Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Biblical Response to America's Tragedy, Part 2

Leslie Basham: When we're in a right relationship with God, everywhere we go is a place of safety. This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, October 2nd.

Over the last few weeks, we've begun to question things we once thought were secure. Are we safe in tall buildings, or airplanes, in our cities? Today we'll hear about where we can go to truly experience safety. We're setting aside our scheduled program, allowing Nancy to respond to the tragic events of September 11th. Let's join Nancy as she teaches a small group of women about our ultimate source of trust during times of fear and uncertainty.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: For the last three weeks, our nation has lived in a time of nationwide sadness and mourning and grief. There's a sense of upheaval. As I've talked with women, I've found that there are a lot of people in our country today who are feeling uneasy. But as we look into the Scripture, we see that there is a source of peace and rest--and would you believe joy--even in the midst of times of great sadness and upheaval.

We're looking this week at some passages of Scripture that can minister grace and peace to our hearts in times of upheaval. We began yesterday by looking at Psalm chapter 46. I want to pick up again in that psalm. The psalmist has said that God is our refuge; He's our strength; He's an abundantly available help in time of trouble. And then he went on to describe some of the natural and national disasters: earthquakes and floods and nations raging and wars. He says, in the midst of all this, "we will not fear," because "God is." Not only does God exist but He is, for those who put their trust in Him, a refuge. And He is an abundantly available help in times of trouble.

Now he goes on to say in verses 4,5 that "there is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn." The psalmist is describing here a time in Israel's history when the capital city, Jerusalem--the city of God, was under siege. In the midst of what he has already described as the earth being shaken, the mountains falling into the sea--this time of disaster and upheaval--it seems a little strange to our human minds that now in verse 4 he should talk about being glad. He has talked about the surging waters and waves of the ocean, like a tsunami, a tidal wave that has come in upon them. How can a person be glad at such a time? Well, the psalmist says there's a source of gladness in the midst of sadness.

"There is a river," he says, "whose streams shall make glad the city of God." Now if you know anything about Jerusalem, you know that there are no rivers in or near Jerusalem. So David is not talking about a natural river. But he's saying at times when the floods, the oceans, the waves beat in upon us, there's another source of water: there's a river. Really the presence of God is like a river that flows into our lives, that comes into the place where God dwells--and makes the people of God glad.

There's a contrast here between this river which is flowing smoothly and gently and is a source of refreshment and peace and gladness, contrasted with the verse before where it's talking about roaring and troubled waters. In times when the waters of our lives are roaring and troubled, we need to come back to that river of peace: the presence of God. That's what he says is this river: "God is in the midst of her." God is the river that flows through His people, and as result she will not be moved.

He goes on to say in verse 6, "The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; [God] uttered His voice, the earth melted." This verse says to me that God is not absent in the affairs of nations. Nations will do what they will. And by the way, this isn't the first time that there has been international world turmoil. Other generations have had to experience similar, and perhaps even worse, things. But in the midst of national and international upheaval, God is there. He is not absent. He utters His voice. He speaks into these times when nations are raging and kingdoms are being moved.

Then in verse 7 we have a chorus for this psalm. It's going to be repeated again in verse 11. The psalmist tells us "the LORD of hosts is with us"--Immanuel, God with us--it's the presence of Christ in the midst of the pressure, in the midst of the problems, in the midst of the storm. It's the presence of Immanuel that gives us peace. You see, it's the presence of God that makes all the difference in my life, in my world, and in our nation's life. He's our safe place.

You know, even if buildings collapse on us (by the way, you don't have to be in a 110-story building to have buildings collapse--this can happen in your home), are we to live with panic and terror, thinking there's no safe place in the world? No! There is one safe place, and it's in that strong high tower, the name of the Lord. In Him we are safe. And apart from Him there is no safety and no security.

Verse 8 of Psalm 46 tells us to "behold the works of the LORD, who has made desolations in the earth." Now that's a verse that has a lot of mystery attached to it. In what sense does God make desolations to come to pass? The answer is, we don't know. We don't understand. But there is some sense in which God not only superintends but brings to pass desolations in this world that are really the outworking of the curse on this fallen, sinful world. God's Word says if you eat the fruit, you will die. The soul that sins, it will surely die. It is appointed unto every man once to die, and after this the judgment. There are desolations in our world that are the outworking of the sinful choices that all of us have made, not just terrorists. All of us have made sinful, rebellious choices against the will of God. And we're reaping in our world the consequences of that rebellion.

But the God who makes desolations in the earth, according to verse 9 also stops the desolations. And we have here a wonderful promise in verse 9: "He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire." There's a promise here that one day there will be an end to all war. There will be an end to all desolation. God is redeeming our world. One day God will bring back all of this world and every creature in it into submission to Him.

So what are we to do in the meantime? Verse 10 tells us: "Be still." "Relax," one paraphrase puts it. Let go. Don't try to control. Don't try to figure everything out. Cease your striving. And sometimes we just need to stop our talking, to stop our trying to figure everything out.

"Be still." Have you been watching too much news recently? Do you find your mind getting distracted and that you can't think, you don't even know how to pray, you're feeling troubled? Then I say, turn off the television. Put down the newspaper. Get on your knees with God's Word open in front of you and be still. Listen to what God has to say. Remind yourself of the things that you know to be true. That's what He says here: "Be still, and know that I am God [I am still God]. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

Focus on the promises of God. Focus on the sure future we have that God will be exalted among all the nations. Focus on the character of God. Focus on the things that can never change, the things that are eternally true.

Focus on His final triumph. The last chapter has been written. We know how the story is going to end. We don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. We don't know what's going to happen next week in this war against terrorism. But we know what's going to happen in the end. God says, "I will be exalted." He reigns. He rules.

Focus on the presence of God. And here we have again the refrain, the chorus: "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge." You know, there is no human army, there is no human fortification, there are no weapons, there is no defense system that can make us safe. We cannot place our trust--and we all know it now--in buildings, in national symbols. I hope you're not trusting in the flag, or in our President, or in our military. We need to pray for our President. We need to thank the Lord for this country. But that's not where our trust can be. "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses," Psalm 20 tells us, "but we will remember the name of the LORD our God."

It's the presence of God in my life and in yours, if we are trusting in Him, that makes wherever I am a place of refuge. You know, even if the tallest building in the world falls on me or falls on you or falls on someone you love, if you are in Christ, you are safe--in the ultimate sense, the eternal issues of the soul, that are so much more important than those of the body.

So don't focus on the danger if you want to deal with fear. Instead, focus on Him. Focus on the presence of Christ in the midst of the danger. You know, as we feed faith, fear will disappear.

Let me say that in a time such as our nation is facing, it's so important that we not give in to fear--because when we do, we give the ultimate enemy, Satan, we hand him a weapon. We say, "You win. I give in to fear." But when we refuse to fear, when we say "we will not fear," when we trust in the name of the Lord our God, then we strip the enemy of his ultimate power. He is rendered powerless when we say "I will not fear." We land a decisive blow on the enemy through faith.

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss, reminding us that we can trust in God to be our ultimate protector. If you've found today's program to be a source of hope, why don't you give us a call and get a copy. It's part of a weeklong series called A Biblical Response to America's Tragedy. You can get the complete series on cassette for a suggested donation of $5. To order, call 1-800-569-5959. Or visit our Web site, ReviveOurHearts.com. And when you're on our Web site, check out the page that allows you to post prayer requests. If you have a special need during this time, let us know. You can also mail your requests to us. Send your letter to Revive Our Hearts.

Tomorrow Nancy will help us understand that our perspective on world events sometimes is different from God's perspective. There's great comfort knowing that He is in control. Now to close our time, here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So we have a God who is like a great, eternal bodyguard: our shield, our protector. We're reminded that nothing can touch us that does not first pass through His permission, His will. "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge."

Leslie Basham:  

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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