When French villagers helped Jewish refugees hide from the Nazis during World War II, some sang songs in the dense forest surrounding their town—letting the refugees know it was safe to come out from hiding. These brave townspeople of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon had answered the call of local pastor André Trocmé and his wife, Magda, to offer wartime refuge to Jews on their windswept plateau known as “La Montagne Protestante.” Their musical signal became just one feature of the villagers’ bravery that helped save up to 3,000 Jews from almost certain death.
In another dangerous time, David sang when his enemy Saul sent nighttime assassins to his house. His use of music wasn’t a signal; rather, it was his song of gratitude to God his refuge. David rejoiced, “I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble” (Psalm 59:16).
Such singing isn’t “whistling in the dark” during danger. Instead, David’s singing conveyed his trust in almighty God. “You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely” (v. 17).
David’s praise, and the villagers’ singing in Le Chambon, offer an invitation to bless God today with our singing, making melody to Him despite the worries of life. His loving presence will respond, strengthening our hearts.
How do you feel when you’re singing your favorite praise song? Why do praise songs inspire us to feel stronger?
In Psalm 59, the author uses the word fortress four times to underscore his view of God during life’s difficulties (vv. 1, 9, 16, 17). A fortress is a place of safety and security. It’s both a place of defense and rest, as well as a place where needs are met. It’s also where the enemy can be safely engaged. In verse 1, God is a fortress who protects from attacks. Verse 9 provides its own unique perspective to the idea of God as fortress. There the author says, “I watch for you.” When danger looms, the psalmist looks in confident expectation for the deliverance of God. He understands that when there’s a threat, nothing provides safety like Him. In recognition of this, we can join him in celebration and praise to God (vv. 16–17).