You might know of Martin Luther as the father of the Reformation and that he translated the whole Bible into German. But what is less known is that Luther was also a composer of 37 hymns. His best-known hymn, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," is also called "The Battle Hymn of the Reformation." There are at least 70 different English translations of this hymn. The most popular version, containing the words "A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing," was translated in 1853.
Luther's hymn is based on Psalm 46. In that psalm, the author writes of the refuge and protection that God provides in times of trouble (v.1). Things like natural disasters (vv.2-3) are an ever-present reality. The world has often experienced great devastation and destruction caused by earthquakes, hurricanes, and typhoons. And Jesus warned us of a future cataclysmic and cosmic catastrophe (Luke 21:11,25-26; Matthew 24:29-30; Revelation 16:18-21). But no matter what happens, whatever the outward circumstances, those who make God their refuge and strength are safe (Psalm 46:1-3).
We live in a world of conflict (vv.8-9), with war and hostility between nations commonplace. In the last several decades, hundreds of wars have been fought. Yet Jesus spoke of even more and bigger wars (Luke 21:9-10; Matthew 24:6-7) and the final war of the world, Armageddon (Zechariah 14:2-3; Revelation 16:12-16, 19:11-21). The outcome of that apocalyptic battle will be victory for God's people (Psalm 46:5) and peace for the world (v.9). Twice we are assured that the "Lord of Heaven's Armies" is with us; our God is our fortress (vv.7,11).
No matter the circumstance, God calls us to "be still, and know that I am God!" (v.10). With hope in Him we sing, "A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing." , K.T. Sim, Our Daily Journey
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