Monday, 23 December 2013

Psalm 46 - The Mighty One on the side of the righteous, amid earth's sorest throes.

Before the dawn of that day of the Bridegroom and the Bride, the Marriage-feast, earth shall shake with commotions;wars, rumours of wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilence, all combining to make men perplexed.

But here we find the same Mighty One giving strength to his own in these perilous times.

The title is peculiar, "on Alamoth" suggesting "a choir of virgins," as if this Virgin-choir were selected to sing a Psalm that tells of perils and fears and alarms abounding, in order to show that even the feeble virgins may in that day sing without dread because of The Mighty One on their side.

They and the "Sons of Korah" join in this lofty strain of confidence. We all know how Luther used to sing this Psalm in times of peril and alarm, and many have done the line in all  ages.

They sing of the LORD, a very present help, or more literally: He is found a help most truly, being the same word here as in 1 Sam 13:16, present with Saul, 2 Chron 35:18, Judah and Israel present, or found at their post; and 1 Sam 21:3, whatever is present - is at hand. He has proved himself to be a help at hand.

The river in verse 4 alludes to the Euphrates of Babylon and the Tigris of Assyria. Jerusalem has no such mighty floods to boast of. Yet Jerusalem has a river too. She has her waters of Siloah, flowing softly from her Temple (Isaiah 8:6-7), which may be despised by men of might, yet are Jerusalem's glory.

Her glory is, that the LORD is in her Temple, from beneath whose rock flows out Siloah; and thus "a river is there, that gladdens this city of God."

Or if this is not the primary reference, the allusion is to this same Siloah when it shall flow from the Temple (Joel 3:18, Isaiah 33:221, Ezek 48:1-16), and shall heal whatever it laves; far excelling the mighty waters of Euphrates and Hiddekel, which bear the proud gallies of tyrants.

Victory shall come as soon as the Lord's set time arrives; "when morning appears" as at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:27). The Lord himself shall invite men to see his victory: come and see! (v), and to hear Him proclaim his own right to exaltation. At this announcment, his people shout in reply, v7 and v11, each marked (like v5) by the "Selah"

"The Lord of hosts is with us!"
"The God of Jacob is our refuge!" (v2)

Thus setting forth: The Mighty One on the side of the righteous, amid earth's sorest throes.

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