Psalms 45–47: A King & A Refuge

Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 16: Wednesday

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth should change,
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.

Psalm 42:3–4

Today’s Bible reading of Psalms 45–47 gives us psalms of God’s majesty and power. M’Caw and Motyer title Psalm 45, A Royal Wedding Song, and write:

“This song of a royal marriage was almost certainly prompted by the ceremony of a Hebrew king marrying a foreign princess….

The song was included in the Psalter because it illustrated an idea which is frequently used in Scripture, viz., that the human marriage relationship is an echo, or at least an allegory, of the covenant relationship between God and His people. This same basic idea is carried over into the NT where the church is described as the Bride of Christ…”1

Psalm 47 is about God’s sovereignty over all the peoples and nations. As nations come against God’s people, Psalm 46 affirms that whatever may happen, God is our refuge and strength. The NASB translates verse 10 as cease striving rather than be still. From the context this phrase better captures the command:

Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:9–10

M’Caw and Motyer comment on verse 10:

“The moral of the psalm is plain: because the Lord is God, let all men cease their efforts to usurp His sovereignty.”2

Verse 10 has nothing to do with a command to participate in unbiblical meditation as some have claimed, but speaks to the nations who war against God. God is sovereign and for His people that means when the nations rise up, He is our fortress—as the psalmist concludes in verse 11.

“The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.”
Psalm 46:11


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Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
1, 2Leslie S. M’Caw and J. T. Motyer, “Psalms,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised,
D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., pp. 479–480.

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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