God is our refuge and strength, a very present help … (Psalm 46:1).

Perhaps the finest of Luther’s great hymns is Ein feste Burg, “A Mighty Fortress.” Its majestic and thunderous proclamation of our faith is a singing symbol of the Reformation. Inspired by Psalm 46, Luther caught up in the hymn the very essence of faith, and the fervor and flavor of patriotism which he found in the Psalm. This Psalm had fortified Luther with courage to defy the whole system of ecclesiastical tyranny in his day, and his hymn has been the bugle call of our Protestant heritage. Before the mighty God and his marching hosts nothing can stand. Staerk calls this composition “the most glorious hymn of faith that ever was sung.”

Oliver Cromwell, aspiring to make England a place where God’s will reigned supreme, asked his followers to sing Luther’s great hymn. “That is a rare Psalm for a Christian,” said Cromwell. “ ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.’ If Pope and Spaniards and devil set themselves against us, yet in the name of the Lord, we shall destroy them. ‘The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.’ ”

Long ago in the fourteenth century when Sergius the hermit was leading his countrymen, and Tartar hordes were overrunning his land, this Psalm was a source of strength and courage. Over and over the godly hermit recited Psalm 46 and then led his revived men in a charge that drove the invaders back and brought ultimate victory.

Throughout the ages men have been stirred by the realization that the Eternal God is available to them and that nothing, literally nothing, can overwhelm or destroy a man when he lives in this faith.

Born In Hour Of Need

No wonder this Psalm is so lifting. It was born in an hour of ...

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