Psalm 46:1 - God Is Our Refuge, Strength And Ever-Present Help.

Psalm 46:1 - God Is Our Refuge, Strength And Ever-Present Help.

Psalm 46:1 (NKJV) God is our refuge and strength, A very present 
help in trouble.  

Psalm 46:1 (NIRV) God is our place of safety. He gives us 
strength. He is always there to help us in times of trouble.  


PSALMS 46-48 are hymns of praise, celebrating deliverance from 
some great foe. Psalm 46 may have been written when the Assyrian army 
invaded the land and surrounded Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:13-19:37). [Life 
Application SB] 

Psalms 46, 47, and 48 belong together. They had their origin in 
the great national deliverance when Judaea, under King Hezekiah, was 
delivered from Sennacherib (2 Kings 18-19). Prophetically, they look ahead 
to the result of the coming of the glorious King of Kings. [New 
Pilgrim SB] 

PSALM 46 God Is A Mighty Fortress For His People

Psalm 46, which inspired Martin Luther to write "A Mighty 
Fortress Is Our God," is the first of a trilogy (Ps. 46; 47; 48) of 
praise psalms. The historical occasion of all three might very well 
have been God's miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from the armies 
of King Sennacherib of Assyria during the reign of Hezekiah, c. 701 
B.C. [Believer's SB] 

Psalm 46 has been designated Luther's Psalm, because the great 
Reformer, who was accustomed to singing it in time of trouble, paraphrased 
it in his hymn, "A Mighty Fortress," ... Three stanzas practically 
equal in length, with refrain and Selah appropriately placed, present 
pictures involving striking contrasts: roaring waters and rocking 
mountains, and a quiet river; nations in turmoil, and the earth melting at 
the voice of the Lord; the desolation of war, and God ruling quietly 
above the nations. After a notable victory in the days of Jehoshaphat, 
the Israelites sang this hymn (see PK 201-203). Ps.46, 47, 48 are 
closely related in thought and probably share the same background. [SDA 
Bible Commentary] 

Psalm 46 is a glorious confession of God's power, care, help, 
and love. This psalm led Martin Luther to compose the magnificent 
hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." The threefold statement of God 
as a refuge or a fortress (vv. 1, 7, 11) depicts Him as the one who 
takes care of our needs in times of trouble; He is our help. God is 
majestic but also present. The Psalm is a celebration of God's presence 
with His people. The structure of the song falls into three parts 
(vv. 1-3, 4-7, and 8-11) divided by the "Selah." It is conceivable 
that the hymn was composed by a priest shortly after the liberation 
of Jerusalem in 701 B.C. from Sennacherib. [Andrews SB] 

Psalm 46 was Martin Luther's basis for the Reformation hymn "A 
Mighty Fortress Is Our God." The poem has three movements, each 
indicated by the closing word Selah, a musical notation perhaps indicating 
a musical interlude (vv. 3, 7, 11).... The structure of the psalm is 
as follows: (1) a celebration of God as our defense even though the 
earth is moved (vv. 1-3); (2) a celebration of God as our defense even 
though the nations rage (vv. 4-7); (3) a celebration of God as our 
defense even when the Lord brings His judgment (vv. 8-11). [Nelson SB] 

This psalm of trust and thanksgiving focuses on the God of 
Israel, their refuge (Psalm 46:1-3); the city of God, their security 
(Psalm 46:4-7); and the deliverance of God, their peace (Psalm 
46:8-11). Although the invasion of Israel by Sennacherib during the reign 
of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:13-19:37) may form the historical 
background for this psalm, it seems to anticipate Psalm 47, which is a song 
of God's kingship, and thus ultimately refers to the millennial 
reign of Christ. [Ryrie SB] 

   Some Bible students believe that this psalm was written in 
connection with the dramatic deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrians (2 
Kings 18-20). This song was the inspiration for Martin Luther's "A 
Mighty Fortress Is Our God," and it can be an inspiration to you 
   When things are changing and threatening around you, focus 
your attention on God. He is with you (His presence); He is a refuge 
(His protection); He helps you (His power). Your world may be shaken 
with convulsions (vv. 2-3), but He has a river to give you peace 
(v.4). You maybe in the midst of battles, but He will end the war 
victoriously (vv. 8-9). 
   "Be still" (v. 10) means "take your hands off, relax." God 
knows what He is doing, and His timing is perfect (v.5). When It is 
all over, He will be exalted (v. 10), and you will be blessed. 
[Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary by Warren Wiersbe] 


Refuge provides a shelter from danger. Strength gives us courage 
in danger. Very Present Help. Can also have the idea of 
"well-proved help." God's help is both present and proven, ready and 
reliable. [Ryrie SB] 

Refuge in this verse means "shelter." The word "refuge" in Psalm 
46:7, 11, is stronger, meaning an impregnable high fortress. Very 
Present Help. The modifier "very" in this verse is a strong word, 
indicating that God is an intensively present helper for His people in 
times of trouble. [Defender's SB] 

The phrase "very present" emphasize the speed, completeness, and 
might of the Lord's help. [Classical SB] 


God is almighty and all-powerful. Psalm 46 says "God's voice 
thunders, and the earth melts" (46:6). God has far greater power than even 
the most powerful forces of nature (46:2-3) or of humankind (46:6, 
9). [The One Year Through the Bible Devotional by Dave Veerman] 

This verse is a striking statement of God's power and 
sovereignty, two intimately related ideas. Such lofty ideas have great 
practical application. God has power and authority to help us out of any 
trouble anytime, anywhere. [Disciple SB] 


   John Henry Jowett gives us this paradox: "The good Lord makes 
a dry experience the fountain of blessing."  
   In our experience of life, we see this paradox time and time 
again: that in the hardest times we can experience the greatest sense 
of God at work. Having observed this, Jowett writes, "Let us 
therefore not fear when the path turns into the wilderness."  
   Into the wilderness! Sometimes it may feel as if the path is 
turning into an unknown, scary place. Stability and security are 
elusive. Health problems, for example, can bring financial and emotional 
pressure. We are all tragically vulnerable. We long to protect our loved 
ones and to stand strong, but we realize that so much is out of our 
hands. Unforeseen events can trump our best-laid plans.  
   Jowett says, "Let us not fear.... The Lord had manna for the 
children of disappointment.... He makes water gush forth from the rock. I 
shall find lilies of peace in the lonely valley of humiliation."  
   Faith knows that the God of love will still be with us, no 
matter what lies ahead.  
   Yet we are human, and we respond as humans to disappointments 
and calamities. So how do we change our anxieties and fears into 
   Jowett advises remembering God's past faithfulness. "Nothing 
so quickens hope as a journey among our yesterdays. The heart lays 
aside its fears. Now I see why the New Testament is so urgent in the 
matter of praise. Without praise, many other virtues and graces cannot 
be born. Without praise they have no breath of life. Praise 
quickens a radiant company of heavenly presences, and among them is the 
shining spirit of hope."  
   When I look at the future, Lord, I have all sorts of fears. 
Your Word urges me to have faith, but I dread having to go through 
really rough times! Father in heaven, help me to see through your eyes 
and trust you.  
   God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times 
of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the 
mountains crumble into the sea. Psalm 46:1, 2, NLT [The One Year Book of 
Encouragement by Harold Myra] 


   Philip Yancey illustrates from the life of Bishop Desmond 
Tutu the necessity of praying when our spirits are battered by 
grievous events. For two years, Bishop Tutu chaired the Truth and 
Reconciliation Commission hearings in South Africa. He heard endless horror 
stories of gruesome beatings, torture, and "necklacing" with burning 
tires. The tales of the atrocities would numb anyone's soul.  
   When asked why he prayed, Bishop Tutu gave this response: "If 
your day starts off wrong, it stays skewed. What I've found is that 
getting up a little earlier and trying to have an hour of quiet in the 
presence of God, mulling over some Scripture, supports me. I try to have 
two, three hours of quiet per day ... when I go on the treadmill for 
thirty minutes, I use that time for intercession."  
   Yancey says that Tutu would then put on his judicial 
commission robes and try to bring truth and reconciliation to the land.  
   What we face each day has its own pressures and 
discouragements, even if they don't compare to the terrible stories from 
post-apartheid South Africa. We have the same opportunity as Bishop Tutu to 
seek that hour of quiet in God's presence or to pray as we exercise 
or wait in line. We bring our own prayer requests, confession, and 
praise as we deal with raw experiences.  
   Philip writes, "The musician Bono once asked Tutu how he 
managed to find time for prayer and meditation. Tutu replied, 'What are 
you talking about? Do you think we'd be able to do this stuff if we 
   Lord, you know both what has discouraged me in the past and 
what I now must deal with. Fill me with your Spirit, I pray. Enable 
me to have compassion without burnout, equipped for the battles 
   God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times 
of trouble. Psalm 46:1, NLT [The One Year Book of Encouragement by 
Harold Myra] 

   While engaged in our daily work, we should lift the soul to 
heaven in prayer. These silent petitions rise like incense before the 
throne of grace; and the enemy is baffled. The Christian whose heart is 
thus stayed upon God cannot be overcome. No evil arts can destroy his 
peace. All the promises of God's word, all the power of divine grace, 
all the resources of Jehovah, are pledged to secure his deliverance. 
It was thus that Enoch walked with God. And God was with him, a 
present help in every time of need.... {GW 254.2}   
   Prayer is the breath of the soul. It is the secret of 
spiritual power. No other means of grace can be substituted, and the 
health of the soul be preserved. Prayer brings the heart into immediate 
contact with the Well-spring of life, and strengthens the sinew and 
muscle of the religious experience. Neglect the exercise of prayer, or 
engage in prayer spasmodically, now and then, as seems convenient, and 
you lose your hold on God. The spiritual faculties lose their 
vitality, the religious experience lacks health and vigor.  {GW 254.4}   
   It is only at the altar of God that we can kindle our tapers 
with divine fire. {GW 255.1}   


   In C. S. Lewis's The Horse and His Boy, Bree (the horse) and 
Shasta (the boy) were chased through the night by a terrifying lion. 
They found out much later in the story that the lion was the good 
Aslan, who was actually guiding them, protecting them, and spurring 
them on in their journey. His terrifying presence was really their 
   That's often how we experience God. When we're in trouble, He 
seems distant. That's because we hold an underlying assumption that 
hardship is a sign of His having abandoned us. Our minds know that isn't 
true, but our hearts say otherwise. God seems far away when we're 
   This psalm promises the opposite - that He is very present 
when we need Him most. He was present in delivering Israel out of 
Egypt, through the wilderness, and into the Promised Land. He was 
present in delivering Peter from Herod's grasp and Paul and Silas out of 
a Philippian prison. But He was also present in the troubles of 
Jacob as he and God wrestled, in the painful words of the prophets, 
and in the trauma of the Cross. His Presence is often for our rescue 
but also often for difficult correction, teaching, or transitions. 
Either way, He is there for our good.  
   God is your refuge and strength - a refuge to protect you and 
a strength to help you overcome. Both defense and offense. Even 
when you are wrestling with Him, He is there to preserve and empower. 
The times you think He has departed from you are often the times He 
is most powerfully present. Whatever hardship you are struggling 
with, He is in it - guiding you, protecting you, and spurring you on 
in your journey.  
   Lord, I depend on You - even when You seem far away. I know 
You are with me in every circumstance, no matter how difficult or 
traumatic. Please let me experience You as a very present help in trouble. 
[The One Year Experiencing God's Presence Devotional by Chris 

Haunted By God?
   What are you haunted by? You will say--By nothing, but we are 
all haunted by something, generally by ourselves, or, if we are 
Christians, by our experience. The Psalmist says we are to be haunted by 
God. The abiding consciousness of the life is to be God, not thinking 
about Him. The whole of our life inside and out is to be absolutely 
haunted by the presence of God. A child's consciousness is so 
mother-haunted that although the child is not consciously thinking of its 
mother, yet when calamity arises, the relationship that abides is that 
of the mother. So we are to live and move and have our being in 
God, to look at everything in relation to God, because the abiding 
consciousness of God pushes itself to the front all the time. 
   If we are haunted by God, nothing else can get in, no cares, 
no tribulation, no anxieties. We see now why Our Lord so emphasized 
the sin of worry. How can we dare be so utterly unbelieving when God 
is round about us? To be haunted by God is to have an effective 
barricade against all the onslaughts of the enemy. 
   "'His soul shall dwell at ease." In tribulation, 
misunderstanding, slander, in the midst of all these things, if our life is hid 
with Christ in God, He will keep us at ease. We rob ourselves of the 
marvelous revelation of this abiding companionship of God. "God is our 
Refuge"- nothing can come through that shelter. [My Utmost for His 
Highest by Oswald Chambers re Ps. 25:12] 

Ever-Present Help
   Covenant blessings are not meant to be looked at only, but to 
be appropriated. Even our Lord Jesus is given to us for our present 
use. Believer, thou dost not make use of Christ as thou oughtest to 
do. When thou art in trouble, why dost thou not tell Him all thy 
grief? Has He not a sympathizing heart, and can He not comfort and 
relieve thee? No, thou art going about to all thy friends, save thy best 
Friend, and telling thy tale everywhere except into the bosom of thy 
Lord. Art thou burdened with this day's sins? Here is a fountain 
filled with blood: use it, saint, use it. Has a sense of guilt returned 
upon thee? The pardoning grace of Jesus may be proved again and 
again. Come to Him at once for cleansing. Dost thou deplore thy 
weakness? He is thy strength: why not lean upon Him? Dost thou feel naked? 
Come hither, soul; put on the robe of Jesus' righteousness. Stand not 
looking at it, but wear it. Strip off thine own righteousness, and thine 
own fears too: put on the fair white linen, for it was meant to 
wear. Dost thou feel thyself sick? Pull the night-bell of prayer, and 
call up the Beloved Physician! He will give the cordial that will 
revive thee. Thou art poor, but then thou hast "a kinsman, a mighty man 
of wealth." What! wilt thou not go to Him, and ask Him to give thee 
of His abundance, when He has given thee this promise, that thou 
shalt be joint heir with Him, and has made over all that He is and all 
that He has to be thine? There is nothing Christ dislikes more than 
for His people to make a show-thing of Him, and not to use Him. He 
loves to be employed by us. The more burdens we put on His shoulders, 
the more precious will He be to us. [Morning and Evening by Charles 
H. Spurgeon] 


   I am your Refuge and Strength, an ever-present Help in 
trouble. Therefore, you don't need to be afraid of anything ~ not even 
cataclysmic circumstances. The media are increasingly devoted to 
fear-inducing subject matter: terrorism, serial killers, environmental 
catastrophes. If you focus on such dangers and forget that I am your Refuge in 
all circumstances, you will become increasingly fearful. Every day I 
manifest My grace in countless places and situations, but the media take 
no notice. I shower not only blessings but also outright miracles 
on your planet. 
   As you grow closer to Me, I open your eyes to see more and 
more of My Presence all around you. Things that most people hardly 
notice, like shifting shades of sunlight, fill you with heart-bursting 
Joy. You have eyes that see and ears that hear, so proclaim My 
abiding Presence in the world. (Psa. 46:1-3; 89:15) [Jesus Calling by 
Sarah Young] 

   Softly I announce My Presence. Shimmering hues of radiance 
tap gently at your consciousness, seeking entrance. Though I have 
all Power in heaven and on earth, I am infinitely tender with you. 
The weaker you are, the more gently I approach you. Let your 
weakness be a door to My Presence. Whenever you feel inadequate, remember 
that I am your ever-present Help. 
   Hope in Me, and you will be protected from depression and 
self-pity. Hope is like a golden cord connecting you to heaven. The more 
you cling to this cord, the more I bear the weight of our burdens; 
thus, you are lightened. Heaviness is not of My kingdom. Cling to 
hope, and My rays of Light will reach you through the darkness. (Psa. 
46:1; Rom. 12:12; 15:13) [Jesus Calling by Sarah Young] 

   Seek My face, and you will find not only My Presence but also 
My Peace. To receive My Peace, you must change your grasping, 
controlling stance to one of openness and trust. The only thing you can 
grasp without damaging your soul is My hand. Ask My Spirit within you 
to order your day and control your thoughts, for the mind 
controlled by the Spirit is - Life and Peace. 
   You can have as much of Me and My Peace as you want, through 
thousands of correct choices each day. The most persistent choice you face 
is whether to trust Me or to worry. You will never run out of 
things to worry about, but you can choose to trust Me no matter what. I 
am an ever-present help in trouble. Trust Me, though the earth give 
way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. (Rom. 8:6; 
Psalm 46:1-2) [Jesus Calling by Sarah Young] 

   I am a very present and well-proved help in trouble. My 
Presence is always with you, but I am very present in times of distress. 
Because you are a member of My royal family - a citizen of My heavenly 
kingdom - I am committed to caring for you. During stressful times, your 
heart may race and your adrenaline level may soar. These physiological 
changes can block your awareness of My Presence. So it's vital at such 
times to remind yourself: "Jesus is here with me; in fact, He is very 
present with me in this hard situation." Then, take some slow, deep 
breaths so you can relax enough to connect with Me and draw strength 
from Me.  
   Biblical history has many examples of My faithfulness during 
times of trouble. World history - including current events - also 
contains proof of My powerful Presence. You won't hear of this in secular 
news reports, but I continue to do miracles in your world. Moreover, 
as you look back over the years of your own life, you will see many 
instances of My meeting your needs in hard times. Since I am such a 
well-proved Help, you can trust Me to help you now! (Psa. 46:1; Jos. 4:23; 
Jude 24, 25) [Jesus Today by Sarah Young]   

   A thankful attitude opens windows of heaven. Spiritual 
blessings fall freely onto you through those openings into eternity. 
Moreover, as you look up with a grateful heart, you get glimpses of Glory 
through those windows. You cannot yet live in heaven, but you can 
experience foretastes of your ultimate home. Such samples of heavenly fare 
revive your hope. Thankfulness opens you up to these experiences, which 
then provide further reasons to be grateful. Thus, your path becomes 
an upward spiral: ever increasing in gladness.  
   Thankfulness is not some sort of magic formula; it is the 
language of Love, which enables you to communicate intimately with Me. A 
thankful mind-set does not entail a denial of reality with its plethora 
of problems. Instead, it rejoices in Me, your Savior, in the midst 
of trials and tribulations. I am your refuge and strength, an 
ever-present and well-proved help in trouble. (Hab. 3:17, 18; Psa. 46:1) 
[Jesus Calling by Sarah Young] 


The fear of mountains or cities suddenly crumbling into the sea 
as the result of an earthquake or a nuclear blast haunts many 
people today. But the psalm writer says that even if the world were to 
end, we need not fear. In the face of utter destruction, the writer 
expressed a quiet confidence in God's ability to save him. It seems 
impossible to consider the end of the world without becoming consumed by 
fear, but the Bible is clear - God is our refuge even in the midst of 
total destruction. He is not merely a temporary retreat; he is our 
eternal refuge and can provide strength in any circumstance. [Life 
Application SB] 


Do Not Fear by Shawn Boonstra: 


A Mighty Fortress Is Our God - Martin Luther: 

A Mighty Fortress - Steve Green: 

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God - Jaime Jorge: 

A Mighty Fortress is our God: 


Seeking God Video Clip: http://vimeo.com/31489782

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