Prime Ministers come and go but God's faithfulness remains

(Photo: Reuters)

Strange as it might seem, Mrs May's resignation reminds me of a fish. Its name escapes me but it's the one I like to refer to as "four eyes" because it is able to look at the world above and below the water at the same time. 

The life of faith is something like that. As we go through life we should have our eyes fixed on the risen Lord as well as on the world we live in. For we need to see this world and the things that happen in the light of God's plan and purposes.

Psalm 46 is particularly helpful here. It seems to have been written at the time of some great national deliverance when Jerusalem was delivered from her enemies. Biblical scholars know that there were several such occasions and we can't be absolutely sure which one this one refers to. But the situation envisaged in the Psalm together with its resonance with passages in the Book of the prophet Isaiah suggest that it could well have been composed after the overthrow of Sennacherib's army in 701 BC.

That was a very significant moment when God revealed Himself in history. He had intervened, demonstrating his power and his ability to save those who put their trust in Him. Christians of course read this Psalm in the light of Easter Day, the day when we remember God's mightiest intervention of all.

The threat of disorder and chaos is always with us. And even thought the opening verses speak explicitly of the disasters of nature the imagery also reminds us of the vagaries of history. In that sense then the roar of the seas hint at the roar of the nations, and the collapse of the mountains call our attention to the collapse of kingdoms.

The references to a shelter, a stronghold and citadel are clearly important too. They tell us that God does not guarantee a trouble-free life but that whatever happens to us, He can protect us and save us.

Like the ancient Israelites, we can be tempted to place our trust in all sorts of political and military alliances, but the Psalmist would encourage us to trust God, believing He is in ultimate control and is working His purposes out.

Even Winston Churchill seems to have known something of this comforting presence, which is why he is reported to have said at the height of the war with Nazi Germany, "I sometimes have a feeling of interference, I want to stress that I have a feeling that some guiding hand has interfered."

But for the Psalmist, this was much more than a feeling. He was full of confidence because he had first hand experience of what God can do. God is on His throne, he assures us and no power on earth or in heaven can topple Him or frustrate his plans.

Old Testament worship characteristically looked forward. We see this here in the phrase "I will be exalted". Christians know that this is a pointer to the day when God's kingdom will come in all its fullness. It is the day when every knee will bow in adoration before Jesus and the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. Until then we can expect times of turbulence and confusion.

Put simply the Psalmist saw the deliverance of Jerusalem as a preview and a pledge of what is going to happen, a foretaste of the glory to come when His will is done on earth as it is in heaven. This vision should remind us then of the prophecies of Isaiah about the beating of swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks and the using of military boots and bloodstained garments as fuel for the fire (Isaiah 2 and 9).

In one sense, the Psalmist presents us with a picture of total devastation with broken bows and shattered spears. But for those who trust in the God of Israel, there is the promise of peace and glory. Ultimately then, Psalm 46 is a hymn of praise and assurance. God is with us now, and we can be completely confident about the future even when a Prime Minister resigns and Brexit chaos abounds.

This is why we can do nothing better than heed the Psalmist's words "Be still and know that I am God". It should be our prayer that Mrs May will do this too.

Rob James is a Baptist minister, writer and church and media consultant to the Evangelical Alliance Wales. He is the author of Little Thoughts About a Big God