When the World Falls Apart

I’ve made Psalm 46 part of my regimen for daily devotions. I’ve found that for this Psalm, and for many parts of the Bible, I prefer the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) to the Common English Bible (CEB). However, for the second verse of this Psalm, I’ve found the CEB invaluable. I’ll get to that in a minute. Here’s Psalm 46 from the NRSV:

1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
Selah [1]

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Selah

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Selah

This Psalm has a lot to say to my heart in the midst of a crisis, but even more when I consider the meaning of the first part of the second verse. As the CEB puts it: “That’s why we won’t be afraid when the world falls apart.” This phase isn’t meant literally (although that would also apply), but figuratively, the way we usually use it. We need not be afraid even when the world falls apart. “In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.” [2] Psalm 46 has offered me a great deal of solace; I hope and pray that the same might be true for you.


[1] The exact meaning of Selah (which has been left untranslated in Hebrew) is not known, but a bit of instruction as to how the Psalm was to be sung in ancient Israel.
[2] From A Statement of Faith of the United Church of Canada.