God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:1-7 ESV
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. Revelation 22:1-5 ESV
The year 1527 was a very hard year for Martin Luther. He was sick a lot that year. He was a pastor, and one day he got so dizzy during his sermon that he had to stop preaching. During his times of sickness he had a lot of pain and also depression. He sometimes felt as if God had left him. Not only did he have his own problems with sickness, but the plague came to his city of Wittenburg that year. Many people left the city if they could, but Martin Luther and his family stayed. His house became a hospital where people who were sick or dying from the plague could get care, and he watched some of his friends die and even his own son get sick. Many people think it was in 1527 that Martin Luther wrote his famous hymn: “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Psalm 46 was the psalm that gave him the thoughts to write this hymn.
Psalm 46 talks about times when the whole world seems to be falling apart. Everything is so bad that it seems as if the earth is crumbling under our feet, the mountains are shaking and falling into the ocean, and the ocean is roaring and foaming. Nations in the world are angry and fighting wars, and kingdoms are being overthrown. This is picture language for a life and a world that seem out of control. Nothing is going right, and everywhere there are terrible problems and fear. But through it all, the God of the universe and all the angels is with us. He gives us shelter and protection from the world’s violence and fear. There is a city where God is, with a river running through it, and this city will not be moved no matter what.
At the end of the Bible, we see wonderful pictures of the new heaven and the new earth that God promises to his people at the end of time. It talks about the river of life that flows through the city of God which gives life to its people. There are trees with leaves that can heal the things that had been so wrong before. The best part of the city is that God is in it, and his people will see his face and be happy with him forever. When we know God’s care and protection, we have a little taste of that city right now, but because Jesus, the Lamb, gave himself on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven, we know that someday we will go to live in the city of God forever.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your care and protection when the whole world seems wrong, and for giving us your help and peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.