The Reformation hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” written by Martin Luther was based on Psalm 46. God is our fortress and refuge. God is a river, lives with us and within us, and protects us from the “uproar of nations.” Today we look at part three of the Psalm, verses 8-11.
“Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has bought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
At face value, we might question this part of the Psalm. We do not see the end of wars yet, nor the end to weapons with which we try to dominate others – spears and shields. No! “Our evil foe doth seek to work us woe. His power and might are great and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.” Stanza one echoes the chaos of evil in our world.
The Psalmist, though, shares of God’s determination to win and to be exalted. We have a hint of this as we see education, medical hospitals, orphanages, social services, and environmental care proliferate where the Gospel is spread. Christianity is not the only spreader of good but only God is truly good so where there is good there is God, fighting evil. He will win.
Where are you at war today? Perhaps it is with a friend, or a bad experience that has left you broken and guilty, or with grief that has left you feeling so alone. We fight many wars other than the military ones that are reported in the news. The Psalmist tells us to “be still and know that I am God.” So how do you calm your soul when you are pulled apart by strife and worry? For some it is meditation while for others it is music, a walk in nature, sleep, or even a good cry. It will always involve shifting our attention from ourselves and our problems to the reality of God in the midst of our struggles. We may not see him but we can see the signs of his presence – clouds, smiles, nature, hugs, laughter of children. Perhaps write a list of ways you can be still and know that God is present. He is the fortress surrounding you. Blessings.