God and His Word

We have heard of an old Christian who used to pray, “O God send large and rough billows to dash us upon Thy promises.” It may be that not many of us are made of such stern stuff as that; perhaps we would rather ask. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” and truly the less confidence we have in our own powers of endurance the better; yet if God permits large and rough billows to roll upon us we know that His promises will sustain us. In God and in His word we have not a refuge from fear only, but a source of strength also that can make us more than conquerors through Him That loves us. “I commend you to God,” said Paul the Apostle as he foresaw the perilous times that lay ahead, “I commend you to God and to the word of His grace.”

The large rough billows are rolling upon us now. “The floods have lifted up their waves, but the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea, and His testimonies are very sure (Ps. 93:3) and He “will watch over His word to perform it” (Jer. 1:12, N.Tr.). When the test comes God does not fail those that put their trust in Him. “Our fathers trusted in Thee and were delivered they trusted and Thou didst deliver them. They cried unto Thee and were delivered; they trusted in Thee and were not confounded” (Ps. 22), and the God of the fathers is our God. Our faith may not be as strong as theirs was, but their God and ours has not weakened; He is just the same today. “The everlasting God the Lord the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not neither is weary” (Isa. 40:28). And “if God be for us, who against us?”

Here is an encouraging quotation from a letter from a Christian officer “I am glad to be back in this peaceful country after the inferno of Dunkirk, where I spent three days and two nights on the beach It was brought home to me in a special way the grace and comfort which we have in the knowledge of God, and the courage which such a word as Psalm 46 gives. This psalm was continually coming to my mind I realised that all day and every day at all hours one ought to be dependent on God and not only in such times of stress.”

Psalm 46 is one of the best known of the psalms and has been a channel of comfort and courage to the suffering saints of God in every age since it was first written. In days of peril when the enemies of the truth seemed triumphant and Melancthon trembled with fear, Martin Luther used to say, “Come Philip, let us sing psalm forty-six.” So they encouraged themselves in God and girded themselves afresh for the conflict for the faith.

The title of the psalm is remarkable: “A song upon Alamoth.” A note in the Scofield References says “Some have thought the Alamoth, virgins, were a temple choir singing antiphonally to the Sheminith, or male choir.” And it has been said that “the singing of this virgin choir shows that even the feeble virgins may sing in a day of peril without fear because “the mighty One is on their side.” it is the consciously weak that can sing this song of faith for their whole strength is in the Lord. “To them that have no might He increases strength” (Isa. 40:29).

We commend the psalm specially to the Christian women; their steadfast faith and hope is a great help to the church of God and to His servants. The wife of George Whitefield used to stand behind him when the mob threatened him and say, “Play the man for God, George.” The psalm does not celebrate natural courage, not even faith but the greatness and absolute reliability of God—“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear.” It is what God is that drives away the fear—God greater and nearer than all circumstances, God greater than all foes, “God for us.” We may dwell too much on faith and lose sight of God we may even put our trust in prayer instead of in the God to whom we pray. If we know God our faith will be active, if we know His care, His love, His wisdom, His power, we shall pray and shall believe while we pray, but it will be God Himself and not our faith or our prayers that will be important to us

Twice in the psalm we read “The Lord of hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our refuge.” Innumerable hosts of angels own His supremacy and serve His will sustained by His power, yet unspeakable grace! He is also “the God of Jacob.” He bends down to the individual, even to the most wayward and fickle, to the fearful and the needy, to you and me. His strength is against every foe that would hurt His people, His grace is their support in trial and drives away their fears. He has said “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” He said that to Jacob and the words are quoted and applied to us, so that we may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what “man shall do unto me” (Heb. 13:5-6). “Be still and know that I am” (Ps. 46:10). “Some trust in chariots and some in horses: but we will remember the Name of the Lord our God” (Ps. 20:7). “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22).

J. T. Mawson