In the beginning, God created a world of order out of chaos (Genesis 1:1-2). But in Psalm 46, God’s order seems to have spiraled into disorder. Instead of waters that respect their boundaries and mountains that stand firm, seas surge beyond their shores and cause the mountains to quake and shatter into foamy waves (Psalm 46:2-3). Nations and political powers are also devolving; civilizations quake and topple into anarchy (Psalm 46:6). The waves of chaos threaten to swallow up all order. An apocalypse threatens to undo God’s world and God’s people.
But the psalmist is unshaken in his trust of God. He hides in God like a fortress. He draws comfort from knowing that God is with him and protecting him (Psalm 46:7, 11). God is his refuge and present help (Psalm 46:1). In response, God raises his voice over the noise of natural and political chaos and commands them to be still (Psalm 46:9-10). And both disordered nature and nations obey God’s voice. The earth melts into submission, weapons of violence are broken, and wars are ended.
In their place, God builds a city by calm and peaceful streams and lives there with his people (Psalm 46:4). While mountains quake, seas rage, and nations war, the city of God does not topple because God is there protecting his people (Psalm 46:5-6).
Where is the Gospel?
The voice that all obey is the voice of Jesus. When Jesus’ disciples were caught in the waves of a storm, Jesus was their help. With one command, “Be still,” his voice calmed the chaos around them (Mark 4:37-41). In Jesus, the voice of God becomes human. Jesus rules over the chaos we experience in creation and secures peace for those who are near him.
And when Jesus died on the cross, he absorbed the violence of nations and the undoing of creation. In his destruction the sky grew dark, the earth trembled, and people were freed from death itself (Matthew 27:26, 51-52). In rising from death, Jesus shows he’s more powerful than nations that wield the chaos of death. He intends to replace their rule with divine order and eternal life (Acts 2:31; Revelation 11:15). God’s people do not need to be afraid because Jesus is our fortress. His voice is more powerful than the violence, death, and chaos nations create.
And Jesus is coming soon to build the city of God as prophesied by the psalmist (Revelation 22:1-2). Heaven will have no natural or national chaos (Revelation 21:1). No matter what storms ravage the world, Jesus promises to bring his people to the city where they will be safe and God will live with them forever.
See for Yourself
I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see the God who puts chaos into order. And may you see Jesus as the voice above all powers and the refuge of those who come to him.