On the eve of the Reformation I am thinking about Psalm 46 – the psalm which we believe Luther based the hymn “a Mighty Fortress is Our God”. After listing all kinds of things that are going on in the world, the psalmists pictures God saying be still, desist and be quiet and know that I am God.
I love going back and reading the thoughts of folks that were around before I was born. Here is a study of the last verse of Psalm 46 that was written a year and a month before I was born. It was written by a Pastor Viehweg. I can imagine him drinking his coffee on the eve of the Reformation celebration and worrying about his world and writing……….
Desist and know that I (am) God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted on the earth.” These words are spoken to the discomfited foes of Jehovah and also to His people . It is a majestic “Hands off”. God wants to bring also His enemies to their senses, to repentance, while they still have a chance. All their attacks cannot dethrone Him, put Him out of existence. They are destroying themselves. These words may also be applied to believers when they are in danger of being overwhelmed by fear. Then the Lord tells them: “Be still, stop fretting and worrying, don’t forget that I am God, that I am able and willing to deliver you from all your troubles.” “Jehovah of Hosts (is) with us; a Refuge for us (is) the God of Jacob. Selah.” This triumphant shout of confidence and defiance, which closed the second strophe, is here repeated and closes the entire Psalm. This blessed truth deserves to be sung twice, it does not get tiresome to a believer. We cannot hear it too often, because we often forget it. As long as the Lord of Hosts is with us, all is well, we need not fear. In the time of the Reformation the Pope and the Turk were the most formidable enemies of the Church. Although many do not realize it, the Pope is still such an enemy, no essential change has taken place. The blasphemous decree of the Council of Trent, putting a curse on sola gratia, has not
been revoked; it is still off1cial doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. The severe verdict of our Confessions, denouncing the Pope as the very Antichrist, is still true. The Turk is no longer a threat as a political power, but Islam still is. In some parts of the world Islam is gaining ground at the expense of Christianity. There is the dreadful monster of Communism, occupying a large part of Europe and
Asia, growing by leaps and bounds, steadily undermining many other countries from within. Communism is not only a political theory, but it is a fanatical obsession, yea, a devilish religion. To these enemies which threaten the Church from without must be added paganism and atheism; from within she is threatened by worldliness and indifference, unionism and separatism. When we commemorate the Reformation of
the Church by Luther, it is well to recognize and face the enemies threatening us today. Humanly speaking, the future of the Church does not look very promising. We are facing overwhelming odds, but also we can boldly bid defiance to all our foes and say: “God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in trouble. Thereforewill not we fear. -The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge.”