Oct. 21, 2019
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
— Psalm 46:1-3 (ESV)
Often in Scripture, when "the earth gives way," it is a sign of God's presence—or of His wrath. When God gave the Ten Commandments at Sinai, He descended on the mountain in fire and "the whole mountain trembled greatly" (Exodus 19:18b). When the Lord was angry, David said, "the earth reeled and rocked" (2 Samuel 22:8a).
The earth beneath our feet is not supposed to move, but sometimes it does, with terrifying results. Earthquakes are not the only life-shattering events we experience. Events in the world around us such as war, terrors, natural disasters, and economic crises threaten the foundations on which we build. When we or our loved ones are struck down by illness, financial hardship, loss, or grief, we feel shattered and unsettled, without a safe place to stand.
When "the earth gives way," the God who made His presence known with earthquakes is the one sure and certain place of safety. He is a refuge, a place to hide, the strong foundation on which to stand. He is the One who is present to help and sustain us. The psalmist repeats the refrain, "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress" (Psalm 46:10). God is the Lord of hosts, the Lord of the armies of heaven. Though we may rightly fear raging nations and tottering kingdoms, the Lord of hosts thunders at earth-bound, warring nations: "Be still, and know that I am God!" (Psalm 46:11).
In Jesus "all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell" (Colossians 1:19b). The mighty God who shook Sinai with His presence took on our human flesh. The Sea of Galilee once roared and foamed around Jesus' frightened disciples, threatening to overwhelm them. They called on Jesus to save them and the Lord of hosts commanded the wind and water, "Be still!" (Mark 4:39b). Then, for the sake of our salvation, the mighty Lord allowed the world's roaring, foaming evil to overcome Him. He was nailed to a cross, offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. He suffered, died, and was buried. But on the third day after His death, an earthquake shattered the first Easter, as an angel rolled away the stone to reveal Jesus' empty tomb. Jesus has risen from the dead! Sin, death, and the devil lie crushed beneath the nail-scarred feet of the Lord of hosts.
To the fear, guilt, and shame that rise up to "roar and foam" in our lives, the crucified and risen Lord speaks His powerful, commanding Word: "Be still!" We have a safe place to stand. Securely sheltered by His love and power, "we will not fear though the earth gives way."
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, during life-shattering events, and at all times, be our refuge and strength, our present help in every trouble. Say to the things that alarm us, "Be still!" Amen.
- Have you ever witnessed a notable display of the earth's forces?
- Do you ever think, really, about the earth coming apart, giving way?
- Does God's power to physically impact the earth—and by extension the universe-come to bear in the way you approach Him or relate to Him?
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Have you ever witnessed a notable display of the earth's forces?