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God is Our Refuge and Strength
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: Our celebration of the Reformation is an appropriate theme of worship as we reflect on the centrality of the gospel so beautifully expressed in the five solas: We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, as depicted in Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone. Though we rightly focus on the theological content of the Reformation, it is also helpful to recall the pastoral intent of the Reformers, namely that we would trust the Lord in all areas of life. The world in which they lived was as turbulent as ours, if not more so, but the comfort they derived from the Lord is still available to us. Martin Luther expressed this sense of trust well in the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” taken from Psalm 46. Here, the Psalmist acknowledges that God is our refuge and strength even in the most difficult of times (verses 1-3). He asserts that the city of God is set apart from the kingdoms of man such that those who belong to the Lord can be confident in His care and assured of His victory (verses 4-7). He concludes with an exhortation to behold the works of the Lord so we can be still and rest in the Lord (verses 8-11).
01. When God is our refuge and our strength, our fears will be mitigated in light of His promised presence, His powerful potential, and His perfect timing.
02. When God is our refuge and our strength, our joys will be multiplied in light of His desolations on the earth, His resolution to make wars cease on earth, and His exaltation in all the earth.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. Compare Martin Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” with this Psalm. What similarities do you find between the two? What liberties did Luther incorporate into his hymn? How does singing such a hymn based on Scripture instill even more confidence in the Lord?
2. The Psalmist states that God is “our refuge and our strength.” How can we practically demonstrate that we find refuge and strength in the Lord? In what ways do people look for refuge or strength in other places rather than in the Lord? How does this Psalm expose the folly of seeking peace in this world apart from the Lord?
3. How does the “city of God” differ from the “nations” and “kingdoms” of this world? Why do the nations and kingdoms of this world continue to totter? In what ways does the Psalmist assure us that the city of God, or the church, is forever stable despite attacks from the world?
4. What difficulties did Martin Luther face as he rejected the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church? How would you live your life if the majority of “Christians” called you a heretic because you affirmed salvation is through grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone? How would you live your life if you were under the sentence of death for proclaiming this gospel?
5. Read Psalm 46 in the context of our current situation as a nation that is divided and a world that is threatened by natural disasters, pandemics, and war. How can we live with confidence in such tumultuous times? How can we exalt the Lord in such tumultuous times? What does it mean to be still and know He is God in such tumultuous times?
For Further Reading: Roland Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (first published, 1950; Abingdon Press, 2013).