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(Part 28)


April 5, 2011
Today’s reading: Psalm 46:2-9

Today’s psalm describes the calamity that has happened to Japan.

  • “earth be shaken” (Ps 46:3b) = earthquake of 9.0 magnitude.
  • “mountains quake to the depths of the sea” (Ps 46:3c) = earthquake under the sea off the coast of Japan.
  • “its waters rage and foam” (Ps 46:4a) = 10-meter high tsunami.
  • “mountains totter at its surging” (Ps 46:4b) = tsunami destroying everything along its path, including buildings and nuclear reactors.

Those who were not killed outright by the earthquake and tsunami have fled because of the threat of radioactive nuclear fallout. The danger zone has been constantly expanded, from a radius of 10 kilometers, to 20, to 30. Japan has been brought down to its knees, its economic strength gradually being sapped.

God is telling the world something. The world has become haughty in its technological prowess and its economic might. People have been depending solely on themselves and their personal capabilities. People have forgotten God.

We are reminded that it is only in Him that we can find “our refuge and our strength” (Ps 46:2a). If we have nowhere to go for protection and safety, God is always there as our refuge. If we are down and out, sapped of our financial or emotional health, God is always there as our strength. If we have run out of people or things that we can look to for help, God is always there as “an ever-present help in distress.” (Ps 46:2b).

If that is the case, then even if the above were happening all around us, “we do not fear” (Ps 46:3a). But we can only claim this if we have placed our lives and well-being in God’s hands. If only “the Lord of hosts is with us,” then “our stronghold is the God of Jacob.” (Ps 46:4c).

Since the world is self-sufficient and unmindful of God, it faces many troubles. Today “kingdoms totter” (Ps 46:7a). Long-time rulers have been toppled in Tunisia and Egypt. There is civil war in Cote d’Ivoire and Libya. There is unrest and deadly clashes in Yemen, Bahrain, Iran, Morocco, Syria and others. There is genocide in Sudan. There are constant bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Is it only human greed for power that causes all these? No. It is the absence of God. Because if “God is in its midst,” then “it shall not be shaken” (Ps 46:6a). Even if men insist on waging war on their fellow men, if God is present, then “God will help it at break of day.” (Ps 46:6b).

Further, in this world “nations rage” (Ps 46:7a). Radical Muslims in Muslim nations rage against their Christian minorities. Hindus in India rage against Christians. The United Nations, the European Union, the US government all rage against those who are defending the culture of life and who uphold Judeo-Christian traditions.

All these wrong and even evil things are happening in the world today. So God has to call our attention. So “God’s voice thunders and the earth trembles.” (Ps 46:7b).

We have our part to play. We need to be God’s instruments in continually telling the world about Him, in telling peoples that God has to be at the center of their lives. They may live in Japan or in the Middle East or wherever, but they have to be residents of the kingdom of God, with their citizenship in heaven. This is the only way to truly assure their well-being and a life of joy. “Streams of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High.” (Ps 46:5).

So calamities come. These should prod us to go. Go and proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus. As evangelizers, let us always extend the invitation to others: “Come and see the works of the Lord, who has done fearsome deeds on earth” (Ps 46:9). Such fearsome deeds are cause not for fear and consternation, but for joy, if only they lead us back to God.

“The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.” (Ps 46:8).

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