One-a-Day...for the Heart: A Mighty Fortress is Our God
David sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang: "The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my Savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my Savior, the one who saves me from violence, 2 Samuel 22:2 (NLT).
David’s not the only one who declared the Lord as his fortress. We do every time we sing the beloved hymn A Mighty Fortress is Our God, written in 1527-1529, by Martin Luther. He wrote the hymn as a paraphrase of Psalm 46, and the intent was to encourage soldiers as they faced fierce enemies during the Reformation. The Message Bible records Psalm 46:1-3 as follows: God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need Him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in sea storm and earthquake, before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains. Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God of Angel Armies protects us.
God of Angel Armies protects us. What a strong statement! Another verse of Luther’s hymn is:
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing, Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God's own choosing. You ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He; Lord Sabaoth His name, from age to age the same; and He must win the battle.
“Lord Sabaoth” means “God of Angel Armies.” What a powerful defense the Lord provides for us!
One day I was in prayer, sensing the Lord’s keen attentiveness to my words. My soul was troubled by some “mountains” that weren’t moving—you know, the kind of troubling annoyances that we put up with from time to time that seem to have no resolution or end? From the depths of my soul, I said words that sounded somewhat familiar, but I wasn’t quite sure of the meaning. With great authority and strength, as I bore my heart to God, I exclaimed, “Suda! Suda! Suda!” It came from a place deep within me. I repeated it, and felt greater strength each time I uttered it out loud. I must find out what this word means, I thought!
I learned that “suda” is a derivation from the Byzantine Greek word “souda,” meaning “fortress” or “stronghold.” I was declaring that God is my “Fortress! Fortress! Fortress!” He absolutely IS, and has been for fifty years. There is no stronger wall of defense again the forces of sin and darkness than the mighty fortress of God. As the song says, He is a “bulwark never failing.” A bulwark is a solid wall-like structure, raised for defense. It is a rampart, which is a protective barrier or ridge. THAT is what stands between us and evil.
In Psalm 144:2 (NLT), David said, He [God] is my loving ally and my fortress, my tower of safety, my rescuer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in Him. Matthew Henry’s explanation of this verse is as follows: “‘My fortress, and my high tower, in whom I think myself as safe as ever any prince thought himself in a castle or strong-hold.’ David had formerly sheltered himself in strongholds at En-gedi (1 Samuel 23:29), which perhaps were natural fortresses. He had lately made himself master of the stronghold of Zion, which was fortified by art, and he dwelt in the fort (2 Samuel 5:7-9), but he depends not on these. ‘Lord,’ says he, ‘Thou art my fortress and my high tower.’ The divine attributes and promises are fortifications to a believer, far exceeding those either of nature or art,” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary).
David also declared this in Psalm 27:1 (NLT), the Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? Jeremiah echoed the same confidence in God when he said, Lord, you are my strength and fortress, my refuge in the day of trouble! (Jeremiah 16:19 NLT). “Fortress” in all these instances means strength, rock, and fortified place.
“Fortress! Fortress! Fortress!” means, “My strength! My Rock! My fortified place!” Is He your fortress? Proclaim Psalm 91:2 boldly today: I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust!” Truly, a mighty fortress is our God!
© 2021, Chris Werre