When I was a child, they used to tell us that the purpose of school was to teach us the three “r’s”: reading, riting, and rithmetic. I’m not sure the author of that phrase was thinking it through. Nevertheless, here I am a lifetime later and I still remember what the three “r’s” are. In spite of the misspelling, the words clearly identify the necessary foundations of education.
Well, for the moment I want to turn from the three “r’s” and give you four “r’s” that are vital for your life in troubling times. Rather than identifying the foundation of education, I want to help you remember the sure foundation for overcoming your trials.
So take a moment with me and open your Bible to Psalm 46. In this little Psalm we find four “r’s” that identify an unshakeable foundation for your life. The structure of the Psalm is easy to see and vital to grasp.
So then, the four “r’s”:
Our Refuge (vv. 1-3)
Our River (vv. 4-5)
Our Ruler (vv. 6-9)
The Reverent (vv. 10-11)
It begins with the declaration that God is our refuge, our protection, our deliverer, our covering, and King.
He is our refuge in the midst of natural upheaval that threatens the very existence of our planet (vv. 1-3).
God is our refuge in the face of national uproar, political battle, socio-economic injustice, anarchy, and war (vv. 4-7).
The psalmist concludes his reflection with a call for us to be reverent, to worship the One who sits on the throne, to see that God alone is our hope, our help, and our healer (vv. 8-11).
In this moment would you take some time and just gaze upon him? See who he is. Notice what he has made. Do not miss the marvel of his presence…he will not desert the work of his hands. The fact that he is with us draws me to my knees. His victory comes into view…. he destroys destruction. He invites you and me into a holy silence, helping us discover that the One who knows us wants us to know him. Exalt him. Do it now.
Our worship is built upon a stunned silence. The appearance of his person, the release of his power, the sight of his victory. In the light of who he is and what he’s done….”be still…be still and know…know that HE is God!”
Reverence. Worship. Exaltation.
HE is with US! HE is OUR fortress! It blows my mind and boggles my imagination. Such a One would care for me. This One, this GOD loves YOU.
…. Selah ….
History reveals that not even Martin Luther was immune to depression and frustration and fear. When he came face to face with his enemies, he would often turn to his young friend and co-worker, Philip Melancthon, and say: “Philip, let us sing forth the forty-sixth Psalm.” And this is how it sounded:
“A sure stronghold our God is He,
A timely shield and weapon;
Our help he’ll be and set us free
From every ill can happen.
And were the world with devils filled,
All eager to devour us,
Our souls to fear shall little yield,
They cannot overpower us.”