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To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 1:

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." So says the Holy Spirit in Psalm 46:1.

The Name for God here is "Elohiym" and means the God of strength, the powerful One. In fact, He is all powerful! Also grammarians note that the word here is plural. I believe this is a "hint" at the fact God is Triune in nature. We worship one God, Who reveals Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The noun "refuge" is spelled "machaseh." It means a shelter or place of protection. In the King James Bible it is rendered as refuge 15 times and shelter 2 times but also as hope twice and trust once! It's a place of seclusion in times of rain or storm or danger.

Then "strength," literally spelled "oz," means power or might or even occasionally something like boldness or loudness! Psalm 68:34 uses the word twice. "Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds."

The Lord is also our "help." Here's the Hebrew word: "ezrah." Look at it. Pronounce it best you can. Do you see anyone familiar in it? Ezra! His name actually means "help!" God puts a high priority on help. The first time our word is used in Scripture, Judges 5:23, it appears twice! "Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty."

The wife of Adam, named Eve, was to him a "help meet" according to Genesis 2:18. So God is an Almighty supreme Help to us!

The modifier "present" is derived from the Hebrew verb "matzsa." It actually means "to find" or "to attain" and "to meet or encounter." It carries the idea of easy accessibility. When help is needed, God is there!

And "very," spelled "meod," means exceedingly or in abundance or force ... "muchness" one lexicon says!

Then to set the whole context of both the verse and the Psalm is its last word, "trouble." In Hebrew "tzsrah" means a tight place, a squeezed-in pathway. Distress! Straits! Pressure! Here's "tzsrah" in a classic verse: "Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?" Deuteronomy 31:17

The Psalmist certainly seems to be in the midst of some sort of trial. The situation is difficult.

But God is present!

And He is All one needs!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 2:

"Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea." So say the Lord's people in Psalm 46:2.

Since God is our Refuge ...

Since God is our Strength ...

Since God is always Very Present ...

Since God is our Help ...

What does it matter, the events that come our way?

Much like Habakkuk will do in later years, the Psalmist assumes the worse case scenario he can imagine ... then decides that no possible set of problems is bigger than Almighty God!

"Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation." Habakkuk 3:17-18

In other words, "God is so great, what problems stalk me? Bring them on! I shall conquer them in the mighty Name of my Lord!"

Jesus prophetically did this in Isaiah 50. Watch Jesus here notice His Father's Nearness. And the Power of a unified Father/Son front! How paltry an enemy must look in that light! Then ... "Let that enemy come near! He will be defeated!" Here are Isaiah's exact words, quoting the coming Messiah: "He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me." I suspect the devil yet "quakes" in fear when he hears those words.

The verb "fear" in Psalm 46:2 is spelled "yare" and means to dread something or someone. It certainly contains the idea of terror as well.

Worry will not come my way, says the Psalmist, "though the earth be removed!" The noun "earth" is "eretzs" and in our King James Bible is translated "land" 1543 times and "earth" 712 times and "country" 140 times and "ground" another 98 times. It is even "world" 4 times and "nations" 1 time.

"Removed" is "mur" in Hebrew and means "changed" 10 times and "exchanged" 1 time and, as we have here, "removed" 1 time. Also "mur" here is framed as a hiphil stem, indicating "cause." Someone has caused such catastrophe. Mankind, with his innumerable sins!

The noun for mountains is "har." It can mean either hill or mount. We see the word used in the term Armageddon, which really in Greek is "Harmageddon."

The verb "carried" here is so interesting. "Mot" means "to totter or shake or slip!" An earthquake is happening! Once in the King James Version it's even "decayed."

The noun "midst" is "leb," the Hebrew word for heart! Into the heart of the ocean! Then the word "sea," in Hebrew "yam," is derived form a root verb meaning "to roar!" Sounds logical! Get this too: in Hebrew "yam" also is used to express a compass direction! West! I counted 73 times this is the case. Because the Sea, the Mediterranean, is to the West of Israel!

The Psalmist remembers such things as the earth quaking at Sinai or its opening and swallowing Korah and his rebellious crowd! And since mountains so visibly surround Israel, they represent stability itself!

If everything crumbles ... God still is with us!

The earth, the hills, the mountains ... Who made them anyway, speaking them into existence?

God, our Very Present Help!

Praise His glorious Name!

This verse, when memorized and pondered regularly, might be more soothing than any sedative a doctor can prescribe!

Here it is again, Psalm 46:2. ""Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea." 

Amen!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 3:

The Hebrew Psalmist is thinking out loud: "Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah." Psalm 46:3

A thought, really a subject-verb relationship, from verse two must be imported here to complete the Psalmist's thought. "Therefore will not we fear ... though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah."

What peace!

What confidence!

The noun "waters" (in Hebrew "mayim") can grammatically mean anything from a trickling brook to a raging river. But here, in this specific context, it must mean rapidly flowing, life threatening, torrents of mighty water, heavy and unyielding.  I say that because of the accompanying verb, "roar," which means to make a loud noise. "Hamah" also means to growl or even to mourn! The parallel verb "be troubled" translates "chamar" and means to boil, to foam up or to ferment. Maybe the inspired writer has in mind the Red Sea incident several hundred years earlier. That body of water certainly roared and was troubled, touched by the Hand of God.

The little English preposition "thereof" broadens the concept of these waters. Waters "of" what? Of the whole earth, mentioned earlier in verse two. "Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah."

These waters are so violent that their flow literally shakes the mountains! "Raash" means to tremble or to quake.

Whatever happens on earth, anything imaginable, no fear will come to this Psalmist!

He has already decided!

He has a personal Refuge!

His Strength is not found in geography or naturalism!

His Help in trouble is the Lord God Almighty!

The One Who is the great Creator of such natural disasters as have just been described!

Such things are nearly "too wonderful" to comprehend, using an expression first uttered by Job, then by David and Solomon too! See Job 42:3 and Psalm 139:6 and Proverbs 30:18.

Such determination to be at peace, to trust the Lord, even when the earth is shaking ... is astounding.

It sounds like the New Testament really!

It's nearly Pauline!

"In every thing give thanks!" 1st Thessalonians 5:18

"I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Philippians 4:11

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." 2nd Corinthians 12:10

This Psalmist has truly discovered "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding!" Which Peace, Paul also says "shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

The more I study God's Word, the more I am convinced that the Same Hand that wrote the Old Testament also wrote the New Testament! The same principles and lessons and truths permeate both!

Aren't you glad you now the eternal God?

Praise be to His dear Name!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 4:

"There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High." Psalm 46:4

The Psalmist has been discussing with us the possibility of raging rivers and angry floods, even washing away the mountains!

Now, suddenly, he thinks of another River. One which flows through the city of God! And this River is peaceful!

The noun for river, "nahar" in Hebrew, means a flowing body of water, a stream which could be relatively shallow and narrow ... or deep and wide. The word is used 120 times in Scripture. Naturally its first use, Genesis 2:10, speaks of the river flowing out of Eden. The last use of "river," in English with a Greek word background, "potamos," is mentioned in Revelation 22:1-2. There it flows out of the eternal City of God!

The noun "streams" is "peleg" and means a channel or canal of water. Rivers often spawn streams. These waters "make glad" the city of God, which is historically a reference to Jerusalem and prophetically a reference to Heaven or New Jerusalem. This verb, "samach," is found 152 times in the Bible, most often being translated as "rejoice." Its root meaning: to brighten up!

The "Holy Place" is spelled "qadosh" and means "set apart," hence sacred. It's no doubt a reference to the Tabernacle and later the Temple of God.

"Tabernacles" is "mishkan" and means "dwelling places," but is once rendered "tent" in the Old Testament. The word is predominantly found in Exodus and Numbers, the Books of the Tabernacle, with the Book of Psalms being third place.

"Most High," one of God's beautiful Names, is "elyon" and means "upper or uppermost" then "above" and "highest!" His first mention is in Genesis 14:18 in the great Melchizedek Passage. There the Lord is "the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth." Amen!

Let's talk a minute about that great River the Psalm just introduced.

It could be a picture of God the Father. In Jeremiah 2:13 God is Such. Listen to our Lord: "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." God the Father, as water!

It could be a picture of God the Son. He is the River of Life in fact! "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." That Fountain, mentioned here in Zechariah 13:1 is most certainly Jesus!

Yet thirdly this River could be a picture of God the Holy Spirit! Listen to Jesus: "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified." John 7:38-39

Literally this river is one of two bodies of water. The Brook Kidron near Jerusalem or the Pool of Siloam. Both are mentioned in Scripture. In fact, Jesus mentions both places.

Anywhere the Presence of God is indicated, you will find this River!

Ezekiel found it in his millennial Temple. And John found it in His celestial city. In both instances it was flowing from the very throne room of God!

The world's rivers hold no apprehension for the Believer, not when he or she has experienced the River of God!

Hallelujah!

                                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 5:

The 46th Psalm indeed exalts the Lord!

Perhaps as much as any chapter in the Bible.

Wherever God is ... there also is help and strength and peace and joy!

Of course we have all learned from our study of Scripture that God is omni-present. He is everywhere.

Yet there is a sense in which God is especially present in certain places or at specific times.

To the Psalmist here, God is in the city of Jerusalem!

That's where His House is located, the Temple itself.

In verse 4 we are introduced to "the city of God."

Again, that's Jerusalem.

Then watch what is said next: "God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early." Psalm 46:5

God dwells in a City!

"Her," the pronoun, has as its antecedent that City.

Of course, in Jerusalem the "tabernacles" or dwelling places of God are located.

The "midst," which is "qereb" in Hebrew, means right in the "middle" of something.

There are other entities in which God is said to be "in the midst" too. I mean according to the Word of God.

In Revelation 1:13 Jesus is in the "midst" of seven candlesticks, representing the seven churches of Asia Minor. Jesus is surely there, inside His Church!

In 1st Corinthians 6:19 He is in the midst of every believer! Through the Holy Spirit, that is. We are "indwelt" by God Himself!

But here's today's point. Wherever God is, within a city or a church or a person, certain things are true.

Watch our Text again: "God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved ...." Psalm 46:5

Where God is, there is stability!

The verb "moved" is simply spelled "mot" and means to totter or shake or slip! God brings substance to one's life! He is faithful! He never fails! He is eternal!

Again and again in Scripture God is our Rock! Solid! Unmoveable! Fixed! Permanent!

When anchored to Him, we also "shall not be moved!"

Furthermore, God's presence indicates help! "God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her ...."

This verb, "azar," is used 82 times in Scripture, always with the same meaning! To support! To succour! As we discussed earlier the first mention of "azar" in the Bible is located in Genesis 2:18 where Eve is the "help" meet to Adam. God is the Perfect Companion! The One Who keeps us from being alone!

Therefore prayers such as the one recorded in Psalm 30:10 are in order. "Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper."  He is!

When shall God help her?

"Right early" shouts our Psalm!

"Right" is spelled "panah" and carries this kind of idea: to turn one's face toward something or someone! God ... looking at us! Staring our way! Seeking to help!

Then "early" is "boquer," which means the dawning of the day! Daybreak! God is up and at the business of helping His people ... before the sun rises! In fact, Psalm 121 says that the Lord "never slumbers or sleeps!"

God in the midst!

What blessings follow His steps!

Goodness and mercy surely do!

Praise His Name!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, VERSE 6:

The Lord is supreme.

The Lord is over all things.

He is, in the classical sense of the word, sovereign. This word is derived from a Latin root, "super," which means "above."

No one or no thing is above Almighty God!

He is the Most High God!

Such is the essence of Psalm 46:6. "The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted."

Someone is angry!

The "heathen" are mostly Gentiles. "Goy" in Hebrew means people or nations, but separate from Israel, non-Jews.

They are upset, "raging" in fact.

"Hamah" means growling or roaring or murmuring or sometimes just making a loud racket!

Obviously the implication is that these wicked people are mad at God! The Psalmist may have Psalm 2 in mind here. "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us." At least the same spirit prevails in each text.

The first Bible use of "hamah" or is not until 1st Kings 1:41, pretty late in Scripture for a "first use" event. There the people are in an "uproar."

In these last days we can expect this old lost ungodly world and its inhabitants to grow increasingly more tumultuous and dissatisfied and rebellious and outspoken against God and His Word.

The noun "kingdoms" is "mamlakah" and signifies any government. A political dominion of some kind. Dictatorship, democracy, monarchy, oligarchy or any of the others. World leaders are all involved, nations united in wickedness!

"Moved," in Hebrew "mot," means "to totter, shake or slip." Somewhere on the downward sliding scale of world debauchery, God has drawn a line. Once past that ... governments of all kind begin to totter and shake and fall to the ground! They crumble! Disintegrate! In the first use of our word in Scripture, Leviticus 25:35, "mot" is rendered as "decay" in the King James Bible.

Yes, when things are at their absolute worst on the national and international scene ... God will speak!

Read it again: "The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted."

The verb "uttered" is spelled "nathan" and is the main Hebrew verb for "give!" Literally God "gives" His voice! He gives His Word! He gives His Plan for all to hear!

When God speaks to His children, they love it!

But when God talks to the ungodly world, these devilish nations, they "melt!" Or at least the earth does. "Eretzs" can mean either the planet itself, rock dirt and all, or it can mean the people who inhabit the globe.

"Melt" translates "mug" which means to faint, to dissolve, to be consumed, to soften or to flow. Found only 17 times in the Bible, "mug" is a fairly rare word. In Exodus 15:15 godly Israel invading Canaan caused the wicked people to "melt away." Also "mug," in Psalm 65:11, is rendered as "soft." The land, the earth being made "soft" with God's showers of rain!

God's voice alone will calm the rage and hate and rebellion of the ungodly heathen.

Back to what I said in the beginning of this lesson, God is over all, including all the nations. Nations who shake and fear when the Almighty utters His Word!

What a God we serve!

That's the truth at the very heart of Psalm 46. God is God! God is in control! God is not fearful. He is the One to be feared! He will some day judge the earth in righteousness! He is All in All!

Praise His Good Name!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 7:

The emphasis of Psalm 46, therein repeated again and again, is the overpowering fact of God's Presence. Especially God's Presence with His people!

For example, verse 7 confidently declares: "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah." Psalm 46:7

These words affirming God's nearness are reinforced both earlier and later in this same Psalm, short as it is. Verse 1 reminded us that God is a very present Help! He tabernacles or dwells in His Temple in His Holy City of Jerusalem adds verse 4. He is right in the middle of her, verse 5 posits. And as if all these reminders are not sufficient, verse 11 finally tells us again that the Lord of Hosts is still with us!

And ... since God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, above all, righteous, just, loving, eternal, unchangeable, truthful, and so much more ... His Presence creates some things! Automatically causes certain effects to occur!

Perhaps the greatest of those things is found in verse 10, not yet studied in this adventure. Peaking ahead a bit, GOD WILL BE EXALTED IN THIS EARTH! When He literally returns, in the Person of Jesus Christ, He will be exalted! Among the Gentiles, among the Jews, among the nations, among the armies, among the animal kingdom, among the mineral and vegetable kingdoms and even among the wicked! Yes, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

When?

Why?

Verse 7 is needed again here now: "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."

God's specific Name "Lord of Hosts" is quite technical. Each time it is used we see some kind of a battle brewing. "Hosts" is spelled "tzsaba" in Hebrew and means an army of men or a group of soldiers! Ready for battle!

Yes, God is a "Man of War!" That's what Exodus 15:13 says, word for word!

And He leads an army with Him! An army of angels, an army of men, an army of saints, or an army about whom we know little at all ... God still leads them! They are at His beck and call! Under His command!

"With us," both little words, are associated with a Hebrew expression, "im." This little preposition is built upon a stem that means "to associate" with someone or "to overshadow" him or her!

God is so close His very "Shadow" covers us and protects us!

The second Name by which God is here known is, "the God of Jacob." The Deity here is "Elohim," a Name meaning powerful One! Also, the One Who is multiple in His expression! A Plurality within a Unity! One God ... revealing Himself in a Triune, Threefold Manner! The Trinity!

As "God of Jacob" God forgives men of their sins!

As "God of Jacob" God transforms us from crooks to saints!

As "God of Jacob" God blesses us indeed!

As "God of Jacob" God might "mark" us with a reminder of our weakness in light of His Strength! Something like a "limp!"

As "God of Jacob," God can raise us for us a great family, generations to live for Him!

And as "God of Jacob," God of course keeps His Word!

This Great God ... "Is our Refuge!"

"Misgab" means a high and secure mountain peak! A cliff! A defence! A high tower! A fort or fortress! Or, naturally, a refuge!

Three times the King James Bible expresses "misgab" as a "high tower!"

The root word upon which "misgab" is built, "sagab," means "to be lofty, to be exalted, to be excellent, to be inaccessible hence, to be safe!"

What a thought when danger approaches!

A Living Refuge is by our side!

"The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah." When one puts together these two clauses, both in verse 7, he or she simply is overwhelmed!

He must, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, utter something like: "Selah!" That's the exact Hebrew word, mind you, "Selah." It is believed to be some kind of a musical indicator. Most teachers remind us the root word carries the idea of something being uplifted! Exalted!

A few believe that the term suggests that the Psalm or Poem or Song has been building in intensity! Building for some time and finally bursts into a mountain peak of praise and honor and glory! Like the "grand finale" at the end of a gorgeous fireworks display!

Watch: "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."

SELAH!

SELAH!

SELAH!

How much "higher" can this Psalm go?

What more glorious Truth is there?

GOD IS HERE!

GOD IS WITH US!

RIGHT NOW!

Praise His Name!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, VERSE 8:

Psalm 46 issues an invitation, a very unusual one!

"Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth." Psalm 46:8

The opening verb is placed first in the sentence for a reason. It is there given great emphasis, special attention!

"Yalak," its Hebrew spelling, is framed as an imperative. We are being given a command!

Grammatically this is just as important as the other "come" commands of Scripture.

For example, each of these are imperatives: "Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD." Psalm 34:11

"Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul." Psalm 66:16

"O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation." Psalm 95:1

Or even Isaiah 1:18. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

Wow!

In fact I have found our Text verse in nearly identical form in Psalm 66:5. "Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men."

The next verb, "behold," is somewhat rare in the Old Testament. Not being the normal word for "look" or "see" or "watch," the Hebrew "chazah" means "to gaze at" something or someone. To stare at them. This word also seems to involve some emotion. It has a tinge of this in it: "to see as a prophet in an ecstatic state." This verb also is an imperative! Look and study and let what you see "move" you! "Chazah" is only used 51 times in the whole Bible.

Then the noun "works" is even more rare, three times! "Miphal" means that which is done repeatedly or practiced. Systematically and habitually performed! I suppose we here are being told to observe God's "patterns" and "ways" of doing things!

The noun "desolations" now must be discussed. "Shammah" means "ruin" or "ruins." Waste, horror, that which appalls! It's "astonished" 13 times in the King James Bible. But it is also rendered as "wonderful" once, in Jeremiah 5:30-31. "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?"

The verb "hath made" is translated from "sum" in Hebrew. It means "to set, to appoint, to ordain, to establish, to found or to constitute."

"Earth" is "eretzs" and means the land, or globe ... as opposed to the atmosphere or heavens.

The next verse, tomorrow's lesson Lord willing, will amplify the Lord's doings here.

Until then, give your mind some time to think and ponder God's Ways! His patterns of doing things. Then worship Him for His Wisdom and Power!

God cried over Israel: "Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways." Psalm 95:10

Proverbs 23:26 says: "My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways." This may be God talking to us His children. In other words, these instructions go far beyond Solomon and his sons.

Here's how to thrill the God you love. "They seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God." Isaiah 58:2

Let's behold God's works!

                                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9, VERSE 9:

God is omnipotent.

He has all might.

His very Presence evokes Power, power that brings desolation to earth. So says the Psalmist.

But remember that the noun for "desolations" in Psalm 46:8 is unique. "Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth." I've underlined it for you.

The Hebrew word is "shammah" and it really carries several meanings. "Astonishment" is one. "Desolate" or one of its cognates is another. "Waste" is a third. And "wonderful" is a fourth. I've listed these in descending order of their appearances in Scripture. That is, based on the King James Version of Scripture.

See, God's Presence wreaks havoc on sin!

But God's Presence also brings blessings to His people!

Now look at Psalm 46:9. "He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire." This sounds like Isaiah the Prophet!

The same God, the God of Jacob, Who brings judgment ... can also bring peace!

In fact, that's one of the "wonderful" things He will do when He comes again to earth!

"To make cease" wars translates "shabath," a verb that is obviously related to our word Sabbath! It means to cause to rest! To desist! To cease!

"Wars," the noun "milchamah" in Hebrew, includes battles and skirmishes as well as major world class conflicts too!

Jesus will bring Peace!

To "break" ("shabar") means to cut into pieces!

A "bow" ("qesheth") is that weapon which an archer shoots. It is deadly!

The verb "cut in sunder" is obvious. "Qatzsatzs" means to hew in two. To sever in half! The annihilation of weaponry is being described.

The noun "spear" is translated "javelin" 6 times in the King James Version of the Old Testament. It is the long spear used by soldiers.

Then God "burns" the chariots! Get this verb "burn." In Hebrew it's "saraph!" Here we have the base for the angelic Seraphim Isaiah described so clearly in chapter six of His Prophecy!

"Chariots" include carts and wagons too, all implements of war. "Agalah" is used 25 times in the Bible.

God knows how to stop war!

He also knows how to fight!

His Being, His Essence, His Glory always makes things happen!

Either desolation or jubilation!

Look at these other Passages that are "parallel" to our verse today. Isaiah 2:4 says this of the coming Messiah: "And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." Then Micah 4:3, in nearly identical language, prophesies of the same Lord: "And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Why should we ever fear, when our great God can do these things?

If He can stop war ... and He can ... can't He care for our little needs and burdens and problems?

Yes!

Blessed be His Name!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10, VERSE 10:

"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10

Since the opening verb is an imperative, expressing a command, we Christians had best try to understand the rest of this verse. We are accountable to obey it!

Again, read it carefully: "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10

This great Text is not primarily a call to meditation. Or to silence. Or even to Bible study.

Rather, it is the equivalent of a victory cry!

A statement of final outcome!

These great words are a creed, a statement of faith in the midst of great turmoil!

Remember, the context is one of trouble. Mountains are quaking, rivers roaring, nations fighting! Things surely appear "out of control!"

Yet, no doubt, the true Peace Maker will come! Just as He, the Saviour of mankind, is the "Man of war" in Exodus 15:3 ... so is He the "Prince of peace" in Isaiah 9:6.

He, Jesus, is coming again! He will speak! The earth will melt! Desolation will run rampant! Then ... Victory will be claimed! War will be no more! Just as Jesus' first coming led to the Death of death ... so His second coming will lead to the Reign of peace!

That is what we are called to "see" in Psalm 46:10. To know absolutely!

Again, our verse for today: "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10

The verb "be still" translates "rapha," and is an interesting word, a real surprise! It means, in the King James Bible, "to be feeble, frail or weak" 14 times! To be "slack or faint" 5 times! To "cease" 1 time! And "to be abated" 1 time also!

The first time it's used in Scripture, God is punishing Moses! Seeking to kill him really! Because Moses failed to circumcise his sons! Moses' wife, Zipporah, therefore surgically performed the task at hand. Then God, seeing the obedience, "let Moses go!" That term, "let go," is our word "rapha!" God ceased His disciplinary action! See Exodus 4:26.

The second Bible occurrence is found in Exodus 5:8, a nearby Text too. There the Jews, slaves in Egypt, are were working hard enough! They are said to be "idle," that's "rapha" again! So Pharaoh added to their work load!

Now we get some idea of the meaning of "rapha." It means "quit scheming!" "Back off!" Or "cease from your feeble effort!" Just let God handle it!

The world scene; nations at war, universal turmoil, natural catastrophes everywhere ... are out of our hands!

God is in control!

He is at the helm, piloting this old earth!

And while we do not know every turn He will take, we do know His destination!

A Throne!

A King!

Peace!

Victory!

He will be exalted on this earth!

Jesus will reign!

Among all nations!

Amen!

This we can "know." The verb "yada" means, among other things, to be absolutely sure of something! To know it intimately! No doubt about it!

Whom are we to know?

"God!"

"Elohiym!"

The God of Strength!

The God of all Power!

The God Who is a plurality within Unity!

Three in One!

Father, Son, Holy Spirit!

"Elohiym" is a grammatically plural Term!

Yet we are monotheists, believers in One God!

No contradiction here!

God is Triune!

Then ... here's the promise!

From the God Who "cannot lie" according to Paul in Titus 1:2.

God "will be exalted" we are told ... twice!

Used two times in our single verse, Psalm 46:10, a simple fact is being stated. That's the significance of a Qal stem imperfect verb. Active voice! Incomplete action, still continuing, on-going, habitual!

"Rum" obviously means "to be exalted (47 times)," but also "to lift up or to hold up" (63 more times) in the King James Version! To "extol" (3 times)! And even "to heave upward" (3 more times)!

The beautiful thing about this verb ... it's not passive! God is exalting Himself! Of course the people of earth have no choice but to agree!

"Among," a common preposition, is a little term meaning "in, at, by or with," is twice used here too.

"Among the heathen," the "goy." These are Gentiles, the nations ... particularly those other than Israel.

"In the earth" uses the same preposition, "ke," along with "eretzs," the firm dirt and rock sphere upon which we live, our planet ... including its inhabitants!

All people everywhere will some day ... "bow their knees and confess with their tongues" ... that Jesus Christ is Lord! To the Glory of God the Father! See Isaiah 45:23 and Philippians 2:10-11 please.

What a verse, verse 10!

I can't help it. Again, "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10

Amen!

Praise the Lord!

Nothing anyone can do about it, including the devil!

God is Victor!

Christ Jesus reigns!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 11, VERSE 11:

The last verse of Psalm 46 serves as a "bookend," obviously a "mate" to the opening verse of this great chapter of Scripture.

Psalm 46:1 says: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

Psalm 46:11 rejoins: "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."

Then both these verses are duplicated, at least in meaning, by yet another verse in the middle of this Passage! Psalm 46:7 declares: "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."

See the repetition.

The whole Psalm is an affirmation ... then a celebration of God's Presence!

The only differences between verse 1 and verse 11 involve the Name of God used, the precise degree of His Presence and the absence of one detail! Of course the last verse does add an exclamation of praise!

Verse one's Name for "God" is Elohiym, the Powerful God of Trinity!

Verse eleven's Name for God is the "Lord of Hosts," a fighting name that implies certain victory! "God of the armies" it literally says! God is the General here too! The Man of War! The Captain! The Conqueror!

Verse one presents God as "very present" in His Help. "Much on-the-scene" says the Hebrew, or something close to that! "Help" is similar to Eve's position toward Adam, a "help" meet!

Verse eleven presents God being "with us." Right in the middle! Within us! Among us! Overshadowing us! All these are legitimate meanings for the term.

But quickly notice this with me. In verse one there is trouble, "tzsrah," meaning a "tightening" of circumstances. Cramping and pressure and squeezing from all angles!

But by verse eleven, such trouble is not mentioned! Circumstances are viewed more positively! God is our "Refuge," our "misgab." A high place, a fort in the rocks far above, a mighty tower!

Then come two unique things about this last verse. "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."

The use of Jacob's name, suggesting God Who changes men and women! Who transforms them! From "crooks" to "saints!" A God Who blesses the spiritually hungry! A God who watches over one all his life long! A God who can raise up a holy heritage, children of faith!

This Psalm definitely ends stronger than it started! Although it started strong too!

Lastly, see the closing word, "selah!"

A term of praise with musical connotations, likely "selah" means that a progression has been building, that crescendo has been reached ... it's time for the "grand finale!"

Think!

Ponder!

Pause and rest in this glorious truth ... "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."

Amen!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 12, THE SUPERSCRIPTION:

The little words above verse 1 of Psalm 46 are so interesting.

"To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth" they say.

Several things are intimated by these words.

The Psalm will be sung in Israel. It will become part of worship! It is being dispatched to the "chief Musician." He will see that it is directed into the hands of "the sons of Korah." It is one of 11 Psalms that are so designated. All total; Psalms 42, 44, 45, 46, 49, 48, 49, 84, 85, 87 and 88 are included.

But you will remember that these young people, these sons of Korah, normally would have been dead by now, dead with no possible survivors. Korah was the rebel who led an insurrection against Moses and was therefore slain by God, the earth opening her mouth and swallowing him alive. Alive into the "pit!" You can read about the event in Numbers 16.

One would have thought, that like Achan in later days, all the family of Korah would have been slain too! But God, in another rich Old Testament manifestation of His multi-faceted Grace, has spared their lives! Here, folks whose forefathers should have already been dead and in hell, are asked to sing about God, about His power and presence and goodness! What singing that would have been! An older version of Amazing Grace, no doubt! These "sons" are specifically assigned the task of arranging and setting to music this Psalm, this chapter of God's inspired holy Word.

Can't you just now hear them sing about God; specifically about Elohiym God, about Jehovah God, about the Lord of Hosts God, about the God of Jacob?

Amen!

Those Names present God as the creating God (Elohiym) and the saving God (Jehovah) and warring God (Lord of Hosts) and the loving and transforming God (God of Jacob)!

Many Psalms can be sung by any of the Levitical choirs.

This Psalm, number 46, must be arranged by a specific group, those sons of Korah ... the best of the best no doubt!

Then the superscript adds one more note, it also being musical in nature. "Upon Alamoth," that being the precise Hebrew noun "alamoth," simply means young ladies! A group with high pitched voices! So much so that many Bible teachers call them sopranos, for the feminine and lovely sound this choir will emit! "Alamoth" suggests the idea of their being "virgins" too! Those who are morally pure, either innocent and unstained from sin or even forgiven from terrible transgression, usually are best at praise anyway!

Remember the Bible's first song, Exodus 15, was composed and used when God delivered Israel from Egypt, allowing them to cross the Red Sea miraculously! It's a song about redemption and deliverance by the blood of an innocent little lamb! It also was first sung by Miriam the sister of Moses, a virtuous lady and no doubt a soprano!

God loves to hear those kinds of praises, pure and sincere! He does so again in Revelation 14:1-5, this time with men virgins!

By the way, "chief musician" translates "natzsah" in Hebrew. It means such as: "to excel, to be bright, to be preeminent, to be perpetual, to be enduring, to be the overseer, to be director and to be chief!" Ultimately that can only have One Person in mind ... JESUS!

Yes, He will direct the heavenly choirs, the anthem of praise! We are twice told that in Scripture. Psalm 22:22 lays the foundation. There Jesus by means of prophecy says to His Father: "I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee." Now when the Holy Spirit explains this verse in the New Testament, here's what we are told: "I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee." Hebrews 2:12

Jesus, The Singer!

The Chief Singer!

Folks, get familiar with Psalm 46. I have a keen sense of feeling that we are going to hear it again some future day!

"I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." So be it, dear Lord!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

FINAL LESSON, SOME GLEANINGS:

Here are a few "gleanings" I've gathered in various places ... all concerning Psalm 46.

Someone called Psalm 46 the "Song of Holy Confidence!"

The young ladies of Israel sang the praises of David the mighty warrior. "And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." So says 1st Samuel 18:7. Now it is appropriate that the young ladies of Israel, the "alamoth" of Psalm 46 in its superscript, sing the praises of One greater than David!

Psalm 46 was to be sung by a choir of virgins, that's what "alamoth"means.

It is believed that the great Christian hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" was written by a man who had studied carefully Psalm 46!

This Psalm may have been written at the time God sent His Angel who slew those 185,000 enemy Assyrian soldiers! See 2nd Kings 19:35. What a great victory that was! Such a great victory parallels the coming prevalence of Israel over the invading Russian and Islamic armies described in Ezekiel 38 and 39. And the coming victory of Messiah Jesus over the armies of a Jew-hating world at Armageddon too!

This Psalm is the Old Testament counterpart to Paul's great utterance in Romans 8:31-39. Part of which reads ... "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Amen!

There are 21 different Hebrew words for trouble one expert says. In verse 1 of Psalm 46 the word is "tzsrah" and means tightening and cramping circumstances! Pressure!

Here's the Psalm in a nutshell, perhaps too brief a one, but still fairly accurate. God is our Refuge ... do not fear! God is our Strength ... do not faint! God is our Help ... do not fret!

When John Wesley died, his last words were reported to be, "Best of all God is with us!" That's exactly the message of Psalm 46!

This anonymous little poem well explains the three ideas behind the Hebrew word "selah," used so often in the Psalms. "Selah bids the music rest, Pause in silence soft and blest; Selah bids uplift the strain, Harps and voices tune again; Selah ends the vocal praise, Still your hearts to God upraise!"

One Bible expositor says Psalm 46 presents God as our Refuge, our River and our Ruler!

In verse 2 the earth is said to be "removed."  This Hebrew verb, "mur," ten times in Scripture means "changed." In other words, "though the land change hands" ... God is still God! Though Israel fall to the Assyrians or Babylonians or anyone else ... God is still God! Though America become pagan or Mexican or Islamic or whatever ... God is still in control. He will yet eventually be exalted among the heathen!

Verse 10, often misunderstood, means just this: Be quiet, cease striving, hands off, desist, calm down! God has things under control! He will ultimately win the Battle! He will be exalted from sea to sea ... border to border ... all around the world!

Praise His Good Name!

It helps me just to think about His Might and Power and Future Plans!

                                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

THIS BIBLE STUDY HAS BEEN SO HELPFUL TO ME PERSONALLY! I DO THANK OUR GREAT GOD FOR PSALM 46. PREACH THE WORD!

 

 

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