Needing some encouragement in the midst of this challenging time? Listen to this message on the Psalm that encouraged Martin Luther to write the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”
A Mighty Fortress is our God
Reflections from Psalm 46
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – March 22nd, 2020
- Because of fastly changing and challenging times we are in, I am putting a “pause” on our series in Mark for a time so we can gain perspective and comfort from the word to strengthen, comfort and equip us in reflecting Christ in times of crisis.
- The passage that came to my mind when I was praying and thinking about you and this Sunday is Psalm 46. Go ahead and open your Bible to it if you have not done so already. This is the psalm that inspired the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God” written by the leader of the protestant reformation Martin Luther when he was facing great difficulty and upheaval in the 1520’s. The opening line goes like this:
“A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.”
- God is indeed a mighty fortress, a bulwark never failing, our helper in mortal ills prevailing. My hope is that from our time together in the word, your mind will be focused, your fear will be lessened, and your faith and resolve will be strengthened.
The provision of God
Ps 46:1-3 ESV
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
- God is our refuge – in Him we find our shelter from danger.
- God is our strength – in Him we find our strength to move forward.
- God is very present – in Him we find our companionship for our journey.
- God is a help in trouble – in Him we find help when we are in difficulty and trouble.
- Trust in God because He in our “safe place.” Trust in God because He is strong. Trust in God because He is present. Trust in God because He will help when you are in trouble.
- Therefore, because of who He is and His provision for us, we will not fear. Even though the earth gives way, the mountains be moved, the waters roar and foam and at their flooding the mountains tremble. Even though all the things that we count on, all of the things that we think are unchanging and unmovable, are shaking and shifting, trembling and travailing, we don’t have to be afraid! Why? Because God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
- Put your trust in what is true about Him. Put your trust in the character of God, not in the condition of the world. There is no reason to fear even if the world is in chaos. The world will change, but God will never change. In this world, be wise and do not be overcome with fear. Let the strength and presence of God fill your life so that you can be strong and courageous (not contagious) in the mist of the storm.
- Next, the psalmist shifts to another perfective that puts in our mind the power and sovereignty of God.
The power of God
Ps 46:4-7 ESV
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 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. Selah
- The scene shifts from the things of earth to the things of heaven, from a place that is always shifting to a place that shall not be moved. In this city there is a river whose streams make glad the city; this is the river of life that we seen in the book of Revelation. This is a place that is the “holy habitation” of the “Most High” God. This is the place where God dwells, and because God dwells there, it will not be shaken. This is the place where you are a citizen if you are in Christ. This is your real home, a place where God lives, a place that is forever glad, a place that cannot be shaken.
- He will help her, He will help His people . . . when morning dawns, this place will be fully revealed at the light of a new day. But also know that there will be times of darkness that we will go through, but the good news is that times of darkness will not last forever! There is always the dawn of hope for the children of God. We will get through this, and even if you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, even when you die, there will be a new day of dawn. So, don’t be afraid.
- The nations will rage, because this is what nations do, the kingdoms will totter, because this is what kingdoms do, these things are not at peace and these things are prone to fall, but God, when He speaks, everything changes. With His word the world is created, and with His word the world will pass away. He is the one who is sovereign, and He is the one who will have the last word.
- Know that the “Lord of Hosts” is with us – the one who has all power, the one who is in charge of all things. He is with you. The God of Jacob is our fortress. The God who gives His covenant of Love to us, He is the one that we are to come to, he is our safe place, and He is our protection as a strong fortress, “A mighty fortress is our God . . . “
- The next thing the psalmist wants us to focus on is the presence of God and what His presence brings.
The presence of God
Ps 46:8-11 ESV
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!” 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
- Look to and behold the works of the Lord, His presence brings judgement on the earth. He makes wars cease, He breaks the bow, shatters the spear and burns the chariots with fire. These things will stop and will not be used any longer. God’s presence changes things.
- So “be still” and “know that He is God.” This is especially important right now where so much is changing every day, and the news get bleaker all the time. It is easy for our minds and our hearts to race. Don’t let your focus be on what is changing, but let your focus be on the one who never changes. Be still and know that He is God. You need to do this. You need to focus on His provision, His power, and His presence. Be still and know these things.
- He will be exalted among all the nations; He will be exalted in all the earth! He is the one who is with you, He will be the one who is standing at the end, He is the one who will be acknowledged for who He is, He is the one that will be exalted. He is the one who is with you, He is the God of Jacob, He is your fortress. So therefore, don’t be afraid, God is our refuge and our strength, every present help in time on trouble.
- Our God is a God of provision. Our God is a God of power. Our God is a God who is with us. He is a very great, and powerful, and personal God. Continue to put your trust in Him, continue to do good in the land of the living. Be strong and courageous for the Lord is with you.