1 God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the LORD has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.’
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Some weeks, on the news, it would be easy to think that the first stanza of this Psalm simply isn’t true. It’s only to apparent at the moment that we live in a deeply fallen world – a world which often seems somewhat devoid of hope. As we enter the season of Advent this week, we are reminded that we are still in a period of waiting. A period of waiting for Jesus to return and make all things new; to establish his kingdom forever; and wipe away tears from every eye. It’s a season of hope. A season of hope that wars will cease, that bows will be broken and spears shattered, and that the whole earth will learn to be still and know that He is God.

Questions for thought and discussion

  • As you enter this first week of Advent, what are the hopes you hold for yourself?
  • What are the hopes you hold for the young people you have connection with?