The Word Made Fresh
(For the worship leader: from the sons of Korah. A song according to “Alamoth”.)
1God is our refuge and strength
who is always near in troubled times.
2That is why we have no need to be afraid
even if this world collapses
and the mountains tumble into the sea,
3and even if the sea should rage and foam
and the mountains shake in the storm.
4There is a river whose streams make the city of God rejoice,
the sacred house of the highest.
5God is there and it shall not collapse.
God will quickly come to its aid.
6Even when the nations are alarmed and kingdoms are threatened,
God speaks and the earth is quieted.
7The LORD of all is with us.
The God of Jacob protects us.
8Come and observe what the LORD has done –
all the devastation the earth has undergone.
9God puts an end to all the wars on the earth.
The weapons are broken; the spears are shattered.
10“Be still, and you will know that I am God.
The nations praise me, and I am lifted up on the earth.”
11The LORD of armies is with us.
We are protected by the God of Jacob.
Superscription: the 4th of the Korahite psalms, this one according to “Alamoth,” which is likely the name of a tune or a reference to voices or instruments – the word may mean “young women,” which might explain the designation of this psalm as a “song.” The only other mention of “Alamoth” is at 1 Chronicles 15:20 which names the priests who were to play harps “according to Alamoth.”
1-3: As the 23rd Psalm is the best known of those ascribed to David, this one is the best known of those ascribed to the Korahites. Indeed, it is said that this is the second best known of all the psalms. It served as the inspiration for Luther’s great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” The sentiment expressed here is a beautiful affirmation of faith: even though the whole world is crumbling before our eyes, we can still rely on God.
4-5: The middle of the psalm seems to be a vision of how things will be. The “city of God” is obviously a reference to Jerusalem, but there is no river that runs through Jerusalem. The mention of a river gives these verses an apocalyptic flavor (see Revelation 22:1-2).
6-7: The first part of the psalm proclaimed God as a refuge in the midst of a great earthquake. These verses proclaim God as a refuge in the midst of threats from neighboring enemies.
8-11: As destructive as human beings can be, they are no match for the power of God. The psalmist imagines God looking down on human armies and bidding them to be still. Israel’s God has the power to protect and defend.
When you know that God is with you, every problem, every threat, every calamity is made manageable. Psalm 46 is a good way to start every day.