19 04 2009

If there were ever a Psalm writer for our turbulent times, it is Psalm 46. Notice the terminology of verses 1-3 depicting chaos, convulsion, confusion, and calamity. Pretty descriptive of our times of violence, terrorism, nuclear threats, economic upheaval, multi-trillion dollar bailouts and even piracy.

Psalm 46 is called “Luther’s Psalm” (Martin, not me). He put it to a tune and often sang it by himself or with his associates. It’s where he got the inspiration for the hymn, “ A Mighty Fortress.” Here is an interesting sidebar to the Psalm. At the time when the King James Version of the Bible was being translated, Psalm 46 was on the table when William Shakespeare celebrated his 46th birthday. Legend has it that they honored their fellow scholar and master of Elizabethan English by putting his name in the Bible. Count 46 words from the beginning and you will read “shake”. Count 46 words for the end (not counting “Selah”) and your come to the word “spear”. Is it true? Well, the words are there, but it is legend. I just wanted to get your attention.

Psalm 46 starts with the conclusion, “God is our Refuge” and commences to prove the thesis. It ends in verse 11 in the same fashion in which it began. It argues that in our ever changing and tumultuous world we have a God who offers to us the divine coping mechanism. In God we have . . .

1. Refuge

This would be Martin Luther’s “fortress”. Literally it means to “flee”, hence it is a place of refuge. God Himself is our refuge. It is not in our technology, the strength of our armed forces, our satellite intelligence, or whatever. To trust in anything but God as our first line of defense is to find comfort in a lie.

2. Strength

The word used here implies that He is our very source of strength. Without Him we are without strength and defenseless.

3. Help

He is not just a help, He is a present help; not just a present help; He is a very present help. Obviously the word “very” is for emphasis. In Hebrews 13:5 we are reminded that God “will never leave us nor forsake us”. Therefore (verse 2), because He is our refuge, our strength, and our very present help, we will not fear.

4. Courage

The word “fear” speaks of fear from the anticipation of danger. In other words, we need not fear the unknown. Times are hard and promise to get harder. The media seems to play on our fear leaving us in pessimism and paranoia. Whatever we wake up to in the morning, we can sing, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.”




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: