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Sermon Notes

Psalm 46


Most of us remember where we were when the two planes struck the Twin Towers. Today we will allow the Scriptures to guide us through these memories as we reflect on the horrors and promises of 9/11.

Key Thought:  Often, the Psalm writers provide guidance on how to handle extreme emotions. They do so through gut-wrenchingly honest prayers as the one recorded in Psalm 46. Here the author inspires worshippers to express desperate feelings but to never lose trust in God. This Psalm, probably more than any other, is an appropriate focus for us as we reflect on and process the tragedy of 9/11.

Supporting Points:

  1. The presence of enemies does not mean the absence of hope (v. 1)
    • “refuge” (v. 1)– מַחֲסֶה machăseh, a place of safety as from the rain, can also mean hope
    • “fortress” (v. 11)- מִשְׂגָּב, miśgâb a fortified position, an elevated position of safety
    • “trouble” (v. 1) צָרָה  tsarah – rival — adversary, adversity, affliction, anguish, distress, tribulation, trouble
  2. When your world becomes completely undone, just remember God is not done (vs 2-4).
    • Fear – יָרֵא (yaw-ray’)- an inside emotion (dread, fear, terribleness) based upon an outside reality, occurs 330 times in the Old Testament.
    • Notice how the Psalmist illustrates the upheaval.
    • At least once in your life, you will have a season of upheaval, where the very fabric of your world comes tearing apart
    • God has something for us who suffer tragedy:
      • He has a source (a river)
      • He has a city (a community)
        • Vs. 1, 2, 4, 7, 11- tell us that God speaks to and works within the community.
        • Our faith is a WE situation and not a ME situation.
  3. God can be trusted-
    • God will help (v. 5)
    • His voice melts the earth (v. 6)
    • He makes wars cease (v. 9a)
    • He breaks the bow and shatters the spear (v. 9b)
    • He will be exalted among the nations

Application: Be still in the knowledge of God

Discussion Questions


  1. Psalm 46 offers more perspective than any other gut-wrenching prayer recorded in the Psalms when it comes to how to handle our extreme emotions amid crises. Pastor Rusty suggests this Psalm is especially appropriate for us as we reflect on and process the tragedy of 9/11. Most of us remember living through that horrific day, what in this Psalm stands out to you? 
  1. In verse 1, we learn that the presence of enemies doesn’t mean the absence of hope. Notice the three descriptions of God in verse: 1) He is our “refuge”; this Hebrew word speaks of a place of safety; it speaks of hope. 2) He is also our fortress, or an elevated place of safety. 3) He is our real help in times of trouble. The word “trouble” speaks of adversity, affliction, or distress. Reflect on a time when you found God’s safety, comfort, and help as you faced a challenge.  
  1. Pastor Rusty says, “At least once in your life, you will have a season of upheaval where the very fabric of your life tears apart.” If you have already experienced that, take a few minutes to reflect on how you found God faithful during that time.  
  1. Based upon this Psalm, Pastor Rusty reminds us that when our world comes crashing down, we need not fear, for we can remember God is with us during our suffering. In verse 4, the psalmist likens God to a river, He can sustain us through the dry seasons of life. Why do you think the psalmist uses this analogy? 
  1. Later in verse 4, the psalmist refers to the “city of God.” God speaks to us & works within our community of faith to encourage us during our challenges. Reflect on a past time when your church family helped you through a difficult challenge. 
  1. This Psalm makes the point that God can be trusted to help. His voice melts the earth, He makes wars cease, He breaks the bow and shatters the spear. Each of these descriptions of God pictures His sovereignty during a catastrophe. How can understanding God’s power and personal involvement in our lives helps us face life’s harshest moments?  


  • Make a list of the ways God has helped you through past challenges.  
  • Take a few moments to thank God for His faithfulness during your challenges. 
  • Psalm 46:10 encourages us to “Be still and know that I am God.” Write down your current challenges and take each one to God, asking Him to help you rest in His loving strength. Reflect on how His strength can fully meet your needs.  
  • Finally, entrust each challenge to God and ask Him to use your challenges to make you stronger and to exalt His name.