“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.” – Psalm 18:1-2
This is a Psalm of David. The imagery of God being a “rock”, “refuge”, “stronghold”, and “salvation” take on extra meaning when we think of all the time David spent running from his enemies from hiding in caves and mountain strongholds. For long seasons of time, David’s life was unstable. He was continually on the run and on the move, he even spent time as an exile from his country. To top it off, David hadn’t done anything wrong. His life was turned completely upside down because of Saul’s sin. It was a complete injustice.
David could have grown bitter towards God. God was the one who had declared that he would become king, but didn’t make it happen right away. Instead, because Saul knew that God had declared David would be king, Saul was trying to kill him. David was on the run because God had made a promise, but hadn’t fulfilled it yet.
David could have decided to put his trust in his own strength, in the military power of the men that followed him, or in the caves and mountain strongholds he hid in.
But David didn’t. He didn’t grow bitter towards God or trust in his own strength. His faith was not in his ability to find the best hideout or even in foreign kings to protect him. David fully trusted in the Lord. Circumstances might have been unstable and changing, but God was his rock, immovable and secure. David trusted God so fully, that when he had Saul within his power, he did not harm him.
When I find myself reacting to the situations of life with fear or when I feel my foundation has been shaken by circumstances, I need to recognize that I’ve started to “build my house upon the sand”. It may be that God in his mercy allows the “sand” we’ve started to settle our feet into to be shaken, so that we might realize where we are putting our trust and hope and instead place it in God and God alone.
“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.” – Psalm 46:1-3
The imagery in these psalms is not just for literary effect, it isn’t merely flowery language. David wasn’t speaking metaphorically when he declared that God was his stronghold. David recognized that though he had taken shelter among physical strongholds, God was the true stronghold. God was the one that held him and preserved him. Our God is such a mighty savior, such a strong refuge, such an impenetrable stronghold, that we need fear nothing. The very earth beneath our feet can give way and with our trust in the Lord we have nothing to fear.
“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?” – Psalm 118:6