Psalm 46 A Mighty Fortress is Our God

image A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing

Our helper He amid the flood, of mortal ills prevailing. Martin Luther

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. (vv 1-3)

46 is the first of a trio of psalms that celebrate the security of being God’s people. In the same way that it inspired Luther to pen his well known hymn, the psalm fills all believers with confidence knowing that in God the future is secure despite whatever current circumstances might suggest.  The temptation to seek the comfort of the world in surrender is diminished as the knowledge that all is in God’s control with a Holy outcome assured.

Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought 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.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. (vv 8-10)

The words strike the modern ear as jingoistic but this was not the intention of the psalmist. He points to the Lord’s victories as both a warning against attacking Yahweh’s people and as a sign over the walls of Jerusalem that this city belongs to Him. None should be so bold as to attempt to change that ownership and face the certain ruin that follows. God’s voice bellows in the final verse: “Enough! I alone am God and I will be known throughout the world as Lord!”

Let the final words of the psalm infuse your prayers this week, “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

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