This Thanksgiving month we are going to be praying the Psalms to help us focus on the goodness of God. Homework will be lighter, and the study practical and powerful for our prayer lives.
This famous psalm, which inspired Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress,” never gets old. We need it now, more than ever — even if you are not faced with personal tumultuous events, as I know some of you are, we all need Psalm 46 right now. The world has gone crazy, violent, and, as Jesus said, is “full of trouble”… so if we forget God, we will be undone and overwhelmed with fears and anxiety.
Though we have done this psalm several times here, I have fresh insights and a short message from Mike Reeves, whom we have come to love here. Understanding the Hebrew behind the famous “Be still and know that I am God” helped me stop trying to control everyone in my life. Literally, “Be Still” is “Cease Striving.” And why? Because God is in control.
A little memory trick helps me remember the address of this verse. If you can remember that “The Mighty Fortress” Psalm is Psalm 46, then add up 4 and 6 to get 10. 46:10 is the heart of this Psalm.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. How have you seen God in your life this last week that demonstrates His control? Share and give thanks.
Monday: Background to Psalm 46
Growing up, when a catastrophe happened to another family, such as the death of an only child, my father would say: “That’s real trouble.” That helped put my minor troubles in perspective. When you read the background to Psalm 46, you can see how the “sons of Korah” were set apart to witness real trouble: an earthquake sent by God to swallow up their disobedient parents.
3. Read Numbers 16:1-3 and describe the sins of Korah and his allies.
4. Read Numbers 16:23-27 and describe why the Israelites, including the sons of Korah, were to move away from Korah, his allies, and families.
5. Read Numbers 16:28-35 and describe what Moses said and what the Lord did.
Once I was troubled by how God would wipe out whole communities, as he told Saul to do with the Amalekites. Next week an optional podcast will describe the background of the enemies of Israel and why God would want them all wiped out, even the children, so they did not continue in the sins of their fathers.
6. How can you see from this passage that despite the great trouble the sons of Korah witnessed, they also knew God was in control? How might this help you today?
Tuesday: 10 Minutes with Mike Reeves
7. Watch through Reeves’ reading of Psalm 46 and share what stood out to you.
Wednesday: Psalm 46
8. Read Psalm 46 out loud, concentrating, asking God to show you new things or to remind you of old things. What impressed you and why?
9. A closer look:
- Who wrote this Psalm? Significance?
- How does the Psalm begin? How has God been that for you – give one specific instance — recent, if possible.
- In the midst of great earthly upheavals, what does verse 4 tell us? What are some possibilities that this river might represent? (Reeves talks about the angelic military force that is for us. Also, see John 4:14)
- What do you learn from verses 5-7 that should comfort you? Has it? If so, give thanks.
- What are some things we should “behold” in verses 8-9?
- Meditate on verses 10-11. Why is God telling you this today?
Thursday: Finish Watching Mike Reeves
10. Share what stood out to you and why.
11. How did you handle his 1-minute exercise of being still and beholding God? Explain what you did. Did you struggle? What is the difference between reading and beholding?
Friday: The Fighting Song
Some sing “A Mighty Fortress” slowly and reverently, but that is not how it should be sung. I will always remember our daughter Sally singing it for the church after her dad had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, shaking her fist at Satan and all his angel armies. I looked earnestly for someone who sang it that way and nearly gave up until I heard this from Promise Keepers, though it is only the first verse.
Here are the lyrics to sing to the Lord and to meditate on. Did you know that Lord Saboath means “Lord of all the angels — good and bad. Mike Reeves said one of the rivers of God is all His military armies who are fighting for us.
1 A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
does seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.
2 Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God’s own choosing.
You ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same;
and he must win the battle.
3 And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God has willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.
4 That Word above all earthly powers
no thanks to them abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours
through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still;
12. Share what stands out to you and why.
13. Give thanks for what penetrated your heart.