A Mighty Fortress…



Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

This verse is one of the most well-known in all of the psalms. I’m guessing that many of you have read/heard it before. This verse is also supposedly the inspiration for the Reformation leader Martin Luther’s paraphrase – A Mighty Fortress, a well known hymn of the church.

As I was reading the verse, along with the rest of psalm 46, I thought how dense this verse is. In other words, there is so much meaning contained in just a few words. Rather than summarize, I want to break this verse down word by word using some of my Hebrew language resources as a guide. Stay with me now, this won’t take long.

God is our:

“refuge” – something or someone we turn to for assistance, security, shelter

“strength” – source of being mentally, physically, spiritually strong

“very present” – to be in a specified place or close proximity to someone/something

“help” – one who contributes to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose

“trouble” – an event or situation causing distress or pain

The psalmist is painting a picture for us of a God who is someone to whom we can flee when in trouble.

This morning I’m thinking of my mother-in-law who has had surgeries two days this week and is finally going home. Physical ailment is a source of “trouble” for sure.

What “trouble” emerges for you today? Physical trouble? Financial trouble? Emotional trouble? Relational trouble? Spiritual trouble? _________ trouble?

You’re not alone in that trouble sisters and brothers.

Heavenly Father, you are the One to whom we can turn in times like this. You are the Lord our God, Creator of heaven and earth. Give us grace to place our trust in you, now and always. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

2 thoughts on “A Mighty Fortress…

  1. Bob

    I also was struck by the word ‘very’. God is not just there (present) but VERY present. It implies to me both proximity and ‘intentional’ presence perhaps.

  2. I received some bad news late last night and so today at work I was having a real hard time concentrating on what I needed to accomplish. Finally around noon I said a simple prayer asking that God would help me stay focused. Then I put on my headphones, stared at my blank spreadsheet and somehow got done what I thought would take 3 hours in 90 minutes. It’s a really small insignificant event, but says so much to me. A very present help, for sure.


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