–from Jennifer DiFrancesco
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe—
His craft and pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
~first verse of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” by Martin Luther
Open our eyes to see Your hand,
Strengthen our hearts for the challenges that lie ahead,
Open our ears to hear Your voice. Amen.
Scripture: Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16
In you, O LORD, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me.
Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me.
You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.
Memory Verses: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” ~Psalm 18:1-2
Reading this text, I can’t help but recall making blanket forts as a kid. I must have pulled every blanket out of the closet, off all the beds; and every pillow—decorative or functional—-was in use. A gigantic fort, erected in the middle of the living room, with me in the center at the highest point would always be the end result. Well, it was the highest point until one of our cats thought it could jump on or over it, which caused all my hard work to come crashing down into a heap of messiness. But oh, how awesome it was to be within its walls as long as they stood.
Today’s Psalm was written in a day and age when building materials were difficult to come by and tools were primitive. Often, dwellings and shelters were built into the side of a mountain, utilizing the natural caves in the rock. The caves were a safe place to find shelter and protection during strong storms and enemy attacks.
The Psalmist uses the imagery of hiding in a cave for protection and applies it to God. The imagery brings to mind moments when we’ve taken shelter—when we’ve been protected. And then the Psalmist leaves us with reminders that God is greater, grander, and more secure than any fort we’ve been in or could ever erect ourselves. God is the one that will provide the protection that we desire and need.
Questions to Spark Conversation:
~When have you been afraid or frightened?
~What do you do when you are afraid?
~Who are the people in your life who provide protection? How do you feel in their presence?
Go ahead, pull out every single blanket you have in your house and make the grandest blanket fort you can. Perhaps grab a flashlight and read these verses while taking cover in your fort.