Do Not Fear: The Lord of Hosts Is with Us
Observed: October 25, 2020
Martin Luther’s great hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” is based on Psalm
46. When the psalm was first written, it gave courage to God’s Old Testament
people. Centuries later, when Luther wrote the hymn, the world was filled with
plagues and death, and the devil was recognized as active in the lives of
everyday people. Further, neither the Roman Catholic Church nor the
government accepted the teachings of the reformers. Now, in our day, we
face cyber warfare, pandemics, terrorists, political polarization, and
ecclesiastical division. Because of our Baptism into the death and resurrection
of Christ, we need not fear. Our gracious God is a very present help in this
time of trouble. He is our refuge against the powers of the created world
around us and the forces of evil from every source. From His throne flow
streams of mercy to give us confident joy. We know that in the end “the
kingdom ours remaineth.”
“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”
1 A mighty fortress is our God,
A trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from ev'ry need
That hath us now o'ertaken.
The old evil foe
Now means deadly woe;
Deep guile and great might
Are his dread arms in fight;
On earth is not his equal.
2 With might of ours can naught be done,
Soon were our loss effected;
But for us fights the Valiant One,
Whom God Himself elected.
Ask ye, Who is this?
Jesus Christ it is,
Of Sabaoth Lord,
And there's none other God;
He holds the field forever.
3 Though devils all the world should fill,
All eager to devour us.
We tremble not, we fear no ill;
They shall not overpow'r us.
This world's prince may still
Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none.
He's judged; the deed is done;
One little word can fell him.
4 The Word they still shall let remain
Nor any thanks have for it;
He's by our side upon the plain
With His good gifts and Spirit.
And take they our life,
Goods, fame, child, and wife,
Though these all be gone,
Our vict'ry has been won;
The Kingdom ours remaineth.
O God, our refuge and strength, always present in trouble, silence our fears
when Your good creation seems out of control and evil appears to run
rampant. Like the dawning of a new day, dispel the darkness of our hearts and
renew confident faith in Your constant presence and gracious protection. In
Jesus Name. Amen.
OLD TESTAMENT Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we
will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into
the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains
tremble at its swelling. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of
God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she
shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. 6 The nations
rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The LORD of
hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. 8 Come, behold the works
of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth. 9 He makes wars
cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he
burns the chariots with fire. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be
exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” 11 The LORD of
hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
HOLY GOSPEL John 8:31–36
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word,
you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set
you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have
never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become
free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who
practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house
forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be
Things do not seem very calm right now. The natural world seems more
uncertain with bigger storms, bigger fires, and warming temperatures. Nations
are at odds with each other. In our society there is more disagreement than
agreement. We struggle with our own fears and concerns on top of everything
else. It can be quite overwhelming. However, in Psalm 46 we are encouraged
with these words, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in
trouble.” God is telling us we can find calm in the midst of struggle regardless
of the cause. “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God. God
is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved. Be still, and know that I am
God.” These words in Psalm 46 show us that God desires to give us a place
of safety with Him because of the death and resurrection of His Son, our
savior, Jesus Christ the Lord. This is why abiding in God’s Word becomes so
important as Jesus says,
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the
truth, and the truth will set you free.” An example of the truth that sets us free
is found in Romans 8:38-39. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor
angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor
height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” What goes on in this world is
temporary. What God gives in Christ Jesus is for eternity. This is what we
are assured of through the faith God gives us in Jesus. “So if the Son sets
you free, you will be free indeed.”
LORD’S PRAYER Matthew 6:9–13
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy
will be done on earth as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread; and
forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and
lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom
and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. Amen.