Sunday School Material 10-17-10: God Provides Refuge
(Psalms 46:1-7; 10/17/10)
Introduction: A key idea in this Sunday School material is that God can be trusted to take care of His people, in spite of troubled times. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to trust God's care, in spite of our troubled times.
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Read Psalms 46:1-3
I. A Refuge. The writer talks about God being his refuge, strength, and help. He resolves not to fear what is going on in his life. Even though such awesome and troubling things like the earth being removed and mountains being carried into the midst of the sea may happen, he will not fear, because of his relationship with God. Selah means to rest or stop talking/singing for awhile.
- God's being our current refuge. Notice in vss. 1-2 of our Sunday School material that God is pictured as a current refuge and strength; therefore, fear doesn't have to be entertained. There are people who put so much trust in the protective walls and security systems of this world.
But God is more protective than a brinks armored truck and more secure than Fort Knox. If we can trust the things of this world then surely, we ought to trust God's strength and protection. Let's work on developing our faith in God's being our refuge and strength.
This kind on faith is nurtured by prayerfully studying and obeying God's word with the support of other believers. Notice that God is our refuge right now. We don’t have to wait until some future date, nor are we too late. He is our present help.
- Faith or fear. Notice in vss. 2-3 of our Sunday School material that circumstances can be more than terrible, but one can choose not to fear. The writer describes some frightening situations, but he resolves to not be afraid.
Faith in God and fear of circumstances cannot rule the same personality. Each believer must chose by which system he/she will be ruled. Let's work on being ruled by faith in God, instead of fear of circumstances.
Whatever we see, God can change it. However, no one can change God. Therefore, we should spend more energy on trusting God than being afraid of our circumstances.
Read Psalms 46:4-6
II. A River. God is pictured as being in a city. The city has plenty of clean water. God helps and provides for the city. Heathens were unable to conquer the city of God.
- Keep hope alive. Notice in vss. 4-6 of our Sunday School material that God has blessed plans for His people. Many scholars believe that the ultimate fulfillment of this text is in the yet awaited future (see Rev. 22).
However, it is good to know that God is not simply "playing things by ear" with our lives. He is not making it up as He goes along. God has a plan. God's plan includes our blessings. The river and streams associated with the city, in our text, are indications that God has fresh water, food, and jobs as parts of His plan.
Let's work on keeping our hope alive in God's plan. No matter what we see, God is still working things out for the good of His people. The ultimate fulfillment of God's plan will be in glory. But the thought of better days ahead can help us through the rough circumstances of our current day.
- Citizenship in the city. Notice in vss. 5-6 of our Sunday School material that enemies may endure, but God is greater than our enemies. Notice that even in the future, some enemies will try to cause trouble for the people of God.
But thank God, God is and shall remain able and willing to take care of His own. Since God can melt the earth with His voice, image what He can do with human enemies, bills that need to be paid, or even sickness and injuries to our bodies.
However, these promises are for those in the city of God. Let's make sure we are in the city of God, by accepting Jesus as our savior by faith. We should also work on witnessing and trying to get others in the city as well.
Read Psalms 46:7
III. A Reassurance. God is pictured as the Lord of host or commander of an army. He is also pictured as the God of Jacob. And yet God is the present refuge of the writer.
- Mindfulness. Notice in vs. 7 of our Sunday School material that the Lord of the army and God of Jacob is our present refuge. As vs. 7 is a significant repeat of vs. 1, sometimes we need to "say it again."
And as the word "selah" may well mean for the reader to pause or for the musician and singer to take a rest, we would do well to pause and meditate on the power of having such a great God as our current refuge.
If we are not careful, we will become so mindful of the dangers of this world that we are not mindful of the safety and power of our God. Let's work on staying mindful of God being our refuge.
Studying how God blessed Jacob and others can provide encouragement and inspiration for us today. God is the God of host or the army. He is not simply all talk and no action. At the right time, God can take care of all of our enemies.
Conclusion: Let's work on trusting God's care, in spite of our troubled times. God has much for those who obey His will.
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