By Meg Bucher, Crosswalk.com
“God is with her she will not fall,” (Psalm 46:5)
This is a verse popularly taken out of context. Though it does define strength in hard circumstances, the source is not of this earth. Part of a song that worships God for His strength and protection, “God is with her she will not fall” is meant to give all glory to God. The prose which inspired Martin Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” is a song of hope which encourages and reminds God’s people to place their confidence in Him amidst a threatening and dangerous world.
What Is the Meaning of 'God Is with Her She Will Not Fall' in Psalm 46?
“God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.” Psalm 46:5 NAS
There are many names of God in the Bible. The one used in Psalm 46:5 is Elohiym, true God. He rules, He reigns, He is our Creator. God with her is translated midst in the NAS version. The original Hebrews means amidst, as a seat and faculty of thought and emotion. In Christ, the Living God lives in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God in us and with us and reigning over all we see and live through means we cannot be shaken or moved.
Psalms 46-48 “express confidence in the security of God’s people in the midst of a threatening world,” the NIV Study Bible notes explain, “Psalm 46 and 48 focus on the security of Jerusalem, ‘the city of God,’ and Psalm 47 on the worldwide reign of 'the great King,’ (47:2) whose royal city Jerusalem is (48:2).” The world in Scripture sometimes refers to God’s creation or God’s people, but in other instances refers to the sinful realm ruled by Satan against God, in an attempt to trip us up and shake us. But this song worships the God who is bigger than any evil that can come up against us in this world, obviously or deceitfully. God upholds, supports, and strengthens us to withstand temptation and trials on this earth, but also fuels us forward on a mission for His heavenly Kingdom as adopted sons and daughters of God through Christ Jesus.
What Is the Overall Background and Context of Psalm 46?
“God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46:1-3 NIV
Psalm 46 isn’t focused on the strength of a single woman or even person. Its focus is on the strength of God and all of His people, in particular, the city of Jerusalem (the King’s City) when He comes (Moody). This Old Testament Hymn sings of God’s sovereignty over human circumstances. It sings of Jerusalem, the city of God, and the hopeful coming of God’s Kingdom on earth. “Psalm 46:1-6 speaks to God as our fortress,” Stephanie Englehart explains, “He is described as our refuge and help in time of need (Psalm 46:1-2), a river that provides joy and gladness for His chosen people (Psalm 46:4), and is present with us- helping and holding the whole earth in His hands (Psalm 46: 5-6).
The Psalm was most likely written before the exile of God’s people, but in the midst of a threatening world, it gave them hope to remember their ultimate security is found in God. The break of day referred to a time when the enemy would typically attack a city under siege, and Jerusalem faced many dangerous threats. Verses 4-7 “turn to the hope of intimate accessibility to God’s presence in the future, when the Messiah reigns from Jerusalem, the city of God, when He establishes His throne in Zion and ultimately remakes all creation in purity and at rest in Him.” (Moody) Psalm 46:5 sings of the reminder we are never alone. We face no battle in this life solo, whether it be Jerusalem under attack or a sinful stronghold threatening to take us out. God is in it with us. He goes before us, behind us, and never leaves us.
Those who lifted their hearts in praise in the Old Testament days in which this psalm was written, before the exile and before the coming of Christ, knew their hope was in God alone. It was not a song praising what any one person could do, or what they could do collectively, but worship to the One True God, from whom all hope flows. We are created to bring glory to God. All creation moves to the tune of His sovereign will, each and every note uniquely and purposefully crafted and set in time to honor Him. We are created in His image, and He is our reliable rescue. In our sin, we were lost, unable to uphold the Old Testament laws in place for our protection. Our pursuit of holiness begins and ends in Christ, alone. God loved us so much, He sent His one and only Son to earth to defeat death and make a way for redemption and restoration for us. Psalm 46 reminds us to circle back around to the home base of our faith to see all of Scripture and life through the eyes of our Creator, God. To give Him all the glory.
Where Does Help Come from in Psalm 46?
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV
Psalm 46:4 reads, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells” (NIV). The river represents communion with God’s presence in the Garden of Eden being divided, the coming of the King through which God’s presence among His people is reestablished, and the renewing of nature (Moody). God’s redemptive plan began to unfold as He created, His Son with Him in the beginning, through whom all things were made (John 1). His mercies, His love, and His faithfulness are unmatched and sovereign. “The ‘river’ is a metaphor of blessing and restoration,” the Expositor’s Commentary explains, “The help of God ‘at the break of dawn’ suggests that in the darkness of distress the people of God know that the Lord will not let them suffer unduly long.”
Every morning, as we face our own battles on the horizon, God stands ready with us, full of compassion. Christ Jesus meets us in our suffering with empathy and divine strength to navigate the path and purpose He has laid out for us each day. It’s a battle, and the realm of sin-the world-wages war against us and against God daily. But the victory is ours, won by Jesus on the cross. “That she must be the city of God, which means the people in the city rejoice in their safety within the city’s walls,” Pastor Dave Zuleger writes, “Because of the presence of God, we will not be moved. Because he is a very present, never-failing help in trouble, our safety and gladness are secure.” Our help comes from God, not any strength we are self-mustering . . .yet the very divine strength of God flowing through us in Christ. We are strong when we are confidently reliant on Him and who He is.
Why Should That Give Us Hope?
“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” Psalm 46:10 NIV
The Hebrew translation of be still means Enough! or Stop. Often too distracted by our own pain and pool of thoughts attempting to solve the conundrum of our circumstances within our own strength, Psalm 46:10 rips us out of our daydream and whips our heads around to face the true source of all strength. We can find peace in the chaos of the world. No matter the circumstances we are experiencing, the One who reigns over all of them, and us, remains unmoved. God is sovereign. He is in control. His love is greater than anything threatening to steal our peace or take us out. We exist to glorify Him, of whose image He created us in. He’s given us a purpose and set us in this generation. Our hope is in the defeat of death, which Jesus accomplished on the cross, in the full expression of God’s love for us. He made a way for us to be restored from our sins which we could never accomplish on our own. In Christ, we live in this world, but not of the world. “One of the reasons we invest our lives in some insignificant ways is that we never become still enough to let the great realities hit us,” Pastor John Piper explains, “We are always on the move. Always in a hurry. Or when we do stop, we flip on the radio or the TV and let somebody else’s hurry fill our minds.”
A Prayer to Be Still
Yahweh, You are the source of every breath we breathe. Remind us to breathe slowly, in and out, embracing the new mercy of each inhale and exhale. Every day, You meet us at the break of dawn to face our battles with us, Father. Thank You for the rich reminders in Psalm 46. Bless our lives with peace and hope. Soften our hearts to be moldable in Your hands and tune our ears to hear Your voice amplified over all others.
In Jesus’ Name,
When we are tempted to believe the calamity in the world is unprecedented, Psalm 46:5 reminds us God never fails. He is bigger than anything that threatens to come up against us. Living our lives within the love of Jesus Christ is to give God glory with each day we wake to fulfill His purpose in our lives. He’s had a plan all along. Christ defeated death, and He will return. We know how the story ends. It’s not necessary to jump onto the bandwagon of theories of how the world will end. We know how it ends, and we are in God’s hands, in Christ, eternally. Nothing that comes against God will prevail. Not a thing. It was a comfort for God’s people and Jerusalem way back in OT times, and it is still a comfort to us today.
- NIV Study Bible, Copyright © 1985, 1995, 2002, 2008, 2011 by Zondervan.
- Moody Bible Commentary. Copyright 2014.
- Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Abridged Edition): Old Testament. Copyright 2004.
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Meg, freelance writer and blogger at Sunny&80, is the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” and “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” She writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. Meg earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay at home and raise her two daughters, which led her to pursue her passion to write. She has led a Bible Study for Women and serves as a Youth Ministry leader in her community. Meg, a Cleveland native and lifelong Browns fan, lives by the shore of Lake Erie in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and golden doodle.
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