reader should note that this lesson is deliberately shorter than usual, and its
content was selected for the same reason: we have the privilege of hosting a
presentation by Courtney Pierce of the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. As
she has asked for at least half an hour, the lesson is short. As she will be
speaking about the recent (January, 2010) earthquake it seemed appropriate to
prepare a lesson on earthquakes.
Psalms 46:1-3 NIV
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.
what do you trust?
should be noted that this question is best answered before the earthquake hits
– and the answer is best known after the earthquake hits. Many of us just
don’t think about this; even in earthquake-prone Southern California. There
are some common answers:
many, we trust in ourselves. We have our earthquake readiness kit, and we
are proud of our self-reliance. It’s an American tradition, right? Don’t
worry, God, we’ll handle it.
the postmodernists among us, we trust in the government. Man is supreme,
not God. The state tells us what is right and wrong; the state therefore
is supremely powerful – and will rescue us. (Which is not to say the
state shouldn’t try; just that we shouldn’t make it our point of trust.)
the Christian, trust is always in God. It’s just that it’s not often
practiced that way.
how the Psalmist repeats this in echoes of thought. First there is refuge – a
place to go for comfort and safety. It’s our first thought. Then we will need
strength – and finally we’ll admit we need help.
logical conclusion (“therefore”) of this is to “fear not”. Fear is
hierarchical. We fear things because of what they might do. Therefore,
the greater the power, the greater the fear. With God, the fear is thus the
greatest of all – or should be. With him, all other fears fade into the
then, listen to him. He told you that earthquakes and other disasters would
occur. You should therefore take appropriate precautions. We teach children
in school to drop under their desks in an earthquake. We don’t wait until the
earthquake hits to do this.
the Christian should train himself to always depend upon God – even when it
doesn’t appear necessary. That way, when the time comes that it is obviously
necessary, you’ll be in good practice.
the one most powerful. Science rests upon nature; faith rests upon the God who
of the Spirit
Psalms 46:4-5 NIV 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.
pretty simple, really. The universe didn’t change because of the earthquake.
The universe rests on the unchanging nature of God Almighty – and you should
rest upon it too. Just remember who you’re dealing with here!
now take a prophetic turn:
Psalms 46:6-9 NIV 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.
Selah (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.
hope you see the point. At the end of all things God destroys this earth,
these heavens; the earth melts. He destroys all power and authority which is
not his own. Even under this trial, the instruction is the same: God is our
fortress. We are not being assaulted, we are watching his power. It brings up
should we do on the day of his return?
that, what should we be doing in preparation for it now?
may be found in places like Matthew 24-25.)
Psalms 46:10-11 NIV "Be
still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth." (11)
The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
phrase is used in several places in the Bible, but here are two significant
at the crossing of the Red Sea,
tells the Israelites to be still and see God’s deliverance.
in calming the sea, uses this phrase as a command.
the picture as being one of a Father calming his children in a storm. All is
well; it just doesn’t look it at the moment.
that I am God
modern church is greatly concerned with social justice; with making sure the
government is charitable; with building community and other things which might
be described as “the church of the world.” In our zeal to do this, I fear we
forget to seek God while he may be found.
know God, the self-existent one, is to set your universe in order. To know
God, the unmoved mover, is to understand the source of all physical reality.
To know God, the uncaused cause, is to understand the beginning and sustenance
of all things. To know God, the necessary being, is to understand that it is
by grace that you even exist. To know God, the perfect being, is to know that
perfection exists, and that the perfect One is leading you. To know God, the
intelligent designer, is to understand that the universe is not purposeless but
a reflection of his glory – even in earthquakes.
matter is simple:
Lord is with us; what else could we fear?
is our fortress – a mighty fortress is our God; the outcome of all things
is clear too.
– a musical notation which may mean, “think about that!” Meditate upon the
greatness of God and his sure protection of his people. Even at the very end
of reality as we know it, fear God – dread naught.