I absolutely love the Psalms. Don’t you too?! They’re so full of poetry, honesty, real life issues, and transparency. When I’m struggling I can always go to the Psalms and find a writer that is just as discouraged and actually honest about it! I do indeed value and respect transparency in Christians. And especially today we get a good dose of it from David’s Psalm 18 as he writes on death, stronghold, and deliverance.
Let’s look at context first. Context is very important because the enemy has this favorite trick of twisting scripture to make us doubt the word of God. Knowing the context of scripture is a shield that defends us against that trick. So we’re going to know the context!
So, David is the most popular author of Psalms. And he writes Psalm 18 as he’s coming out of persecution from the exact king that he served. Imagine spending your days and energy serving a king you believe is God appointed to lead your people. Then imagine loving his son as a brother. Your best friend in the world.
Next imagine this person going cray cray! So much so that King Saul tries hunting down David to kill him. He’s gotten it into his head that David is out to steal his crown. Dude, it’s not David, Saul! God is taking your crown from you! Consequently David definitely needed protection and stronghold to stay perseverant and not go crazy himself.
And God did just that! God protected David from Saul. He led him to safety, covered him with His love, hid him, kept David strong, provided for him, and then ultimately delivered him. This is when David penned Psalm 18.
The Lord is my Rock and my Fortress
1I love you, O Lord, my strength. 2The 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.
3I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. 4The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; 5the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. 6In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
7Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. 8Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. 9He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. 10He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. 11He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. 12Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
13The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the most high uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire. 14And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them. 15Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, oh Lord, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
Check out my post on studying the Bible on your own for what colors mean what and where I get that info. Verses can almost always fit into more than one category so if you start highlighting according to the Good Morning Girls categories know that your highlights don’t have to be identical to mine.
- Verse 1= love; God
- Verse 2= God
- Verse 3= prayer/praise; salvation
- Verse 4= death
- Verse 5= death
- Verse 6= prayer; God; prayer
- Verse 7= power of God; God
- Verse 8= God
- Verse 9= power of God
- Verse 10= power of God
- Verse 11= power of God
- Verse 12= power of God
- Verse 13= God
- Verse 14= power of God
- Verse 15= power of God
[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘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.’ Psalm 18: 2 He’s got this!” quote=”‘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.’ Psalm 18:2 He’s got this!”]
The scripture above is from the English Standard Version. However in the NLT version, verse 2 reads “…He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety”. That resonates more with me than being the “horn of my salvation”. He is the power that saves! And let me tell you, I need a lot of saving! For instance my teenage years were full of fear, anger, and rebellion. I was a self proclaimed atheist but God knew better (as He always does, huh? 😉 ). He had been calling me since I was little and would not be swayed. He kept calling and in His power saved me from myself! That is a LOT on the power of God!
But in verse 5, what is Sheol? Sheol is simply the grave; death. You can relate to these verses literally if you’re struggling with illness or disease. On the other hand the feeling of failure feels like the death of a project, desire, or relationship for others. So go back to verses 1 through 3. Read them aloud. God is always all powerful and He’s got this, even when you’re struggles don’t go away tomorrow. Don’t forget, David spent many days running from Saul and many nights in caves hiding for his life.
Speaking of a lot of power, next look at all that yellow in verses 6 through 15! It’s like something out of Harry Potter! Promise not to leave? Ok, I’ve never seen any of the Harry Potter films. Wait, don’t go! Because I know a little. Lately the trailer has been playing for the newest movie “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” based on J.K. Rowling’s writings. It’s full of remarkable CG wizardry and impossibilities. Dark clouds swirling, skies opening up, power at the tip of fingers.
Similarly, reading verses 6 through 15 make me picture things like this. Fantastic impossibilities in the sky that only God of heaven and earth can really make happen. And here in Psalm 18 David provides wonderful imagery of God in His majestic wonder. This. This is the God who is our stronghold!
He rocks the earth, moves the mountains. Thick dark clouds carry Him at His command. He controls the wind, the storm, the lightning, hail and thunder. Waves and rock obey Him. He is the Almighty.
And He truly loves you, longs for you. Run to Him friend. And I’ll see you there. 😉
Want some scripture to go? Download these printable bible verse cards and post them where you need them most, like on the car dashboard. 😉