Music is an amazing gift from God!
It universally allows every human being to praise God in their native language. Many hymns we sing today were written in a different language, such as “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”
Originally written in German by the well-known theologian, Martin Luther, this hymn is the most widely translated around the world.
I remember singing this hymn growing up and I still sing it today. As a child, I didn’t understand many of the big words such as “bulwark” and “Sabaoth” or Old English words like “abideth” and “doth”. Now as an adult, these powerful words hold deep meaning.
The history behind the hymn makes the words even more remarkable.
Set against the contentious backdrop of the Protestant Reformation, this hymn was written around 1527-1529. Martin Luther had posted his Ninety-Five Theses approximately 10 years before he penned this hymn. Luther bravely stood up to the Roman Catholic belief system with Scriptural truth. Had he not done this, we ourselves may have been lost!
“A Mighty Fortress is our God’” has been called “The Battle Hymn of the Reformation.”
Over time, it has become the anthem of the Christian faith.
Martin Luther staked his life upon the certainty of Scripture.
This hymn reflects those deep roots in God’s Word and His character.
A heavily protected, impenetrable building
A defensive wall or barricade
Never leaving us alone to fend for ourselves.
The Right Man on our Side
None could save us, but the Almighty God wrapped in human flesh, willing to exchange His righteousness for our filthy rags of sin.
The Host of Heaven or Commander of Armies
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.
Struggles? Battles? Enemies? Brokenness?
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:
Dost 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.
Verse 3 reminds us of anchoring truth despite these realities.
Truths rooted in Ephesians 6:10-18 which describe our daily battle.
Did you know there is a war going on?
A war not with flesh and blood, but with the powers of darkness.
A war where the Enemy “threatens to undo us”
It may be easy to say we are at war, but are we actually fighting in the war?
Luther’s song rings victoriously with truth:
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
I know in my personal life, I could easily say “Sure, I fight the Devil”, but truthfully,
I slip into fighting myself, which is what the Devil wants.
I also fight God, which is also what the Devil wants.
To fight God and myself, I don’t need many weapons.
Just a few negative thoughts and some misguided theology and I’m set.
The war against Satan needs real weapons.
Weapons we can’t attain on our own.
God provides His own armor for us in the fight against the Devil.
He doesn’t send us to the battle alone, nor does He send us without protection.
The question is, are we really taking up the armor of God and USING it?
God wouldn’t have given us this armor if we didn’t need it.
Take some time today to inspect the armor He provides (Ephesians 13-15)
and decide if you’re choosing to wear it,
or if you’re fighting un-armed.
“One little word shall fell him.”
Luther’s final line of the third stanza reverberates with truth:
It doesn’t take much to get Satan to leave us alone.
Just the name of Jesus.
For at His name alone do all other powers concede. (Philippians 2:10)
In Matthew 4:1-11 we see the Devil lead Jesus into the wilderness, tempting Him to throw away Who He is and His purpose.
Verse 11 says, “Then the Devil left Him”.
What did Jesus do to get the devil to flee?
He used Scripture, the “belt of Truth” and the “Sword of the Spirit”.
He used the Armor of God!
That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever.
“The Spirit and the gifts are ours”
Luther concludes his battle hymn with truths echoed in I Corinthians 12, which speak of the gifts God gives to His children. Do you know your Spiritual gifts? Each gift from God is special and is meant to be used for His glory in specific ways as you live out your everyday life.
How have you used your gifts this week?
The neighbor who can’t get out much, could you run to the store for them?
The child who needs a hug, would you give them one?
The family who is grieving a loved one, would you send them a card or make a meal?
This battle we are in,
it’s conquered by truth, love, and the Name of Jesus Christ by which we are saved.
The truth of God’s Word.
The love He gives us to share with others.
And the testimony of His name, by which every knee will bow, even the Enemy’s!
Be encouraged by Luther’s “Battle Hymn”, Sisters, and make it your own!
Worship III, Day 9
No…He is those things for every imperfect and struggling one of us.
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