Psalm 46 - The Mighty Fortress

Date: 11/21/2010
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Psalm 46  The Mighty Fortress     

Psalm 46 is one of several psalms celebrating the Lord's divine presence and particularly of His presence in Zion (cf. Ps 48, 76, 84, 122 and the royal psalm 132).   It divides into three clear stanzas (1-3, 4-7, 8-11) marked with the term Selah.  Each section recounts God's shielding presence for those in the City of God.   The repeated refrain echoes verse 1 as the theme throughout:   The Lord of hosts is with us;  The God of Jacob is our stronghold!

vv1-3  In the midst of raging waters, we must be courageous

Psalm 46 is a courageous anthem of God's protection and presence in the midst of the world's problems.   Like a scene from any number of disaster movies, the Psalmist paints a vivid word picture to describe worst-case scenarios.  Yet the creation must not shake us to the despair when the Creator is our refuge.  Do things like nature disasters, illness, and death get in the way of your ability to trust God?

vv4-7 In the midst of raging nations, we must be confident

The violence of verses 2 and 3 this then sharply contrasted with tranquility of the God's helping presences with His people.   Whatever the earth or man throws at us, we remain in the unmovable City of God; confident in his guiding presence.  When does our confidence in man-made changes in such as politics, go too far?  When does it not go far enough?

vvv8-11  In the midst of the reigning Christ, we communicate victory!

The entire Psalm echoes Psalm 2 since the protection promised to the king has been given to His capital city also!  But in this last section, both God and community testify to the Lord's exaltation and dominion.  Indeed as Luther's A Mighty Fortress is Our God proclaims:  It is Jesus who is the Lord of Host and the God of Jacob that fights for Israel!  Thus Psalm 46 is a corporate song of victory in the midst of Christ's presence today.  These are powerful words that we must communicate well.

Malcolm West is a graduate of Lancaster Bible College and an intern with All Saints Church in Lancaster, Penn.