(27 verses, 1:12 to read)
What I am about to READ
- A Mighty Fortress is Our God
- Psalm 46 is the basis for what is probably Luther’s most famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”
- vv. 1-3 express an unfailing trust in the Lord.
- This trust is rooted in the objective fact that God is with us, even in the midst of trouble (vv. 4-7).
- The Lord fights for us and wins against our old evil Foe, the Devil, who would easily destroy us (vv. 8-9).
- We can be confident going forward into a world overcome by trouble, because God is with us (vv. 10-11).
- God wants us to confidently trust in Him. The first commandment means that “we should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.” These three words–fear, love, and trust–are synonyms for faith. A heart that trusts in God for every good thing recognizes that all things are received from His gracious hand. This also means that trust placed in anything–our own strength or ability, for example–must be given up, as a man gives up his idols. “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:31).
- We can trust in God because He is with us. This is the difference between the God of Christianity and every other god of every other religion. Those gods are all transcendent, standing above mankind. But we have a God who is with us. Remember the name Isaiah gave for the Messiah? Immanuel! Matthew tells us this means, “God with us” (Matthew 1). That same Jesus promises to be with us wherever two or three are gathered in His name (Matthew 18). He is also with us in our Baptism and in His Word, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28). This also includes giving us His body and blood to eat and drink for the forgiveness of our sins in the Sacrament of the Altar (Matthew, Mark, Luke, 1 Corinthians). He even promises to send the Holy Spirit to comfort us in trouble (John 14-16).
- This means that no matter how difficult life in the world may be, Christ is by our side upon the plain with his good gifts and Spirit. We need not fear anything. Nothing–not life or death or angels or power or anything else in all of creation–can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Even if we were to lose everything in this life, we would still have Christ and His kingdom, which is far greater than anything in this life.
- Not even Satan Himself can do us any harm. By Jesus death and resurrection, he has been judged and cast out of heaven. He has no claim on you, because you belong to Christ. That is why Christ is called the Lord of Sabbaoth (Lord of hosts, the angelic armies). He is a conquering Lord who destroys all the weapons of our Enemy. All the lies and accusations of the sins He throws at you have no effect. Jesus stands are your Redeemer, who has paid the price for your sins and taken them upon Himself and buried them in His tomb. Whenever the devil accuses you, you can call him a liar, for that is what He is. Even death itself, the most dreadful weapon of our adversary, is brought into subjection under Christ. Now death is but a portal to life eternal!
- Notice the double emphasis on the Lord’s presence being with us. This reminds us that the incarnation of Jesus stands at the center of our theology. He was made like us in every way so that He could endure those things that would tempt us, take on our sin, and die on our place. This is the Jesus who is by our side always–even to the end of the age.
Sing A Mighty Fortress is Our God, LSB 656.
A mighty fortress is our God,
A trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from ev’ry need
That hath us now o’ertaken.
The old evil foe
Now means deadly woe;
Deep guile and great might
Are his dread arms in fight;
On earth is not his equal.
With might of ours can naught be done,
Soon were our loss effected;
But for us fights the Valiant One,
Whom God Himself elected.
Ask ye, Who is this?
Jesus Christ it is.
Of Sabaoth Lord,
And there’s none other God;
He holds the field forever.
Though devils all the world should fill,
All eager to devour us.
We tremble not, we fear no ill,
They shall not overpow’r us.
This world’s prince may still
Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none,
He’s judged; the deed is done;
One little word can fell him.
The Word they still shall let remain
Nor any thanks have for it;
He’s by our side upon the plain
With His good gifts and Spirit.
And take they our life,
Goods, fame, child, and wife,
Let these all be gone,
Our vict’ry has been won;
The Kingdom ours remaineth.
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-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN
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