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Psalm 46 1
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. 6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. 7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. 8 Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the ends 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 will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

clip_image077Background

The sons of Korah sang the music in the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple was the house of God in Jerusalem. You can read more about the sons of Korah in Psalms 42-43 in this set of psalms. This Psalm was probably sung to the accompaniment of the harp.

Biblical Truths 2

Verses 1 – 3 This psalm has 11 verses. Many Bible students think that verse 7 should come three times, not twice. It should also be after verse 3. We are not sure what SELAH means. Perhaps it means a place for music, or a place to think and pray.

Verses 4 – 7 In the psalm, the city of God is Jerusalem. For us it means “the people of God”. The Most High is another name for God. In verse 5 we read “at break of day”. This is when they saw what the angel of the LORD had done in the night, look at 2 Kings 19:35 in The Story of Psalms 46, 47 and 48. In verse 6 “the nations” are people like the Assyrians. The loud noise was to frighten the people in Jerusalem. But the kingdoms that fell, because somebody destroyed them, did not include Jerusalem! In verse 7, “God of Jacob” is another name for “God of the Jews”. Because Jerusalem did not fall to Assyria, the psalmist wrote, “The LORD Almighty is with us”. He meant that God was fighting for Jerusalem.

Verses 8 – 11 Verse 8 tells us that God has done surprising things in the earth. These are things that not only surprise us (because we did not think that they would happen) but also make us a bit afraid. Verse 9 tells us that God stopped the war. Verse 10 tells us that God spoke to the people that were fighting just as a parent speaks to noisy children. (Noisy means “making a lot of noise”.) It is as if God said, “I am your leader. Stop all this noise”. The end of verse 10 means two things. In the time of the psalmist it meant that God would make people see that he was “the Most High”.

Items for Discussion

  • How does Psalm 46 address the concerns of humanity about war?
  • What is the element of faith being relied upon in this Psalm?
  • Does this Psalm mean that we should not fight for peace?
  • What is the role of mankind as described in this Psalm?

 

II Timothy 4:6-8
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Background

The second letter to Timothy was written by the Apostle Paul and it was written directly to Timothy. Paul was in prison (1:8), and had experienced a mass desertion by his associates and supporters from Asia (1:15). Onesiphorus, however, possibly from Asia, was one of the few who helped Paul in Rome; he traveled to Rome for this very reason. Most of Paul’s colleagues were not with him. Only Luke had stayed with Paul (4:9-16). A certain Alexander the metalworker gave Paul a hard time in Rome; it is not clear whether Alexander was a believer or not (4:14-15). At his first defense, no one came to Paul’s support (4:16). In general, Paul was having a tough time of it.

Paul wrote 2 Timothy was when he was in prison in Rome for the second time. Unlike his first imprisonment, Paul did not expect to be released from this second Roman imprisonment. (This explains why Paul experienced a mass desertion: his associates were fleeing a dangerous political situation.) The date of the composition of 2 Timothy was during Nero’s persecution of the church, c. 64-68.

Biblical Truths

Paul encourages Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, to entrust Paul’s teaching to reliable men and to endure hardship. Timothy is also to remember Jesus Christ rose from the dead and descended from David. This is Paul’s gospel, for which he is in chains, but the word of God is not chained. Paul says that he is willing to endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they may obtain salvation. Finally Paul gives Timothy a saying that is sure (2:11-13).

Just prior to our verses, Paul encourages Timothy to continue in the teachings of the Scriptures, 2 Timothy 3:14-17

  1. Which he learned from his childhood that makes him wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, 2 Timothy 3:15
  2. Which are the inspired Word of God to be used for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16
  3. Which equip him for every good work, 2 Timothy 3:17
  4. Which he is charged to preach and use to correct, rebuke, and encourage carefully with patience, 2 Timothy 4:1,2
  5. Because the time was coming when people would not stand for sound doctrine but would gather around false teachers who would tell them what they want to hear, 2 Timothy 4:3,4

Paul encourages Timothy in such situations to keep his head and carry out the duties of his ministry, 2 Timothy 4:5

For Paul’s time to die was near. He had fought this good fight and now looked forward to the crown of righteousness which the Lord would award him, 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Items for Discussion

  • Paul talks about two strategies for filling a church. What would be wrong with preaching what people want to hear?
  • If the purpose of church is not just to fill it with people, what should we expect to find in a purpose-driven church?
  • Why is Paul saying that it is better to fight correctly than to win incorrectly?
  • Look at these attributes: correcting, rebuking, and carefully encouraging with patience. Why is this good advice for a church to follow?

Discussion Challenge

  • Is Paul saying that it is better to have a small church that tells it like it is rather than a big church that makes people feel great and close to God? If yes, how does a church walk the line and not stray to either side? If no, how do you prepare a church for the fact that it may never grow?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. http://www.easyenglish.info/psalms/psalm046-048-taw.htm
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