v1) God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Trouble teaches us to walk by faith in God’s promise that He is “Our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (2 Cor. 1:20; 2 Pet. 1:4). When we are at ease, God seems distant. But trouble makes the truth of the Gospel and Christ’s comfort precious (Ps. 119:67; 1 Pet. 1:7). From Ps. 46, our God and Savior promises us that He is very near to us in trouble: “A very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1). In trouble, we draw nigh to Christ (Ps. 3:8; 34:6,14; 50:16; 35:1-3; 55:16-17, 22; 65:3; 94:17-18; 119:116-117; Heb. 4:16). And most importantly, our Lord draws nigh to us (Ps. 22:11; James 4:8-10), for He never leaves nor forsakes us. “He has said, ‘Not at all will I leave you, not at all will I forsake you,’ never” (Heb. 13:5, LITV)! Our weakness is the dwelling of His strength (2 Cor. 12:9-10; Rom. 5:6). When we were without strength in the guilt of our sins, under the dominion of our sin and guilty before the law of God and in our own conscience, Christ died for the ungodly! He called us in the preaching of the Gospel. We then called upon Him (Rom. 10:13-17). He persuaded us that Christ already answered all, and we fled to Him for refuge, and even now flee to Him in all trouble. Enduring faith cries to Christ in trouble (Ps. 34:17; John 6:68-69).
vv. 2-3) Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
Jesus told His disciples that throughout time there would be Christ-imposters and proclaimers of “another Jesus.” (Matt. 24:5; 2 Cor. 11:1-4; Gal. 1:8-9). He said there would be wars between nations and kingdoms (Matt. 24:6). He said trouble would even arise from this groaning creation in plague, famine, earthquakes and more (Matt. 24:7; Luke 21:11; Rom. 8:22). He told us beforehand (Matt. 24:4-12, 25). He said His people would be afflicted and killed (Matt. 24:9), that many professors of Christ would depart from Him (Matt. 24:10). He said that because iniquity in this world would abound, the love of many would grow cold (Matt. 24:12). He had a purpose in view, a warning and a comfort to our souls: “Take heed that no man deceive you;” (v.4) “See that ye be not troubled” (v6). If Christ silences His enemies by His word (Matt. 22:22, 33-34, 37-40, 46), if He speaks calm to the winds and waves, then because He says, "be not troubled," we who believe Him have no cause for fear. He overcame and now silences every enemy. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for" (Heb. 11:1). In Christ we are more than conquerors (Rom. 8:37). By faith we now possess the promised blessings. "Faith is the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1). This precious faith is evidence that we are Christ’s and He is ours (Heb. 11:1; 1 Pet. 1:21-22; Heb. 8:10-12; Eph. 1:11-14; 1 Pet. 1:3-4). These things are not spoken to those who are at ease in life, but to those who are troubled, even those who were "counted as sheep for the slaughter" (Rom. 8:36). They who are counted as sheep for the slaughter are more than conquerors through Him that loved us (Rom. 8:37)!
vv. 4-5) There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
How does our Lord comfort us in trouble? Pastor Don Fortner aptly pointed out in his summary exposition of 1 Peter (Discovering Christ in All the Scriptures) that the Spirit of God spoke comfort to His saints by the mouth of Peter when they faced the most cruel persecutions at the hand of the Roman emperor, Nero. The Spirit of God, by the mouth of Peter, spoke comfort to those persecuted saints by the one and only thing that comforts the hearts of believing sinners: our salvation in Christ our Surety! He spoke to them of God’s eternal electing love and His choice of them in Christ (1 Pet. 1:2). He spoke of Christ’s redeeming love in the sacrifice of His own blood (1 Pet. 1:2; 18-20). He spoke of the life-giving work of the Spirit of God who made them the sons of God in the new birth with faith in Christ (1 Pet. 1:2; 22-23; 2:2; John 3:3-15). He spoke of faith as precious because it makes Christ precious, convincing us that He has saved us from the trouble of our sins, that He is saving us out of the trouble of our sinful flesh and the troubles of this life, and that He will yet save us to the uttermost by His all-sufficient grace (2 Cor. 1:10). It is a great comfort to know that God’s eternal will of love and redemption in Christ will conform us to Christ’s image by His providential operations in this world and His operations in our soul as we gaze upon Christ in the Gospel of His grace (Ex. 12:13; 2 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 8:29). There is no trouble in which God does not make Christ all-sufficient grace to our souls through faith alone (Rom. 4:16; 11:6). Christ gives the water of eternal life (John 4:10; 7:37-38). The streams of Gospel grace flow to us from His throne, out of His wounded side (Zech. 13:1). If God reconciled us to Himself by the death of His Son when we were His enemies, how much more will He save us to the uttermost by His life (Rom. 5:10; Heb. 7:25)?! With these cordials, our God and Savior comforts and helps us “right early.”
vv. 6-7) The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
The kingdom of satan always opposes Christ and His people. How? They attack His glorious person and work. They make little of His salvation in an attempt to diminish His glory, distract weary saints and deceive men’s souls (Ps. 21:5; John 17:4; Heb. 1:3). The natural man hates free grace (John 16:8-11). Men hate that Christ gets all the glory. Fallen man naturally has an idolatrous, self-righteous heart (Gen. 4:3; Isa. 64:6; Luke 18:9). Men hate a salvation that excludes all boasting. But God’s saints love Christ and they love His salvation. He is the “God of Jacob”, the Savior of guilty, impotent sinners (Gen. 37:26; 1 Tim. 1:15; Rom. 4:5; 5:6-10). He is our only refuge (Heb. 6:18; John 6:68-69). We therefore flee to Him. He is with us (Matt. 28:20).
vv. 8-9) Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. 9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
Opposition to Christ will continue throughout time and at the end of time it will rise to an apex (Rev. 20). Throughout scripture, God has always shown Himself strong on behalf of His people when opposition against them was overwhelming and their own strength was weakness. When enemies appear their worse, God makes known His salvation to His people (Ex. 6:1; 2 Chr. 20:5-17). Every enemy will be made desolate by the hand of our all-victorious Savior! He bruised satan’s head. He will shortly bruise that fiend under the feet of His darling, virgin Bride (Rom. 16:20; 2 Kings 19:21). There is nothing too hard for Him who subdues our iniquities (Micah 7:18-19).
vv. 10-11) Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
“Let the peace of God rule in your hearts” (Col. 3:15). Be still and know that the triune God of glory is the God of our salvation! He will be exalted in the earth. He will save His people. He will judge the heathen. You and I will either be judged by the preaching of the Gospel from men sent by Christ, so that we are found in Christ without condemnation, having endured the judgment of God in our Surety, or we will be judged on the last day and found without a covering, naked and in our sins and helpless in our foolish pride (1 Pet. 4:5-6; Rom. 10:1-4; Matt. 7:21-23). Christ has triumphed over this world (John 16:33). We overcome by His blood, by faith in His blood, by the faith that is given us by Him. And we overcome by the Gospel that He made to be good news to us, and to be our only testimony and confidence and hope before God and men (Rom. 1:16-17; 3:25; 1 John 5:4; Rev. 12:11; 2 Sam. 23:5).