Monday, November 28, 2011

A Psalm for Advent

During my recent sojourn in England, God blessed me with a frequent sense of his presence. Receiving communion at Pusey House most mornings was an important part of that blessing.

Psalm 46 was important to me as well in that regard, coming to mind time and time again. God showed himself to me to be not only “a very present help in trouble”, but also very present at all times.

As I’ve read and reread this psalm, for the first time I’ve noticed how appropriate it is for Advent. (Yes, I can be slow, but hey . . .) The presence of God with men is certainly a vital theme of Advent and then the Christmas season.

But what I had not noticed before is how Psalm 46 is almost a prophesy of the end times and of Christ’s Second Advent. The earth changing, melting even as God raises his voice; mountains slipping into the sea as the earth quakes – that sounds like end times. Nations making an uproar and God putting them in their place as “he makes wars to cease” in all the earth; then God is exalted in all the earth and is “with us,” even in our midst. All this reflects his glorious Second Advent.

Note there is no promise of “the Rapture” here, that his people escape all tribulation, but instead the assurance of God being a “very present help” and refuge to his people in the midst of tribulations now and future. And he will bring us to that “river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High.”

Again, Psalm 46 was very helpful to me in experiencing God’s presence in England and is a timely reminder of the same during Advent.

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