This morning I gathered the kids around the coffee table for our morning devotion. School bags were packed, hair brushed, diaries checked and lunches prepped. Today I chose the Psalm which is different from most days as it is usually the kids who get the honour. I felt compelled, two days after the horrifying events in Paris, to read one of my favourites. Psalm 46.
Psalm 46 is a psalm that is often attributed to King Hezekiah and is believed to be the inspiration for Martin Luther’s well-known hymn ‘A Mighty Fortress’. It is a psalm full of metaphoric examples of what God is like. A fortress. A tower. A river. The gist of this psalm is to remind us of the presence of the Lord in our lives and what a difference it makes to trust in his goodness.
The little title above this psalm in my bible reads ‘God is our Fortress’, and what a mighty fortress he is! He doesn’t move, he doesn’t change, he is rock solid and isn’t crippled by ISIS or al qaeda. God is a dependable figure when all around us things seem to be falling apart.
In verse three we read about the ‘waters’ that are churning. This is the unrest of the nations (Daniel 6). This is ISIS. This is man wanting to be in control and not turning to God for their help. The world may seem unpredictable, yet there is God, like a peaceful river (verse four), surrounding his city. Shiloah, the river that ebbs and flows, always there. Always predictable and sure.
God only needs to utter a word we read in verse six and the earth will melt. Only utter. Not shout, yell or bellow, just utter. All powerful. Another attribute of God!
So why doesn’t he? Why doesn’t my God who is so powerful just stop this barbarity and utter that word?
He doesn’t because it is not in his good pleasure to do so. Not yet.
But be assured, because of Paris, millions all over the world turned to him in prayer. Because of Paris over six million people hashtagged #prayforparis on Instagram alone. Because of Paris, Parisians and people all over the world flocked to church yesterday to be comforted by his word. Because of Paris we can comfort our children and our loved ones about the coming of Christ. Because of Paris, we hold our children closer and seek out the beauty that is all around us. And these things alone, turn this horrible byproduct of sin, this day that will go down as a black day in our history, to his Glory.
Throughout the desperation of the news, we have a God who is there. Who IS able to utter that word when the time is right.
And so where does that leave us?
We continue to, or start to live daily in his grace. We give thanks for a God who we know is our refuge. Our God who is a stronghold. Our God who is a peaceful river. We search the gospel. We learn more about the character of God. We seek to know his Holiness. We humble ourselves before his throne of grace each day. And we pray, pray, pray. We pray for the families affected. We pray for peace. We pray for Christ’s return.
Soli Deo Gloria