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Appreciating Our Lutheran Hymns

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

A Hymn for Reformation

#262 in The Lutheran Hymnal

Both under King Saul and as king himself, David experienced some amazingly great military feats, many of them against extremely great odds. He had single-handedly slain the great Philistine giant Goliath (see article elsewhere in this issue). He and his soldiers had captured the stronghold of Jerusalem, which he later made his capital city. He had extended the borders of Israel to their greatest extent with victories over all his enemies.

But even with victory after victory, David didn’t forget where the true source of strength lay. He wrote: “God is our refuge and strength . . . ” (Psalm 46:1).

Our church’s namesake, Martin Luther, found a great source of personal comfort and strength in these inspired words of David. They moved him to pen the words of this month’s well-known and much beloved hymn.

For many centuries before Luther, the devil had been increasingly successful in hiding the truth that we are saved by grace, faith, and Scripture alone. Those teachings had become buried beneath the rubble of work righteousness in the Roman Catholic Church. And as God led Luther to uncover those core truths, the devil waged all-out war against him.

Yet, though he often stood alone–as at the Diet of Worms–Luther stood his ground.

From the words of his pen we see that his strength (as was David’s) was in God: “Though devils all the world should fill . . . they shall not overpower us. . . . The Word . . . is by our side . . . with His good gifts and Spirit.”

May the Lord of hosts, the God of Jacob, ever be with us as our Refuge!

–Pastor Paul Krause