A Mighty Fortress
by pastor Andy Lauer
Each of these devotional blogs entries is meant to be read on your own or if you have family or friends you live with, to be read together aloud. A suggestion is to do this after you have dinner around the table together. At the conclusion, please spend time in personal reflection or in sharing with one another your answers to the questions at the end. Be sure to conclude with prayer.
Read Psalm 46.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46:1-3
Fear. It’s all around us. Fear is much of what drives the current situation in which we find ourselves. Fear drives news cycles, political attacks, and shut downs. Some fear is grounded in reality; much of it is not. As believers in the Jesus Christ and the Bible, we should not be directed by fear but instead by God’s Word and our faith and trust in Him.
Psalm 46 is a great reminder to us of our God to whom we should turn with complete trust and dependence in troubling times. It reminds us that He is our refuge and strength—not governments, not science, not quarantines. After all, God is completely trustworthy, unlike earthly governments, leaders, and experts who sometimes lead astray either through ignorance, mistake, selfishness, or malfeasance. As believers, do we really want to be dwelling in such a precarious house of cards which human hands have built, or do we want to reside in a dwelling place that “will not fall” (v. 5) and where gladness flows to those who inhabit it (v. 4), where the eternal Father himself resides, who is our “fortress” (vs. 7, 11)?
One of my favorite hymns was penned by Martin Luther: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” It was based on one of Luther’s favorite psalms—you guessed it, Psalm 46. During the dark and perilous days of the Reformation when Luther was fleeing for his life from the Roman Catholic church, it is said that Luther would often say to his friend and companion, Philip Melanchthon, “Let us sing the 46th Psalm, and we will defy the devil and his emissaries to do their worst!”
Do you have that kind of confidence in the Lord and His Word today? Do you, in the strength of the Lord defy Satan and his earthly emissaries to do their worst, or are you overcome with worry and fear about the current state of worldly affairs? If you are feeling overwhelmed, Psalm 46 is a great passage to dwell on. In fact, three times, once after each section in Psalm 46, the Hebrew word “Selah” is employed. Bible scholars believe Selah was a musical notation used to indicate when a pause in the music was to take place and for those who were singing or listening to stop and meditate on what was just sung. For example,
“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah [Stop and think about that!]” (v.11).
Reread Psalm 46. Stop and think about it. Spend some time asking the Holy Spirit to speak courage and strength into your life for these times based upon His Word. Then, commit yourself to living fearlessly, come what may.
Listen to the song A Mighty Fortress Is Our God by Heartsong