February 24, 2018: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
February 24, 2018
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Today’s Bible Reading: Leviticus 24-25, Psalm 46, Matthew 21:1-11, Acts 28:1-16 Psalm 46: This great psalm, made more latterly famous by Martin Luther’s famous A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, throbs with confidence. “God is our refuge and strength … therefore we will not fear” (46:1-2). There are many reasons to fear in this world. We live particularly these days in a time of fear, even of terror. “The nations rage” (46:6). There are wars and rumors of wars. There are stories of terrible atrocities. There are shootings. There are beheadings. There is enough to keep a sane man awake at night and cause a rational human being to tremble. Life has always had its insecurities. Nature itself is far from the idyllic picture that some naturalists want to make us believe: it is, as the poet put it, “red in tooth and claw.” Or as one comedian said, when he saw nature, he just saw one big restaurant: one thing eating another thing. Yes, there are many reasons to be afraid. Perhaps you are afraid yourself this morning. Perhaps you are concerned about your job, your family, your marriage, or a friendship that is going sour. Perhaps you are worried and fearful about your health. Yes, indeed, there are multiple causes for fear. But “God is our refuge and strength”! And “therefore we will not fear.” Or as Martin Luther put it:
A mighty fortress is our God A bulwark never failing… And though this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, We tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, For lo! his doom is sure, One little word shall fell him.“The nations rage…” Yes, they do. But, “he utters his voice, the earth melts” (46:6). One little word shall fell him. You have not only strength in the mighty power of God, you have in your hands as you read this psalm and the rest of the Bible the mighty Word of that mighty God! His truth. And one little word shall slay him. Truth has its own inherent power in it. Alexander Solzhenitzyn, Nobel Prize winner and literary giant who fought against the atheistic Soviet regime, said in his Nobel Prize winning speech that “one word of truth outweighs the world.” When that word of truth is the Word of God, then, Yes! One little word shall fell him. Take courage in both hands, then, Christian. Quake not and faint not. Instead, “Come, behold the works of the LORD” (46:8). Look at his power throughout the history of the world. Look at how he used Augustine and Luther and Calvin and Spurgeon, how he has used those who clung to his Word to slay giants and outlive evil and overcome devils. Read Hebrews chapter 11, the great roll call of faith, and read of the victory of those who trusted God and took him at his Word. And do not quake. And do not faint. “God is your refuge and strength…therefore you will not fear.” Instead,
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! (46:10)It is said that one time Martin Luther’s wife, Katie, found him in a particularly bad depressive mood, locked in his room. She had the door taken off its hinges, confronted Martin Luther saying, “Is God dead?” No, he is not dead! “Be still and know that I am God.” And, “The God of Jacob is our fortress” (46:11).
A mighty fortress is our God A bulwark never failing…]]>
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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