My rock and refuge
I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. Psalm 18:1–3 (NIV)
This psalm begins with an impassioned cri de coeur – I love you, Lord! David’s adoration and thanksgiving pours out in an intimate declaration. These are the words of lovers, of parents and children, of closest friends. And they are the words of an earthly king spoken to the heavenly King who rescued him from his enemies.
David employs seven metaphors to describe the saving nature of God: Yahweh is his rock, fortress, deliverer, refuge, shield, horn of salvation and stronghold. These images relate to the military battles David fought throughout his life and to how God provided him with physical safety as he hid from his pursuers, swords drawn and ready to strike. In danger, he called to the Lord for help.
We may not need to take cover in mountain hideaways, but God wants to be our rock – our firm foundation. With him the building of our lives will withstand powerful and dangerous storms. Indeed, as Paul said to the Ephesians, we have been “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” (2:20–21).
And God yearns to be our stronghold and fortress. In David’s time a fortress was a remote rocky spot that was used as a place of refuge. Its very isolation provided a safe haven. Today too the unchanging God outstretches his arms and welcomes us to take shade in his presence. As Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
A rock to build our lives on. A fortress for protection. Delivery, safety, refuge and strength. All attributes of the God who loves us and draws us to himself.
Prayer: Lord, help me build my life on your foundation. Shield me this day from those who would oppress me. Hide me in the shadows of your wings. I love you!