We all know and love Psalm 46. It is definitely one of the more familiar psalms from the Psalter. When we hear a familiar psalm over and over, sometimes the meaning of the words and statements contained in that psalm can escape us. Take, for instance, the latter half of verse seven. The God of (a cheating scoundrel) is our refuge!
Jacob was a cheating scoundrel; the kind of person you would not want to have a financial relationship with. Jacob had cheated his brother and his uncle. Both men vowed to get their revenge on the cheat, Jacob. God, however, would not let that happen. God quelled the fierce anger of Laban, Jacob's uncle, and Esau, Jacob's brother, welcomed him in peace.
The good news today is that God indeed is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. We may call upon God when we are in any kind of trouble, even when we are the ones who have caused our own trouble. The God of a cheating scoundrel is our refuge. Do not fear, fellow sinner. God is your refuge, too.
Gracious God, you saved Jacob from the fierce anger of his brother, Esau, and his uncle, Laban. Be my refuge when I am in any kind of trouble, whether from enemies outside of me, or from my own sinfulness. Amen.
Psalm 46 (NRSV)
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.
6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth."
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah