Dear Ministry Partner,
Dallas county, in which ZLM operates, has been ordered to shelter in place until at least April 30. Essential businesses may continue operating for essential needs, such as groceries and urgent medical care. Most of us have remote access to our office computers, so we are still processing donations and purchases but not “rushing” orders. Our staff’s prayers go up daily for everyone affected by today’s pandemic respiratory virus, which has caught the world off guard.
As you and I struggle in stressful and uncertain times, let’s take a break from our monthly study in Ecclesiastes to look at an encouraging and uplifting Psalm. Numerous psalms offer reassurance, but for this hour, I believe Psalm 46 is ideal for lifting our spirits and enabling our souls to rejoice in our almighty God. In fact, it was Psalm 46 that inspired Martin Luther to write that powerful hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”
I pray that for the next few minutes you can set aside the anxieties of your current life and allow the wisdom of this psalm to bring peace and rest to your soul and mind.
Before picking up my pen (yes, I write on paper before going to the computer), I always read the chapter or passage at hand in several different translations. I found a consistent title to Psalm 46: To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A Song for Alamoth.
This psalm was not given to just anyone but rather to the musician of the highest rank in the Temple. The sons of Korah were perhaps Levites who served in the Temple, and the term alamoth indicated it was to be sung by soprano or tenor voices. This psalm’s purpose was to stir the soul of Israel to trust God in all things.
The psalm, or song, divides naturally into three sections.
Verses 1–3 identify God as the Refuge for all His chosen people.
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
God will always be present to help. No matter what happens, He is the Believer’s haven (“Believers” is short for “believers in Yeshua/Jesus as Messiah.”).
Another psalm of David (Psalm 62) tells us, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Psalm 62:8)
Never forget that God is our refuge now just as He was when David penned this psalm. God alone is our all in all. He is our sufficiency and our defense in every emergency. He is by our side; this is emphasized by the word “very” in verse 1 of Psalm 46.
Verses 2 and 3 follow the declaration of the first with a confidence in God. “Therefore we will not fear.” Even if the foundations of the earth give way to floods and earthquakes destroy dynasties, when Believers are persecuted around the world for their faith and the worst seems to have come, our confidence and trust remain in God. The section ends with the term Selah, which is a pause or rest in a musical score but can also represent a moment for the reader to meditate on the words just read. So, please take a moment.
Verses 4–7 instill confidence that God is the life-giving Defender of His people.
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. 5God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. 6The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. 7The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
We read in verse 4 that Jerusalem and the city’s peace were secured by God. We can be confident that God will, one day in the future, secure the peace of Jerusalem for all eternity. His presence is like a flowing river. It is the water of life. The Lord’s river in Zion is clear, cool, fresh, and abundant.
In times of war, Middle-Eastern cities feared a cut-off water supply. If the city’s water was secure, it could hold out against a siege. The all-sufficient grace of God is like an unending, refreshing river that will sustain the Believer until the end of the age. John wrote about it in Revelation 22:1, “And the angel showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
Verse 5 reminds us that just as God was in the midst of Jerusalem so that the only way to defeat the Holy City was to defeat Him, so it is with Believers today. He is here. He indwells His people in the presence of His Holy Spirit. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19–20, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For, you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
He never forgets us. He is never late. It appears that though the world is in the darkest hours of the night, when the morning light shines, we will see His hand of love, mercy, and grace everywhere. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22–23)
Verse 6 brings great encouragement to know that the voice of God changes the earthly scene in a snap for the Believer. He is a fortress, a high place, and a stronghold to His people. So, speak a word of hope from God to your neighbor, friend, spouse, or child. Each one of us as Believers in Yeshua can be a shining light of the Gospel, if only from a social distance.
Verse 7 follows with a reminder that “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” Again, now is a good time to rest and meditate on the verses in this section.
The last section of this psalm, verses 8–11, focuses on the exaltation and worship of God.
Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has made desolations in the earth. 9He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire. 10Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! 11The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Verses 8 and 9 are an invitation to view the mighty works of God in upholding and sustaining His people. He stepped in on behalf of Israel and defeated its enemies, and He will do that for you and me.
We know that the spiritual battle has already been won on the Cross. Now we wait for the ultimate and glorious victory when He appears as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and rules a new Heaven and Earth from the eternal city, Jerusalem.
The final two verses remind the reader how the psalm began, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Because of that promise, we can be still and trust that God is in control of the world He created, even if it looks to be out of control.
I don’t believe that verse 10 tells us to sit on our hands and do nothing. We have obligations as Believers to minister in whatever God has called us to do individually. He gave us that assurance to remind us He is here and that we can call on Him.
Verse 11 gives a different perspective of His presence. “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” — Rest.
Standing firm with Israel and ZLM,
P.S. God is, of course, omnipresent; so, unlike our ministry’s staff, He cannot be “sheltered in place” at any time. We are a resourceful bunch, however, and are processing badly needed contributions remotely from home. Thanks so much for those!
On every Our Jewish Roots program, we encourage you to Sha’alu shalom Yerushalayim, Hebrew for “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Praying for Jerusalem and all of Israel is vital, but so is financially supporting the Holy Land. One of the best ways to uphold Israel is to go there as soon as today’s pandemic has run its course.
Israel needs visitors! Tourism provides a substantial source of revenue for the Holy Land. Pilgrims not only walk where our Savior walked, but also fulfill Isaiah 60:10, which prophesies “foreigners shall build up your walls.” If you feel called to fortify the walls of Jerusalem and enjoy a life-changing experience, please contact Zola Tours manager Sandra at 214-696-9760, firstname.lastname@example.org, or levitt.com/tours. She can help you prepare for your journey of a lifetime!
|Deluxe (Israel only)||Oct 19–29||$5,288|
|Grand Petra (Israel & Petra)||Oct 19–Nov 01||$6,488|
|Grand Athens (Greece & Israel)||Oct 13–29||$8,288|
|Ultra Grand (Greece & Israel & Petra)||Oct 13–Nov 01||$9,488|
Blessings and shalom. May the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob guard and keep you during these unprecedented times. More than ever, we Believers need to dig deep into our faith to find the peace that passes all understanding and a joy beyond what we can imagine. We are thankful that our God doesn’t sleep or slumber (Psalm 121:4). Rest assured, even in these days with circumstances changing on a daily basis, our God remains unchanged.
As Believers in Yeshua, we need to focus on the silver linings, even though they may be difficult to see. While our ministry office is closed through April 30 due to a county decree, more viewers than ever are at home and available to benefit from our television program, news magazines, website, and social media outreach. Abiding by the shelter-in-place rulings, hungry souls are seeking sources of hope — exactly the bread we cast upon the water via Our Jewish Roots (OJR). That’s why we need your donations and prayer support at this tumultuous time.
ZLM has never asked the needy for contributions; longtime readers and viewers know this. Meanwhile, we didn’t anticipate being handicapped on filling orders for our Bible teaching materials. Understandably, our revenue is way down. However, we still need to keep spreading the Gospel and the message of Christianity’s Jewish roots.
If you believe in what this ministry does (and you’re financially able), would you prayerfully go “above and beyond” with a gift toward our work? You are vitally important to the ministry that Zola began four decades ago. Also, please continue ordering our teaching resources; just give us an extra week or so to deliver.
In our brand-new television series Kings and Kingdoms, Dr. Jeffrey Seif teaches from the Books of 1 and 2 Kings. He examines the rulers of ancient Israel and Judah, who reveal lessons in Godly leadership. David and Kirsten Hart discuss their applications for today. Throughout this eight-part series, we hear Israeli perspectives on the kings, and Sarah Liberman teaches Hebrew words for worship.
As people of faith, we ministry workers will continue to walk into these next weeks and months of uncertainty even when we don’t see a clear path. After all, we know that God will provide a way for us — just as He did for Moses and the Israelites. God is a way-maker. It’s part of His character, and we trust that He will continue to provide sustenance and direction for us all.
Thank you in advance for all you do to keep this ministry alive and effective. Please continue to pray for us, as we will be praying for you. Keep watching OJR on television, your computer, or your smart phone! At www.levitt.com, our television programs and news magazines are just a click away.
Sha’alu shalom Yerushalayim! —
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! (Psalm 122:6)
David & Kirsten
P.S. Let our ministry’s website www.levitt.com be a source of learning and growth during your time at home. You’ll find an abundance of online reading, answers to frequently asked questions, and a library of all our best television programs. Just think of the wisdom available to you for free!
God is the New Testament Believers’ refuge, just as He was and still is Israel’s protector and refuge today.
“Here is my donation for May, with my prayerful hope that ZLM staff and partners remain healthy to spread the Gospel and rejoice.”
Jeff and Sandra examine Psalms 120 to 134, which are known as the “Psalms of Ascent.” While these psalms may have been sung by ancient Jews going up to the Temple in Jerusalem, they are surprisingly appropriate and timely for Believers today.
This ancient Messianic symbol combines the menorah, Star of David, and Christian fish. Whether you put our unique golden decal on your Bible, car window, doorpost or purse, you can be sure to stir curiosities and witnessing opportunities with this tribute to light, God and abundant love.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Printed on removable vinyl, this incredible bumper sticker measures 3–3/4” by 11–1/2” and has a striking 3-D effect. Pass some on to your friends!