I’ve read President Obama’s speech. The third paragraph in his speech is a quote from Psalm 46. Unfortunately, I have not been able to see the connection between the scripture quoted and the remainder of his speech:
'There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.' Psalm 46:4-5 New International Version copyright 2010.
I cannot understand this context to mean that Tucson is the “city of God”. Surely he could not have seen the United States as he quoted “God is within her, she will not fall”? Or was the reference to Representative Gifford as he continued, “God will help her at break of day”?
In other words, I do not see the usefulness of including these verses in his memorial speech.
Personally, I would have found comfort in the first verse, which speaks directly to times of trouble:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalms 46:1 KJV)
Verses two and three describe those troubles as catastrophic events:
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. (Psalms 46:2-3 KJV)
Verses six through nine appear to describe a rebelliousness that is summed up in verse 8:
Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. (Psalms 46:8 KJV)
Where’s our hope, then? I find a verse just below this that might be applicable when we are afraid, lonely and feel bereft:
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalms 46:10 KJV)
This Psalm is incomplete without the beginning verse, and it’s ending verse:
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. (Psalms 46:11 KJV)
The Lord of hosts, and nothing more, truly is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Perhaps it was our president’s desire was to share his belief in the Lord described in this Psalm, and to send us to read His word. Under any circumstances, may God bless the reading of His word and fulfill His promise:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11 KJV)