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. To be honest, as I look at the prognosis for 2020, if we do not turn to God in repentance of sin … or if Jesus does not return … my heart skips a beat! 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 Psalm 46:1-7
- Name some environmental disasters that took place in 2019.
A. Focus on Him, verse 1
- Give three characteristics of God during times of natural storms, and describe what each one means to you, from verse 1.
- How did Noah experience God’s provision in the midst of the flood? Read Genesis 7:11-16.
- How did Elijah experience God’s provision during the famine? See 1 Kings 17:2-3.
- How have you been personally impacted by environmental storms?
- How have you experienced God’s provision in the midst of them?
B. Focus on Hope, verses 2-3
- Name the four environmental disasters referred to in verses 2-3. Give each a contemporary description.
- Could environmental disasters be sent by God as warnings of His judgment, or even the start of judgment itself? Read 1 Kings 16:33 with 17:1; 2 Kings 8:1; Jeremiah 11:21-23; Revelation 6:7-8; 7:1-2; 8:5.
- When disasters strike, whether these are His judgments or not, how are we to respond? See 2 Chronicles 7:13-14.
- How did God use storms to refocus Elijah on His Person and His purpose? See 1 Kings 19:11-18.
C. Focus on Heaven, verses 4-7
- Compare the psalmist’s description of Heaven in verses 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? Read 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 Psalm 46:8-11
- What national storms are brewing today? Name the most obvious ones.
A. Focus on His Power, verses 8-9
- Who does the psalmist indicate is behind national storms?
- How is the psalmist’s perspective affirmed by this? Read Isaiah 46:8-11 and Colossians 1:16.
- How does this change your perspective? Read Romans 8:28.
B. Focus on His Person, verse 10
- Who is God? Read 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? 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? See Micah 6:6-8.
C. Focus on His Position, verse 11
- Why do you think this verse is included twice in this psalm? See verse 7.
- How is the thought in verse 11 amplified in the following verses, and how does each one encourage you? Psalm 2:1-5, 10-12; 37:1-7; 61:1-3; 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 2020.
Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 40 years. Her newest book, “Jesus in Me: Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a Constant Companion,” is available from major booksellers and online.
Above: A BGEA Rapid Response Team chaplain speaks with people affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas in 2019.
Photo: Todd Sumlin/2019 BGEA