Scripture tells us that if the Tribulation would last longer, everyone would die. This will be the most difficult time in all of history. In the last post we considered the poetic description of these terrible times in Psalm 46:2-3.
Provision during Difficult Days
Psalm 46 begins with the assurance that even during these troubling times, God will make provision for his people. Psalm 46:4-5 describe that provision.
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
The setting appears to be the city of Jerusalem. The psalmist refers to it as “the city of God” and the place of His tabernacle. Scripture seems to teach that the nation of Israel will enjoy relatively good circumstances during the first half of the Tribulation Period because of protection afforded them through a covenant with Antichrist. But after the first 3 ½ years he breaks his covenant, and the nations are arrayed against Israel.
Refuge from Hostility Without
I believe that God uses that powers He grants His two prophets to protect Jerusalem from being overrun by her adversaries during the last half of the Tribulation.
Consequently, during “the time of Jacob’s trouble” those in the city find physical refuge. The psalmist expresses this truth in two sentences. The first reads: “God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved.” It is of note that when God is present, He is not just there. Rather, He is always there in the active sense, working things together for our good. We find this same truth expressed in Hebrews 13:5-6: “…for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” Because of the presence of God in their midst, the residents of Jerusalem can be assured that the city will “not be moved,” will remain a place of security.
This Psalm also expresses God’s provision of security in the assertion: “God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.” I sense that a better translation might be, “God shall help her, until the arrival of morning.” In other words, God assures His people that he will not abandon them through the long night of tribulation, but will remain in their midst to protect them until the return of Christ and the dawning of the Millennial Kingdom ahead.
Gladness through Provision Within
Not only does God provide a place of refuge, but He also makes provision within that place of refuge. This truth is stated poetically in the first verse above: “There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.”
During a siege, especially for a city on a hill, one of the greatest needs is a source of water. In fact, during the history of Israel the Jewish people did some special excavation to ensure access to water within the city limits during siege.
This verse teaches that God’s provision produces gladness even in the midst of troubling times.
These Provisions Are Also for Us
The Lord has made similar provision for believers during the church age.
The description of the river and streams above provides a graphic picture of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Though He is a singular Person as the river described above, He flows out as many streams into our individual lives. In fact the word “streams” used in this passage has the root idea of “divisions,” depicting a river dividing into many streams.
In view of the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, the phrase “God is in the midst of her” directly applies to us. As we are confronted with the challenges of life it is a great source of comfort to realize that the God of the universe lives within us. Consequently, the second part of that sentence also applies: We will not be moved.
Not only do we enjoy God’s protection, but also even in the midst of the troubles of life the river of the Holy Spirit can provide gladness to our hearts. The most profound joy and peace I have ever experienced has come in the midst of great trials.
Tribulations are a part of life. How good to know that as we encounter them God will provide us with His protection and provision of gladness until He has brought us through our difficulties to the morning of a better day.