Psalm 46 (ESV)
God Is Our Fortress
1God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Luther’s ramshackle cart wobbled its way to Worms, Germany, in April of 1521. He had been summoned to appear before the Emperor and Catholic prelates to give an account of this new “heresy” he was teaching called “justification by faith alone.” The learned Johann Eck laid out all of Luther’s writings and then asked Luther if he was prepared to recant.
Luther retired to his room that night to think over his answer. His Bible fell open to Psalm 46. Luther returned the next morning to stand before his detractors. In response to their call to recant, Luther responded:
“Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason—I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other—my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”
The Reformation was off and running.
Psalm 46 was Martin Luther’s favorite Psalm. During the dark and dangerous periods of the Reformation, Luther would turn to his trusted friend Philip Melanchthon and exclaim: “Let’s sing the 46th Psalm, and let the devil do his worst!” It inspired his great hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”
No Psalm in all the Psalter expresses the tremendous truth that God’s presence and power are with us in all circumstances more than Psalm 46. We need to know God offers us two kinds of help: a stronghold into which we can flee and a source of strength by which we can face the uncertain future.
–David L. Allen
2Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
from This Day with the Master
by Dennis F. Kinlaw
One of the characteristics of human personhood is that we never find our fulfillment in ourselves. We must look beyond ourselves if we would ever really know fulfillment. As human beings we need purpose and meaning in our lives. We need something of which we can boast, something that gives us some confidence, self-esteem, and inner joy. But the effect of sin on us is such that we naturally look in the wrong places to find this fulfillment. We look for something when we should be looking for Someone. Our true fulfillment, the only ultimate fulfillment, is in God himself.
As we look for fulfillment, we also seek security. We seek it in creatures, institutions, possessions. Again, our sin blinds us and deceives us. All things other than Christ are only temporary refuges. David learned this and said, “God is our refuge.” He is the haven to whom we should all flee. Peter was sensing this when he said to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
Are you looking for a refuge today? A place not only of security but also of fulfillment? Run to Jesus. He is the One you seek.
4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
Cairo has the Nile. Paris has the Seine. Washington has the Potomac. My hometown of Independence, Iowa has the Wapsipinicon (pictured here). But Jerusalem’s river is beyond compare.
Revelation 22:1-2 (NIV)
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
2 Corinthians 1:21 (NIV)
It is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
from My Utmost for His Highest,
by Oswald Chambers
“Be still, and know that I am God.” — Psalm 46:10
Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire. Tenacity is more than hanging on, which may be but the weakness of being too afraid to fall off. Tenacity is the supreme effort of a man refusing to believe that his hero is going to be conquered. The greatest fear a man has is not that he will be damned, but that Jesus Christ will be worsted, that the things He stood for—love and justice and forgiveness and kindness among men—will not win out in the end; the things He stands for will look like will-o’-the-wisps. Then comes the call to spiritual tenacity, not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately on the certainty that God is not going to be worsted.
If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God. “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience” (Rev. 3:10).
Remain spiritually tenacious.
11 The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Will God be worsted? Absolutely not! As Martin Luther wrote, “God’s truth abideth still; His kingdom is forever.”
One of the truly great hymns of the faith — “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” — written in 1529 by Martin Luther — performed HERE by GLAD.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.