A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing…
For many of us, our first exposure to the Reformation of the 16th Century was through the words of this hymn penned by Martin Luther. It’s words resonate, both in the original music and in contemporary translation, in worship services today.
But this familiar hymn is only a small part of the sweeping changes that Luther kindled in Christianity of his day. He advocated the ability of lay people being able to have access to the Bible. In his day, the Bible was only translated in Latin, and those Bibles could only be read by a priest. Most churches chained their only Bible to the pulpit.
The reform kindled by Luther also introduced a new means of communication: the printing press was motivated by the belief that as many people as possible should be able to access the Bible in a language they could understand. If you can read and understand a Bible in your language, you owe a debt of gratitude to this German monk.
I truly believe the song he is best known for was his testimony. Luther knew attacks, not only from religious corners but political and spiritual as well. For him, spiritual warfare was so real that late one night, he threw an inkwell at a wall where he saw the Devil standing tormenting him.
Maybe you need to “hide” in that fortress today. It is a protection that will never fall.
God is my rock, my fortress, and my salvation.
I hope today, no matter what you may be going through, He is your fortress as well.
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 pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
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.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
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.
That word above all earthly pow’rs, 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.
— Martin Luther