A Psalm of Consolation and Confidence in God
God is our refuge and strength in trouble (46:1-7). The Psalmist affirms the fact that the Lord’s presence makes life secure. Our life is full of troubles but God is our refuge and strength. The word trouble means “in tight place”. Christians can find safety and courage by trusting God. They always go together. The believers should not be fearful because they have been blessed with the Spirit of power and love and self-control (2 Tim 1:7). Troubles will come in many forms but we should trust God for strength to handle them. When God is present we have nothing to fear. He is the source of peace. It is likened to a river flowing to the city of God. The city of Jerusalem was not founded on a river. King Hezekiah dug the tunnel to make the water source available within the city wall. God was faithful to Israel but they did not trust him and fell to the Babylonian captivity. God is our source of help in times of need. In the Bible water is the picture of the Word of God. Jesus said “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink” John 7:37). Those who wait upon the Lord and drink from his blessing will not faint. They have the Holy Spirit within them to refresh and strengthen them. Have you come to Christ, the Living Water? Only in Christ you can find lasting peace and satisfaction.
The Psalmist exhorts Israel to remember the glorious works of God (46:8-11). These works explain how God brings peace to his people and destroys the enemy. The Lord says, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations”. This encourages God’s people at all ages. Someone has said that “Be still” simply means “take your hands off”. This speaks of our faith in God that he can do what is best for us. If we try to accomplish things in our own strength, everything will fall apart. Christians should give their burdens to God and desire that he should be exalted in their lives. Are you facing problems and challenges in your life today? Cast your burdens on the Lord. Let him be God in your life and allow him to do great things for you. We can bring the bread to the Lord, but only Christ can multiply it to feed five thousand.
Praise the Enthroned King
The Psalmist calls on all the nations to praise God who is the sovereign King (47:1-4). It is a messianic psalm. “For God is the King over all the earth, he deserved to be praised with psalm”. The reason for giving praise to God is expressed in verses 3-4. He reigns over nations. The Lord Jesus is enthroned in heaven and everything is under his sovereign control. He knows you name and sees your needs. God is gracious and loving and therefore deserves our praise with singing. When we complain we cannot sing praise to God. Israel was called to praise God because she was chosen to be his inheritance. Israel will experience God’s blessing when Christ comes to establish his kingdom. We can praise God if we know Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Praising God is a timeless act of worship in heaven (47:5-9). The psalmist exhorts us to see the mighty works of God. He brings peace to his people. This peace is the deep sense of serenity, completeness and satisfaction comes from knowing Jesus Christ. Christ has promised this peace to his disciples (John 14:27). We read about a Simeon who was just and devout to God. Yet he did not experienced peace until he saw Jesus (Luke 2:25-30). Have you seen Jesus as your Savor to find forgiveness and peace? Then only you can sing praises to God expressing full satisfaction in God. Someday Christ will reign over all the earth and every knee shall bow before him (Phil 2:9-11). Today the whole the world is turmoil. When Christ establishes his kingdom, all the nations will praise him. The center of our worship is God. To worship means to render praise and adoration to God. We worship a victorious Savior. He is the exalted Lord and he is worthy of our praise. Those who believe Christ will reign with him someday. Do you know this great Savior and worship Him with praise?
A Psalm Praising the Greatness of God
The Psalm begins with the description of Jerusalem, the city of God (48:1-8). This psalm is a song about Zion. “It is beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth”. God himself dwells in Jerusalem and he is its defender. The kings of the earth joined forces against her, but they were terrified and ran away. The Lord made the city of Zion secure forever. Therefore God is to be praised. Today Jerusalem is not a secure place politically and racially. So the psalmist may be referring here to the heavenly Mount Zion (Hebrew 12:18-24). When we look at heavenly Zion, we see God’s goodness and faithfulness. “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God”. God is the refuge to his people. As God built the city of Zion, he will build out lives. When God allows sorrow and disappointment in our lives, he is building us for his glory. God wants to dwell within us. He is our refuge and protects us. Have you found Christ as your Lord and Savior? Those who have found refuge in Christ are secure and safe.
The psalmist worships the Lord for his unfailing love toward Zion (48:9-14). Jews made their pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate their festivals. It was the most exciting experience in their lives. Christians today are citizens of the heavenly Zion and are marching toward it. While Israel was marching they rejoiced remembering God’s righteousness and faithfulness. The psalmist invites Israel to take note of the fortified walls and consider her palaces to tell about their glory to the next generations. This God who had made them secure will be the guide forever. Christ promised his disciple to guide them by his Word. He is our guide in our pilgrim journey. So we don’t have to be afraid of anything. Pilgrims talk about their heavenly Zion. One day they will enter the heavenly Zion and see their glorified Savior. Is Jesus Christ your Savior? Are you marching to the heavenly Zion? Praise God for what he has done for you.
The vanity of Wealth
The psalmist instructs us about our right attitude toward wealth (49:1-14). This is a wisdom psalm addressed to all people. It is filled with insight and carefully to be understood. Clear understanding is necessary for spiritual perception. In verses 5-12 explains that those who boast about their wealth have a false security. Life is too costly to be redeemed by wealth or it can prevent death. ‘For the redemption of their souls is costly. They die and leave their riches behind. They name their estates after themselves but their fame will not last. They will die just like animals. Only the precious blood of Jesus Christ can redeem the soul. (1 Pet 1:18). Although money is a needed resource, its use is limited to temporal use. How foolish to trust in riches! Jesus warned that riches can keep people from accepting Christ as Savior (Matt 19:23). Wealthy people die just as poor people. We are advised not to trust in our wealth but in Christ. When we invest our wealth for the glory of God, we are investing it in eternity. Do you trust in the world’s resources or in Christ who is the source of eternal life? Trust Christ and be saved.
The psalmist encourages us to trust in the Lord and beware of false security (49:15-20). As for the righteous, God will redeem them from the power of the grave. The wicked those who trust in their wealth will perish. Christians should not afraid when wicked get rich, for when they die they carry nothing with them (Ecc 5:15). Eternal perspective is necessary for healthy spiritual discernment. The destiny of the righteous is better than the passing glory of the wicked. God wants us to beware of false security but also do not waste opportunity to invest what God has entrusted to us for his glory. Are you a faithful steward of what God has given you? Do we make use of the opportunity to serve Christ? Sin blinds many people to see the glory of Christ. It deafens and deceives many. Because of stubborn pride and love of sin, many people reject the gift of salvation in Christ. Oh, how our hearts should break for such people. Death without trust in Christ is terrifying because hell is a reality. The harvest is plentiful but laborers are few.
A Psalm of Worship to God
God judges his people because he is the Lord of holiness and glory (50:1-15). This psalm was written by Asaph, the choir leader of the Temple. He was appointed by David to preside over the singers (1 Chronicle 16:5). He was from the family of Gershom, a Levite (1 Chr 15:16-17). He was a godly poet and twelve psalms bear his name (50; 73-83) Asaph describes a courtroom scene in which God acts as a judge. Our God is coming and he is not silent. He calls on the heavens above and earth below to witness the judgment of his people. God’s judgment is righteous against the formalism of their worship. His people do not realize that God does not need their bulls or goats because he owns all animals. God does not depend on man’s worship because he is self-sufficient. God wants that his people should worship him from a sincere and thankful heart. When they call on God in their distress, he will answer them. His ears are opened to the cry of the afflicted. God is not pleased with empty ritualistic form of worship. Christians are free from condemnation because they are in Christ (Rom 8:1). But our works will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10). Peter says “The judgment begins at the house of the Lord (1 Pet 4:17). This thought should motivate unsaved to respond to the saving grace of God. Are you saved? Do you worship God from a sincere heart?
In verses 16-23, we see the Lord’s indictment against hypocrisy. When we offer sacrifice to God, we offer only what God has given us. God has given us job and skill to work. So often we receive from God without returning thanks for what he has done for us. Paying our vows to the Lord brings glory to God and blessings to us. God wants spiritual sacrifice from our hearts (Heb 13:15). The more we glorify God, more we enjoy him. The Lord is the sovereign, the all powerful and the greatest person in the universe. He deserved to be worshiped and praised. Another way to praise God is by doing good works (Matt 5:16; Heb 13:16). Whoever offers praise glorifies God. He is not pleased with the wicked. They pretend to obey God but hate his law and instructions. While appearing righteous, they tolerate sin and slander their brothers. They take God’s patience for granted. They think God’s silence as his approval. God will rebuke them directly for their wickedness. The psalmist warns them to consider their ways before it is too late. He calls them to offer their worship from their hearts. God hates formalism and hypocrisy in worship. The true worshipers worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Are you a true worshiper of God? Pray that God would help you to speak the truth in love.