Preparing for Worship: Psalm 46 (9 AM only this Sunday!)

Preparing for Worship: Psalm 46 (9 AM only this Sunday!)

John Haralson   •   May 27, 2016

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!” 

Psalm 46:10

Dear Friends,

This Sunday, we will resume our summer practice of going through the Psalms from beginning to end. Several years ago, we started this with Psalm 1. Last summer, we ended on Psalm 45. So, this year, we will pick up with Psalm 46. 

Psalm 46 is a favorite of many, myself included. And, verse 10 is particularly beautiful. In all honesty, I need to hear the Lord speak it to me it every single day. 

There are probably thousands of artistic interpretations of Psalm 46:10. Here is a typical one.

Screen-Shot-2016-05-27-at-10.47.19-AM.pn

Now, don’t get me wrong. This is a lovely and soothing picture. Just looking at it probably lowers my blood pressure a couple of ticks. However, a careful reading of Psalm 46 reveals that this picture actually misrepresents the context of God’s command to “Be still.”

In the Psalm, nothing is calm and serene. Life as the Psalmist knows it is falling apart. There are natural disasters (“the mountains fall into the heart of the sea”) and God’s enemies are seeking to destroy God’s people (“the nations rage”). Everything the Psalmist holds dear is at risk of collapsing or being swallowed up.

In other words, the context for Psalm 46:10 looks more like this. 

Screen-Shot-2016-05-27-at-10.47.20-AM.pn

How is this comforting? 

It is comforting because, if we are honest, our lives don’t look like that serene pond, no matter what kind of pictures we may post of ourselves on Instagram. There is chaos all around us and within us. The world is churned up like a roaring sea, and the truth is our hearts are often this way as well. 

It is precisely here―in the midst of our struggles, fears and even rebellion against God―that Psalm 46 meets us. And in the midst of the storms that rage, the Lord commands both us and the storms to be still.

This week: Psalm 46, Mark 4:35-41

Liturgy is here. 

I hope to worship with you.

Warmly in Christ,

John

P.S. One service this week at 9 AM!