PSALM 46—GOD MEETING OUR NEEDS IN THE CITY
“God is our refuge and strength, a very ready help in trouble” (v. 1). Where is God our refuge, our strength, and a very ready help in trouble? In the city! God is all this to us in the city. Verses 2 and 3 then tell us something as a background for the city. “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river.” There is a sea in verse 2. The sea is in the earth, but in the city there is a river, “the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God.” This river signifies the flowing of God Himself as life to us; it signifies the river of life, which is mentioned in Revelation 22. The river of life is nothing less than God Himself in Christ through the Spirit as our life. The streams of this river make glad the city of God.
Now we know that the city of God is the church strengthened, built up, and enlarged. In Psalms 46 through 48 the church has become the city over which God rules and from which God reigns. It is not just the house for the Father’s home, but also the city for God’s rule in His kingdom. The city of God is the enlarged, strengthened, and built-up church as the ruling center of God in His kingdom. It is in this city that we have the river. The picture here corresponds to that of the New Jerusalem found in Revelation 21 and 22. In those chapters we also see a city with a flowing river. Here we have a river with many streams to make the city glad.
We are so very happy because of this river, this flow of the divine life. If we did not have the flow of life, we would be shriveled and withered. Our joy would be gone; there would be no gladness. We are the most joyful people because in the city, in the church, we have a flow of living water—not just a trickle, but a river.
This holy city of God is “the holy place of the tabernacles (or habitations) of the most High” (v. 4). You must pay attention to all these titles. The most high God dwells here; this is the holy place of His habitations.
Then verse 5 says, “God is in the midst of her”—in the midst of the enlarged church. “She shall not be moved.” The earth will be moved and the mountains will be carried away, but the city will never be moved. Why? Because the immovable God is within her. God is immovable; so she is immovable. “God shall help her at the dawn of the morning.” If we are in the local church, we are in the morning; if we are outside the local church, we are simply in the night. In the church there is always the dawn of the morning, and when you are in the morning, God is your help. “God shall help her at the dawn of the morning,” after the night of trial.
Verse 6: “The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.” Why? Because He is in the city. Verses 7 through 10: “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. 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. Be still, and know that I am God.” These verses are a kind of prophecy. When God has a church on this earth so strengthened and enlarged that it may be reckoned as a city, He will then have the ground to deal with the nations and possess the entire earth. The nations today are raging. But God will one day obtain a church as a city, and at that time He will say to all the nations, “Be still, and know that I am God.” God could not say this today, for He lacks such a strong church. God has not yet obtained a stronghold on this earth for Him to speak in such a way to the nations. But He will have it. Verse 10 continues, “I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” When God has a church so strengthened, so much enlarged and built up as a city to Him, He can say, “I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Finally, in the city we may say, “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” (v. 11).
(Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)