Soldier SihouetteWe live in a time when the possibility, indeed, the probability of war is hanging over us. This can be an unsettling thing, and we know from wars past a terrible thing. Wars and turmoil seem to be a recurring thing for us as humans, and, indeed, we know that wars have been a part of this world since the beginning. At times, men have hoped that something like the League of Nations or the United Nations might bring an end to wars and make peace the standard for the earth, yet it has never happened, and, as believers, we realize it never will happen as long as sin reigns in men’s hearts. But in these times of war and turmoil, I like to think of the fact that, quite apart from the United Nations and other efforts of men, we know that there will be a time when wars and turmoil will cease.

I think a very appropriate Psalm for this time in which we live and look forward to the possibility of war is Psalm 46. This is a song about war. Look what is said first in verse 1.

1. God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.

Isn’t it comforting to know that God will indeed be our hiding place and our strength no matter what difficulties may arise in the future?

2. Therefore we will not fear,
Though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3. Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.

At first read, this whole passage sounds like it is talking about finding comfort in God even in a terrible earthquake. The talk of mountains being carried into the midst of the sea makes us think of the old story that California may someday fall into the ocean, and the old joke that maybe we would all be better off if it did! But, ultimately, and from the context of the rest of the passage, I think we need to look further than to just finding comfort in God in an earthquake.

The fact is that mountains in the Bible are symbolic of governments, and seas are symbolic of the teaming masses of people on the earth. This passage therefore may not be talking about a literal earthquake, but a time of great turmoil and destruction and chaos among the governments and the peoples of the earth. Some great war is taking place, and governments are falling and people are in distress and there appears to be no solution in sight. Yet there is a solution, as we will see if we skip down to verse 8.

8. Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
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.

In our day, of course, we use guns instead of bows, missiles instead of spears, and tanks instead of chariots, but still we can easily understand what these verses are talking about. God will someday make all wars to end, and He will proceed to destroy all weapons built for war, no matter what they might be. We do not know when this day will come, and we certainly do not know if it will come in the midst of this war we are facing or not. Certainly this war doesn’t appear at the outset like it will be as terrible and tumultuous as some of the wars of the last century. But I still think it’s comforting to know that not forever will we have to face the possibility of wars and turmoil, but that someday God will bring an end to them.

10. Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

This passage gives us the words that God will speak to bring an end to this turmoil and war that were described in verses 2 and 3. I couldn’t help but notice the words, “Be still,” at the beginning of this verse. This reminds me of the story of Christ calming the sea. His disciples were afraid that their boat would be swamped and they would die, but all Christ did was to say, “Peace, be still!” and the wind ceased and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:39.) I believe that this miracle was a foreshadowing of this statement we just read in Psalm 46. Then, the Lord will say to the nations, “Be still,” and they will obey. Just as the wind and the sea obeyed His voice, so the warring nations will obey His voice in that future day, and, just like on the sea, there will be a great calm. What a day that will be!

As we gather here this morning to worship, let us thank the Lord that, although the day may not come during this current war we are facing, that someday, God will put an end to war and strife in our world. And let us also thank the Lord that He has already brought peace and calm to the turmoil of our own lives and hearts through salvation and the gift of His Son.