When I read the news, I have the distinct impression that our world is unraveling! Economically, politically, environmentally, socially, religiously, morally and culturally, we seem to be in turmoil. The uncertainty has stoked fears that have produced one of the highest suicide rates in years. To be honest, my heart sinks as I look at the prognosis for 2013 if we do not turn to God in repentance of sin, or if Jesus does not return. Humanly speaking, we seem to be increasingly hopeless and helpless as we dig a deeper and deeper pit into which we ourselves are falling.
But I have heard God’s voice in no uncertain terms speaking to me from Psalm 46. He has commanded me not to lose my focus. Like setting my spiritual compass, He has challenged me to fix my eyes on Jesus so that regardless of all that swirls around me, my heart is steadfast, trusting in Him!
READ PSALM 46
I. DURING NATURAL STORMS
Name some environmental disasters that took place in 2012.
Focus on Him
Give three characteristics of God during times of natural storms, and describe what each one means to you, from Psalm 46:1.
How did Noah experience God’s provision in the midst of the Flood? See Genesis 7:11-16.
How did Elijah experience God’s provision during the famine? Read 1 Kings 17:2-6.
How have you been personally affected by environmental storms?
How have you experienced God’s provision in the midst of them?
Focus on Hope
Name the four environmental disasters referred to in Psalm 46:2-3. Give each a contemporary description.
Could environmental disasters be sent by God as warnings, or even the implementation, of His judgment? See 1 Kings 16:33 along with 17:1; 2 Kings 8:1; Jeremiah 11:21-23; Revelation 6:7-8, 7:1-2 and 8:5.
When disasters strike, whether these are His judgment or not, how are we to respond, according to 2 Chronicles 7:13-14?
In 1 Kings 19:11-18, how did God use storms to refocus Elijah on His Person and His purpose?
Focus on Heaven
Compare the Psalmist’s description of Heaven in Psalm 46:4-5 with Revelation 22:1-5. What similarities do you find? What to you is the most meaningful aspect of Heaven?
How does Psalm 46:6 describe our world today?
When trouble surrounds us, what does Jesus tell us to do in John 14:1-3?
What practical steps do you need to take in order to keep your focus during times of natural storms?
II. DURING NATIONAL STORMS
What national storms are brewing in our world today? Name the most obvious ones.
Focus on His Power
Who does the Psalmist indicate is behind national storms?
How is the Psalmist’s perspective affirmed by Isaiah 46:8-11? Colossians 1:16?
How does this change your perspective? See Romans 8:28.
Focus on His Person
Who is God? See Genesis 1:1; Exodus 3:6, 14-15; John 1:17-18, 3:16, 4:24, 5:18, 26; and Revelation 1:8.
What phrase is repeated in verse 10? What does this mean to you?
How was God exalted in Exodus 15:1-18? See also 2 Samuel 22:47-51; 1 Chronicles 29:10-13; Job 36:22, 37:14-24; Isaiah 2:17, 6:1. Give phrases.
Besides keeping our focus, how does the Prophet Micah say we are to respond to who God is? Read Micah 6:6-8.
Focus on His Position
Why do you think this verse is repeated twice in this Psalm (see verse 7 also)?
How is the thought in verse 11 amplified in the following verses, and how does each one encourage you? Psalm 2:1-6, 10-12, 37:1-7, 61:1-5, 62:1-2; Isaiah 40:21-31; Zechariah 14:1-9.
At the beginning of this new year, I know that if I am not careful, I will get out of focus. The busyness and responsibilities of family and ministry will distract me, the natural and national storms will distress me, the memories of past wounds and failures will depress me. I know. So I must be intentional about fixing my eyes on Jesus. Every day. I need to make the time to read His Word, listen to His voice, apply and live out His principles, obey His commands … every day … if I’m to maintain not only a vibrant relationship with Him, but a healthy equilibrium mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Would you join me in fixing your eyes on Jesus, too? Every day. Make this your New Year’s resolution for 2013. ©2013 Anne Graham Lotz