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the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 46

The Church Pulpit CommentaryChurch Pulpit Commentary

Verse 1


‘God is our refuge and strength.’

Psalms 46:1

The Psalmist who wrote these words knew the happiness of their meaning, for the life into which God does not enter cannot be, in the deepest sense, happy.

I. Our refuge.

( a) From isolation and human misunderstanding.—Probably the experience of some here is in union with those who are surrounded by lack of sympathy and lack of appreciation. It is a blessed thing to know Jesus Christ, the Friend who sticketh closer than a brother. God is our refuge from isolation and from human misunderstanding.

( b) From provocation.—Again, it is a hard, but it is a Divine, lesson to be calm and restrained under wrongful blame, a difficult, but a splendid victory. God is our refuge from provocation.

( c) From change.—Again, everything around us changes. The world itself is but for a time. We ourselves grow old and change, but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to-day, yea, and for ever, and he that doeth the Will of God abideth for ever. God is our refuge from change.

( d) From sin.—Then there is that terrible thing called sin, the remembrance of good left undone and of evil done. Christ died, that, believing on Him, sin might be put away. The forgiveness of sins is offered to us in Jesus Christ our Saviour. God is our refuge from sin.

( e) From sorrow.—And when sickness comes, when the wife or the child is taken, when work is slack and expenses go on, and the income is but small, if we can but look up to the face of Our Father, without Whom not a sparrow falls to the ground, and say, ‘Thou, O God, art my Refuge in the day of trouble,’ God is then our refuge from sorrow.

( f) From uncertainty.—And God is our refuge from uncertainty. The agnostic and the materialist may excel in what is called destructive criticism, in declaring what is not; but when pressed to say what is, they are generally silent. By looking in the wrong way, the wise have never found, and, what is more, they never will find out God, because He reveals Himself to the childlike in heart, and His revelation addresses itself to the whole of our nature and not to one part, to the warm, loving heart, as well as to the cold, scoffing intellect. To the Greeks and Romans, as to the modern sceptic, everything was uncertain; but to the humblest believer light is sprung up in the darkness, for God is our refuge from doubt and from uncertainty.

II. Our strength.—To those that thus receive the Lord, the Refuge becomes also an Almighty Strength in Whose Holy Spirit the very weakest of us can live a life to His glory and to the good of others, and may realise true religion.

—Rev. Dr. Darlington.


(1) ‘God is Refuge to me in my danger and peril. Whether it be the ill-desert of my sin that alarms me, or the pollution of my sin that fills me with shame, or the strength of my sin that dismays me, or the attractions and fascinations of my sin that lure me, a safe stronghold my God is still. When I flee to Him, when my home is in Him, sin cannot have dominion over me.

God is River to me in my barrenness and sterility. The streams of His manifold grace make glad the city of my soul. It is His pardon, until seventy times seven. It is His holiness, meeting and conquering all my evil. It is His peace, which passeth understanding. It is His power, equipping me for every service and every trial. It is His joy, unspeakable and full of glory. “The Lord is with me in majesty, a Place of broad rivers and streams!” ’

(2) ‘On this psalm Luther has founded his notable hymn, Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott, “A fortress strong is God our Lord.” It bears in every word the impress of his faith and Christian heroism, and has a long history of its own in the life of the German people and in other languages into which it has been rendered. It was written in 1529.’

Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 46". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/psalms-46.html. 1876.
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