This site uses cookies to provide you with more responsive and personalized service and to collect certain information about your use of the site.  You can change your cookie settings through your browser.  If you continue without changing your settings, you agree to our use of cookies.  See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Longing for God Longing for God

Daily Devotional | A Mighty Fortress


In October 1527, Martin Luther’s life looked bleak. He had been hiding for years because of his commitment to salvation by faith alone. In August, the bubonic plague swept the area where he lived. It must have felt like the world was falling apart. In response to this situation, he took comfort in Psalm 46 and wrote the hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

Psalm 46 presents two terrifying images. First, a natural disaster with the ground shaking and mountains tumbling into the turbulent seas (vv. 2–3). Second, we see the foreign nations in an uproar (v. 6). One can imagine vast armies surrounding Jerusalem and threatening its very existence. Yet in the midst of these chaotic and frightening circumstances, the psalmist was able to proclaim, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (v. 1). Israel was able to take comfort, not in a vast army, or strongly fortified city, but in the presence of a God who is able to help (v. 5).

In verses 8–9, the psalmist addresses the nations directly, inviting them to “Come and see what the Lord has done” (v. 8). They are invited to remember the great victories He achieved in the past: the defeat of Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea, for example (v. 9). The tone shifts dramatically in verse 10. The Lord Himself addresses the rebellious and threatening nations. He commands them to “be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations” (v. 10). The command to “be still” is not so much an encouragement to silent meditation but a warning to cease fighting and to acknowledge the Lord’s sovereignty.

>> Terrifying and frightening things happen in the world today. This psalm is a good reminder that God is our refuge and strength. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

Pray with Us

Are you going through difficulties right now? Read Psalm 46 back to the Lord as your prayer, and may its beautiful words strengthen you. Indeed, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1).

BY Ryan Cook

Dr. Ryan Cook has taught at Moody Bible Institute since 2012. He earned his bachelor of arts in Bible and Theology from Moody and his master of arts in Old Testament from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He has worked in Christian education and served as a pastor in Michigan for seven years. During his time as a professor at Moody, he earned his doctorate from Asbury Theological Seminary. He now lives with his wife, Ashley, and their three children in the Chicagoland area.

Find Daily Devotionals by Month