God is our refuge - It begins abruptly, but nobly; ye may trust in whom and in what ye please: but God (Elohim) is our refuge and strength.
A very present help - A help found to be very powerful and effectual in straits and difficulties. The words are very emphatic: מאד נמצא בצרות עזרה ezerah betsaroth nimtsa meod, "He is found an exceeding, or superlative help in difficulties." Such we have found him, and therefore celebrate his praise.
God is our refuge and strength - God is for us as a place to which we may flee for safety; a source of strength to us in danger. The first word, “refuge,” from a verb meaning to “flee,” and then “to flee to” - הסה châsâh - or to take shelter in - denotes a place to which one would flee in time of danger - as a lofty wall; a high tower; a fort; a fortress. See the notes at Psalm 18:2. The idea here is, that the people of God, in time of danger, may find him to be what such a place of refuge would be. Compare Proverbs 18:10. The word “strength” implies that God is the source of strength to those who are weak and defenseless; or that we may rely on his strength “as if” it were our own; or that we may feel as safe in his strength as though we had that strength ourselves. We may make it the basis of our confidence as really as though the strength resided in our own arm. See the notes at Psalm 18:2.
A very present help - The word “help” here means aid, assistance. The word “trouble” would cover all that can come upon us which would give us anxiety or sorrow. The word rendered “present” - נמצא nimetsâ' - means rather, “is found,” or “has been found;” that is, he has “proved” himself to be a help in trouble. The word “present,” as if he were near to us, or close by us, does not accurately express the idea, which is rather, that “he has been found” to be such, or that he has always “proved” himself to be such a help, and that, therefore, we may now confide in him. The word “very,” or “exceedingly,” is added to qualify the whole proposition, as if this were “emphatically true.” It was true in the most eminent sense that God had always been found to be such a helper, and, “therefore,” there was nothing to fear in the present distress. Psalm 46:2.
These words mean very much to the soul that is trying to run the race set before him in the gospel. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” TM 483.1
Read also the third chapter of this book, and study and pray over these words. As a people our faith and practice need to be energized by the Holy Spirit. No ruling power that would compel man to obey the dictates of the finite mind should be exercised. “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils,” the Lord commands. By turning the minds of men to lean on human wisdom, we place a veil between God and man, so that there is not a seeing of Him who is invisible. TM 483.2
In our individual experience we are to be taught of God. When we seek Him with a sincere heart, we will confess to Him our defects of character; and He has promised to receive all who come to Him in humble dependence. The one who yields to the claims of God will have the abiding presence of Christ, and this companionship will be to him a very precious thing. Taking hold of divine wisdom, he will escape the corruptions that are in the world through lust. Day by day he will learn more fully how to carry his infirmities to the One who has promised to be a very present help in every time of need. TM 483.3Read in context »
Family prayer and public prayer have their place; but it is secret communion with God that sustains the soul-life. It was in the mount with God that Moses beheld the pattern of that wonderful building which was to be the abiding-place of His glory. It is in the mount with God—the secret place of communion—that we are to contemplate His glorious ideal for humanity. Thus we shall be enabled so to fashion our character-building that to us may be fulfilled the promise, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” [2 Corinthians 6:16.] GW 254.1
While engaged in our daily work, we should lift the soul to heaven in prayer. These silent petitions rise like incense before the throne of grace; and the enemy is baffled. The Christian whose heart is thus stayed upon God cannot be overcome. No evil arts can destroy his peace. All the promises of God's word, all the power of divine grace, all the resources of Jehovah, are pledged to secure his deliverance. It was thus that Enoch walked with God. And God was with him, a present help in every time of need. GW 254.2
Christ's ministers must watch unto prayer. They may come with boldness to the throne of grace, lifting up holy hands without wrath or doubting. In faith they may supplicate the Father in heaven for wisdom and grace, that they may know how to work, how to deal with minds. GW 254.3
Prayer is the breath of the soul. It is the secret of spiritual power. No other means of grace can be substituted, and the health of the soul be preserved. Prayer brings the heart into immediate contact with the Well-spring of life, and strengthens the sinew and muscle of the religious experience. Neglect the exercise of prayer, or engage in prayer spasmodically, now and then, as seems convenient, and you lose your hold on God. The spiritual faculties lose their vitality, the religious experience lacks health and vigor. GW 254.4Read in context »
We must be sanctified through the truth, be wholly consecrated to God, and so live out our holy profession that the Lord can shed increasing light upon us, and that we may see light in His light, and be strengthened with His strength. Every moment that we are not on our watch we are liable to be beset by the enemy and are in great danger of being overcome by the powers of darkness. Satan commissions his angels to be vigilant and overthrow all they can; to find out the waywardness and besetting sins of those who profess the truth, and throw darkness around them, that they may cease to be watchful, take a course that will dishonor the cause they profess to love, and bring sorrow upon the church. The souls of these misguided, unwatchful ones grow darker, and the light of heaven fades from them. They cannot discover their besetting sins, and Satan weaves his net about them, and they are taken in his snare. EW 105.1
God is our strength. We must look to Him for wisdom and guidance, and keeping in view His glory, the good of the church, and the salvation of our own souls, we must overcome our besetting sins. We should individually seek to obtain new victory every day. We must learn to stand alone and depend wholly upon God. The sooner we learn this the better. Let each one find out where he fails, and then faithfully watch that his sins do not overcome him, but that he gets the victory over them. Then can we have confidence toward God, and great trouble will be saved the church. EW 105.2
The messengers of God, as they leave their homes to labor for the salvation of souls, spend much of their time in laboring for those who have been in the truth for years, but who are still weak, because they needlessly let loose the reins, cease watching over themselves, and, I sometimes think, tempt the enemy to tempt them. They get into some petty difficulty and trial, and the time of the servants of the Lord is spent to visit them. They are held hours and even days, and their souls are grieved and wounded by hearing little difficulties and trials talked over, each magnifying his own grievances to make them look as serious as possible, for fear the servants of God will think them too small to be noticed. Instead of depending on the Lord's servants to help them out of these trials, they should break down before God and fast and pray until the trials are removed. EW 105.3Read in context »
Let the brethren in responsible positions talk faith and courage to the workers. Cast your net on the right side of the ship, the side of faith. As long as probation continues, show what can be done by a consecrated, living church. 7T 213.1
We do not understand as we should the great conflict going on between invisible agencies, the controversy between loyal and disloyal angels. Over every man, good and evil angels strive. This is no make-believe conflict. It is not mimic battles in which we are engaged. We have to meet most powerful adversaries, and it rests with us to determine which shall win. We are to find our strength where the early disciples found theirs. “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.” “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” Acts 1:14; 2:2, 4. 7T 213.2Read in context »