Intro to scripture:
Psalm 46 is written as a song. It actually has a subtitle telling us it is a song. One translation actually reads, “For the conductor, … A song for soprano voices.” There are also three indicators written in the Hebrew that suggest a pause or a breath between stanzas. There’s a verse repeated at the end of two out of the three stanzas that make up that psalm. The Bible records this repeated verse or chorus in verse seven and eleven, but it probably also belongs at the end of the first stanza, verse three. The chorus goes like this: The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge/haven. Selah
If these two names for God sound a bit odd, here is some context. The “God of hosts” refers to lots of angels – hosts of them, scores of them, an army of them at God’s disposal. (Nice.) If Jacob does not ring any bells for you, may I remind you of the stories of the brothers Jacob and Esau. Jacob is a scoundrel and cheats his brother out of his inheritance. Years later he is about to have a family reunion with Esau and Jacob wrestles with an angel all night. The angel blesses him with a new name. His new name is, “Israel.” Yes, that Israel – the one from whom the people of Israel derived their name. He ends up being a nicer guy and is remembered fondly. So our Psalmist is truly dropping some big names for God. A contemporized translation, The Message, says the chorus like this: Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God-of-Angel-Armies protects us. Now, that sounds a bit different, doesn’t it! Sounds a bit more action-oriented and powerful. Sign me up.