Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
God’s Defense of His City and People
To the leader. Of the Korahites. According to Alamoth. A Song.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present[a] help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city;[b] it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.[c]Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end 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 am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.[d]Selah
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
We live in a world in which changes occur so rapidly that we can’t begin to keep up with all of them. Change is present in every aspect of our lives, and it is so rapid that we can no longer really even speak oxymoronically about “constant change” because the rate of change itself is changing—increasing all the time. So many things change so fast that we can hardly adjust. Think about the last few decades. Think of all the changes in every single area of life: travel, communications, family relationships, the job market, science, space travel, electronics, data storage and processing, education, farming, etc. Even in the past decade each one of us has experienced a lot of change and the pace of change seems to increase exponentially. Even the rate of change has changed!
Every Area of Life has Changed. The changes in the way we communicate, exchange information, entertain, learn, organize, network, make money, run businesses, vote, take pictures, record video, access knowledge, trade, purchase products, read books, etc. are so sweeping that it is difficult to name one area of life that is still the same.
Research by the Census Bureau shows that adults today undergo at least twice as many important “life changes” as their parents and grandparents. The bureau’s surveys show that at one time, the typical American passed through five major life-cycle transitions: childhood, marriage, childbirth, child-rearing, and eventual dissolution of the marriage, usually through the death of a spouse.
Today the typical person will have at least twice that many life transitions. Among those added include: a foreshortened period of childhood innocence, a period of independent living before marriage, divorce, remarriage, and so forth. In the world in which we live today, the loss of childhood innocence may be the biggest change of all. As one Census Bureau survey pointed out, “Once a stable foundation for life, childhood is now apt to be a time of drastic change as youngsters experience the trauma of their parents’ separation and divorce and the formation of blended families. All such changes have contributed greatly to the increased complexities of passing through the family life cycle.”
So, we’ve been living with this increasing and often bewildering pace of change for a long time. But then comes the pandemic when just about everything changed. Now we find ourselves using the word “unprecedented” almost every day. Our world is very different from even five months ago. It feels like everything has changed. So much is uncertain. Our vulnerability has been exposed on so many fronts and people often are captivated by fear. The words of the 46th Psalm bear reading a reciting often: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth should change.”
There is a lot of theology woven into hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”.
A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing:
Our helper He, amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work his woe;
His craft and power are great,
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth is his name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,—
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! His doom is sure,—
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers—
No thanks to them—abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also:
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is for ever.
I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul. I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster