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The Lord is my rock and my fortress
Psalms 18:1-2 Do you praise and thank God with as much passion as you ask Him for help?
Photo © 2023, Steven Sande
“I love You, O Lord, my strength.” The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Psalms 18:1-2 NASB1995
David had just been “delivered from the hand of his enemies and from the hand of Saul” when he wrote this psalm. It, like many psalms, was a song to praise the Lord for delivering David from certain death.
At this point, David was still quite young. He had been taken away from his duties as a shepherd and anointed as the future king of Israel. That made a lot of people angry, so he had lived about 20 years as a wanted man, a man who lost almost everything — his youth, his family, his safety, his career, his connection with the people of God’s covenant, his comforts, and at times, even his relationship with God.
David didn’t let his situation affect his long term relationship with God, and stayed faithful to God’s promise. God fulfilled that promise in time, as David became King of Israel.
The Hebrew word used by David as he expresses his love for God is רָחַם (rāḥam), a verb expressing an emotional, compassionate love. David is telling God that he will love Him deeply and dearly. 19th Century Scottish Baptist Minister Alexander Maclaren noted that “Nowhere else in Scripture is the form of the word employed which is here used for ‘love.’ It has special depth and tenderness.”1
Now, David had gone through a lot in getting to this point in his life. David realized that God had put him through many trials to make him the strong leader he would become. With his declaration to God, he is showing his gratitude for the intense training.
David is effusive in his praise of God in this invocation! In two short verses, he lists nine titles for God:
My strength: the God who gave David the strength to survive and defeat his enemies
My rock: God as a place of shelter, safety, and security, always solid and unmoving
My fortress: God as shelter and safety, a place away from attacking hordes
My deliverer: God, who found ways for David to escape trouble again and again
My God: The God who put strength in David’s soul
My rock: a slightly different Hebrew word this time, with a meaning similar to “my originator” or “source” - perhaps the source of David’s strength?
My shield: God defending both David’s head and heart
Horn of my salvation: God as David’s strength and defense
My stronghold: God as a high place where David could see his enemies from a distance and find protection from adversaries
This psalm is so different from previous ones where David cried out to God for assistance in crisis situations. Here, he is crying out to God with equal strength to praise Him for His deliverance.
Do you praise and thank God with as much passion as you ask Him for help? We could all learn from David’s example in this psalm.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Father in Heaven, I find that I often call out to You for strength and reassurance in times of need, but that I don’t thank You as much as I should for Your constant deliverance. Teach me to show my gratitude, devotion, and praise to You more often, as You are my rock and my salvation. AMEN.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. lockman.org.
Maclaren, Alexander "The Psalms" Volume 1 (Psalms 1-38) (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1892)