Scott on May 6, 2008

In ancient days many of the greatest cities that were not near the ocean or a lake were built with a river running through them.  The river supplied them with fresh water constantly, a means of transporting goods from one area to another, trade with other cities, etc.  This river sustained the people of these cities throughout their lives.  Without this river they would be left desolate or so they thought.  With this knowledge and fact makes Jerusalem all the more interesting.  This was and will be again a great city.  Called in Psalm 46 “the city of God”. 

This “city of God” spoken of in Psalm 46 is also a reference to millennial kingdom to come when God brings down the New Heaven to dwell on the New Earth or as it is spoken of the New Jerusalem. 

Jerusalem is where God lead His people to settle a few thousand years ago.  Why would God place them in a city that has no river or stream running through it?  Throughout the 11 verses of Psalm 46 God has inspired the writing to tell us why.

God is our sustaining river.  He is the never ending supply of fresh clean clear water of life.  He will give us clear directions.  He is our refuge when troubles come.  He is our fortress when we are going through trials.  He is the Lord Almighty who is always with us believers.  He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Simply put…”He Is”!

Let’s take a look a some of the words so prominently placed within this text.  But first of all this is a song that was harmoniously played out by the temple choir who were the Sons of Korah.  The Sons of Korah were the descendants of Korah.  You might ask who was Korah?  Korah was a person back in Moses day who rebelled against Moses and eventually died because of his rebellion.  However, the children and future generations of Korah remained faithful to God and were kept as a great part of the worship of God in the Temple. 

God is our refuge!  We make that statement with a definite loud voice many times.  This “refuge” is somewhat different than the refuge of verses 7 and 11 which also use the word fortress in place of refuge in some versions.  “Refuge” here is our shelter and our only place of hope.  We cannot put our hope in none other than our Almighty God and be secure.  He is our strength as well within this shelter that gives us a loud boldness full of might that is always present and this shelter of hope is to protect us during times of trouble.  Think about Deuteronomy 33:27:

“The eternal God is our refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.”

Visualize when times of trouble are near the strong everlasting arms of the Father gathering around you.  Isaiah likened it to God spreading His wings like an eagle for us to rest upon.  Jesus used the visualisation of Him spreading out His wings like a mother hen gathering her baby chicks to take shelter under and protection from harm and danger.  It is this shelter or refuge we draw tremendous strength from daily. 

If and when the world seems to be coming to an end and it is crashing down all around us we can face it fearlessly.  The writer tells us in the verses beforehand Who we can rest in and Who gives us our strength while facing these times…Almighty God.  Then it says “therefore” we WILL NOT fear when the world comes crashing in.  How is it that we WILL NOT fear?  I think back to terrifying times in my life or the lives of other believers I read about.  We can face these difficult times fearlessly, because we are resting under the shelter or arms of God.  We have made Him our refuge.  Our strength is drawn from Him not ourselves.  If we rely upon ourselves for strength we will face a crumbling world trembling and stone cold full of fear.  Our own human strength cannot offer refuge for a dying world or even our families.  This strength can only come from our living faithful Almighty God.  He is the Alpha and Omega which is the beginning and the end.  He has His awesome powerful arms around us with His hands at the beginning and the end.  We are caught up with Him somewhere in between. 

James 4:8 tells us to “Come near to God and He will come near to you…”  How do we come near to God?  In prayer we come near to God, because we are speaking with Him.  We can talk with Him as though we can see Him setting in the seat next to us.  Our God is not a God that is far off in the distance trying to cope with our problems.  He is close to us…ever-present in times of trouble.  We can depend upon Him to be right beside us, not standing off in the distance.  Deuteronomy 4:7 “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to Him?”  He draws near to us when we pray.  The ability to to develop this tremendous awareness of the closeness of God is to pray fervently to Him always.  We are instructed to always be in prayer…this means to be in constant awareness of how close God is and speak to Him about all things and at times, we may simply say “Praise You Lord” which is speaking to God.  We will not feel His close presence in our life unless we pray and stay in constant meditation in the Word of God.

God is our fortress.  “Fortress or Refuge” in this sense is a high and lofty inaccessible place.  He puts us out of reach of danger from our enemy many times.  He ask us to come and see His performance, His mighty work as He desolates the earth around us, yet, His chosen people are still standing firm in the hope and strength we have placed in Him.  As Paul in 2 Timothy 4:16-17 was facing a tribunal and everyone at this point had abandoned him in his last moments.  Paul still could sense his God as his Omnipotent advocate and undaunted friend in the face of this trial.  Even to the moment his head was to roll in the dirt of a bloody executioners floor for his role in the furthering of the Kingdom of God, he could still visualize and sense his King beside him, holding him up in His everlasting arms, and reaching out to receive Paul from the other side of eternity.  This refuge, this shelter, this strength is not mentioned or promised so that we will never face death or horrible events in our lives.  If you believe this you have been greatly mistaken or lied to.  As authentic Christians, we will face trials, troubles, desolation, a crumbling sinful world around us, and possibly even death for the cause of Christ. God is explaining how we get through these times.  We can rest upon Him during these times.  He will at times rescue us from trouble and not let one hair on our heads be damaged, but this is may not always be the case. 

“The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything.” Phil 4:5-6

“Fear not, for I am with you.” Isaiah 41:10

“I will never leave you nor frsake you.” Hebrew 13:5

Finally, in the midst of the smoke from the fire, the smell from death around us, the constant pounding by the enemy, a venimous taunting from the enemies clever mouths…we are to “Be still and know that He is God”.  This is the most reverent form of worship described in this text.  Stop what you are doing, clear your mind to the affairs of the day, place your focus and thoughts on the Alighty God, Elohim.  Be consumed by the awesomeness of our heavenly Father.  Focus on the holiness of our Lord, Adonai.  Observe or recognize that He is our God, Jehovah, the self-existant One.  He is our refuge and strength.  We must “Be still..” to get this.  We cannot be bouncing around during a church service waving our hands all over the place, acting as though this is only what true worship is like and get this.  He has said for us to “Be still and know…”!  To “Be still” we must be quiet and focus on Him not ourselves…place all the focus on Him and Him alone!  Worship is not about us.  Worship is about God.  It is within this time of being still, focusing upon God that we find this place of refuge, this fortress, this inner strength in order to be able to exalt Him high above everything else in our life.  He is to be elevated above any trial, above any trouble, above sickness, above death, above desolation, above our family, above our job, above our churches, above our worship services, and most humbly above ourselves….He is to be elevated or exalted above all things and worshipped above all things.  He is the King of King’s and Lord of Lord’s!

Our God Almighty is our sustaining, never ending fresh river of life.  It is in Him that we will face these difficult times ahead of us with restful peace while a lost sinful people cry out around us.  We must put our total unabashed trust in Him.  We must faithfully place our rest upon His powerful everlasting arms.  For a person that is not a believer in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior these difficult days to come will prove to be the most fearful times of their lives that they will find no relief to power behind the destruction without God in their lives.  These difficult days ahead will prove to be the most horrible days ever imagined for a non-believer.  Do not rest within yourself, do not deny the existance of our most powerful God, do not put this decision off for another day, listen to call today…accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, put your trust in Him as your refuge and sustaining strength for life. 

-Scott Bailey 2008

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