40-Day Fast: Devotional for Day 23

God’s Promise: I Am with You!

Thursday, April 9, 2020
Devotional for Day 23

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved. Be still, and know that I am God. The Lord of hosts is with us. - Psalm 46: 1-2, 4-5, 10-11 (ESV)

It might seem like our whole world is falling apart around us. We are facing uncertain times; a pandemic, an uncertain market, isolation from friends and family, a shortage of medical supplies, to name a few. These realities cause real fear. It was in the middle of a similar upheaval that the psalmist wrote the words of Psalm 46. In the midst of disaster, the psalmist reminds the people that they do not have to fear because God promises to be present. When our world seems to be collapsing, we are offered the hope of turning our eyes to the God who promises “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The psalmist goes on to say that there is a river whose streams make glad the city of God. Interestingly Jerusalem doesn’t have a river, only an underground stream. However, the Bible does tell of a time when Jerusalem will have a river flowing through the middle of the city. John, in the book of Revelation, has a vision of the new Jerusalem in new heavens and the new earth. In his vision, a loud voice coming from the throne of God, told him that God will be with them. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore. Then an angel showed John the river of life flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the city. What a beautiful picture of hope! In the midst of pain, suffering, and death, God has promised to be with us and to eventually overcome these things. We do not need to fear, because like the underground stream in Jerusalem that becomes a river flowing through the center of the city, faith in God gives us a deep reservoir of resources for these uncertain days we are facing. 

The psalm closes with “Be still and know that I am God.” One day Jesus went with His disciples on a boat to the other side of the sea of Galilee. Jesus, after a long day of ministering to great crowds of people, was sleeping when a storm, strong enough to terrify seasoned fisherman, began to batter the boat. The disciples woke Jesus in a panic, fearful that they would all drown. Jesus first turned to the storm and told it to “be still” and it obeyed. Then He turned to the disciples and asked, “why were you afraid?” The disciples wondered “who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” The God who rules over nature is with you. The realities of life can be overwhelming, daunting and scary, but nothing is outside God’s control and He is with you. When you are scared and anxious, you can call on Him who has promised to be with you.

Eternal God, we thank You for always, always being with us. Guide our feet as our steps take us into an unknown future. Give us confidence in Your presence and Your faithfulness. We rest in You, Jesus.Amen. 

Laurel Copp
Ministry Fellow, Christian Union Libertas

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