“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear.” (Psalm 46:1-2)
Martin Luther’s journal entries inform us of his continual battle against evil forces and that Psalm 46 was a great comfort to him. As he meditated on the words of our text, the thrust of a mighty song was born that openly declared victory in the great battle: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
The battle to be fought is “not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Satan, along with his henchmen, is an ancient foe, “a roaring lion,” as it were, “seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But there is no need for alarm, “the LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Psalm 46:11). He “is our refuge and strength” (today’s text), a bulwark never failing. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
Only God could accomplish this victory, for Satan is “the prince of this world” (John 14:30), “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). No man on Earth is his equal.
But how did the Son of God gain the victory? By taking on Himself “flesh and blood” and dying a substitutionary death, “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). JDM