A Mighty Fortress is Our God: verse 1

“ A Mighty Fortress is Our God”

1 A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
does seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

This famous hymn that came out of the Reformation that we will celebrate on October 31 was written by Martin Luther.  It is based on Psalm 46.  We looked at verses Psalm 46:1-3 yesterday.  Today we focus on verses 4- 7.

         “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.  Nations are in uproar, kingdoms    fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.  The Lord Almighty is with us;          the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

What jumps out to you?  I first notice the flowing river that not only quenches thirst but also brings gladness.  A glass of cold water in the midst of a hot day is a big gift and satisfies.  “Bulwark” to me implies something that not only protects like a fortress but also supports like water when thirsty and like gladness when we are sad. 

         The New Testament talks about our bodies being the “temple of God.”  So God satisfying our thirst, bringing gladness, dwelling within us, and allowing us not to fall all makes sense.  We stumble but He is our help and strength when we are under attack. 

         Even today we know about nations in “an uproar” and fighting each other but we are promised the God of Jacob as our fortress.  Our ancient foe, Satan, does seek to work us woe.  We are reminded that the God of Jacob is with us.  Like Jacob we face deserts, family dysfunctionality and challenges, as well as struggles with our own siblings and all those fears.  I suspect many of us can identify. God did not erase problems from Jacob’s life but walked with him and was his fortress, his river when thirsty and present in his crises.  The Reformation affirmed our relationship that is that close to God through prayer and Scripture – in our own language, without intermediaries and without having to pay indulgences.  A mighty fortress is our God!

         So as we contemplate the images today, ponder if you need the protection of a fortress, the refreshing of a river, the presence of an indwelling Spirit or calm from the political chaos around us.  Sing verse 1 again and read verses 4-7 of Psalm 46.  A mighty fortress is our God!  Blessings.

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