Sunday, July 19, 2009

Top Ten Hymns Countdown #5: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Ein Feste Burg Ist Unser Gott is probably the best-known hymn in the German language, written by one of Germany's greatest and most famous men nearly five hundred years ago. Martin Luther's words were translated from German to English by Frederic Hedge in 1853, and it has become extremely well-known in the English language as well. Luther also is credited with the music to this hymn.

The words, when meditated upon, have a much stronger meaning when one remembers that Martin Luther was the greatest figure of the Reformation. He was targeted by the established Catholic church and by certain rulers for destruction, and was fought fiercely in both religious and royal circles. His followers suffered persecution for Christ's sake. His life encountered tribulations. Through the midst of all this, however, he stood strongly for the cause of Christ and fanned the flames of Protestantism—thereby changing the world forever.

The words speak of a faith that is stronger than most men have....God has no equal; He will win the battle; His kingdom is forever. I hope that all of us will beg God for this kind of faith.

This hymn, like #7 on the list (see below), was also sung at President Eisenhower's funeral.

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

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 power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

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.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Past Entries in this Series:

Top Ten Hymns Countdown #6: To God Be The Glory
Top Ten Hymns Countdown #7: Onward Christian Soldiers
Top Ten Hymns Countdown #8: How Great Thou Art
Top Ten Hymns Countdown #9: It Is Well With My Soul
Top Ten Hymns Countdown #10: All Creatures of Our God and King


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