When I was a kid, I used to be terrified that our house was going to burn down. I would lie awake in my bed, certain that at any moment I would see smoke coming from under my door, a raging fire just down the hallway ready to engulf my entire family, destroying everything in its wake. Before bed, I would ask my parents to close all the doors (to keep the fire from getting into our rooms) and make sure the oven was off, and every so often, I’d ask them to check our smoke detectors—just in case one was malfunctioning. My parents would do all of these things, lovingly reminding me that I was safe, that nothing was going to happen to me. And they would pray with me, inviting me to bring my fears and uncertainties to God, the One who protects me and strengthens me.
This psalm refers to God as the “LORD of Armies.” This name for God appears most often in the Minor Prophets, both before and after Judah’s exile into Babylon. The lives of God’s people were full of fear and uncertainty, and they were constantly reminded of the power their enemies held over them. Referring to God as the LORD of Armies reminded them of His ability to keep them from harm.
This whole psalm is a reminder of God’s unmatched power. The psalmist writes of God’s ability to provide calm and order in the midst of total chaos. The first stanza speaks of God’s protection from the natural elements, the second of God’s protection from other nations, and the third of God’s protection from fighting and wars. In every stanza, the psalmist reminds us that God is with us—that He is our refuge, that the LORD of Armies is our stronghold. How can we not bow down in praise of such a powerful God? With a God like this on our side, fighting for us, watching over us, our fears don’t stand a chance.
These days, I’m not as scared of my house burning down as I used to be. My fears are more concerned with uncertainty about the future and my need to control things. So although I am not a nation at war, I can still find rest in the fact that the LORD of Armies is with me. He is a refuge for my weary soul, a place of comfort in the midst of chaos. His power is stronger than even the most terrifying of armies, His love deeper than any raging sea. He is strong, He is good, and He will not let me go, even in the fiercest battle.