A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (2)
Every Friday in 2015 we consider a verse from our “Hymn of the Month.”
Did we in our own strength confide
Our striving would be losing
Were not the right Man on our side
The Man of God's own choosing
Dost ask who that may be
Christ Jesus it is He
Lord Sabaoth His name
From age to age the same
And He must win the battle
Psalm 46 was a favorite of Martin Luther, the Reformer who wrote A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. When times of danger or darkness arose he was known to ask his friends to join him in singing his favorite Psalm. And it is upon that Psalm that Luther based his most famous hymn.
One of the beautiful elements of A Mighty Fortress is how each verse builds off of the previous. Last week we ended by considering the power of Satan and the feebleness of man in comparison. We pick up that thought this week with the words, “Did we in our own strength confide; Our striving would be losing.” The Bible says that apart from the regenerating work of God, all humans are dead in their sin (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13). Ever since the fall in Genesis 3, mankind has lacked the power to stand against the power of Satan.
If we left the story there, it would be a tragedy. But it is not a tragedy because there is an exception. Our attempts at fighting the devil would be hopeless “Were not the right Man on our side; The Man of God’s own choosing.” There is hope! There is a man who has power over Satan! There is a man who has the strength to stand! But who can it be?
“Christ Jesus it is He; Lord Sabaoth His name.” This is the God-Man. The Messiah who is God incarnate. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). He is the one who is powerful enough to defeat Satan. Why? Because even as he is fully man, he is also fully God. He is Lord Sabaoth. Sabatoth is a transliteration of the Hebrew word for “hosts” or “armies.” In other words, Jesus commands the angelic armies. He is their Commander in Chief.
In addition to being the Lord of Hosts, “From age to age the same; And He must win the battle.” “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is immutable in his being and character. Who Jesus was he is and will always will be. And since he is God not only will he win the battle against Satan, he must win it! It is guaranteed.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war… And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet… These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur” (Revelation 19:11, 19-20).
What good news it is that we have “the right Man on our side.”