“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in Whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
“I will call upon the Lord Who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.” (Psalm 18:2-3)
I recently found myself singing these verses from Psalm 18, the chorus ending with the last phrase of verse 1: “I will love Thee, O Lord, my Strength.”
In my growing passion to consider what a word actually means, or what a statement really says, it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to consider each of the seven graphic titles which the Psalmist ascribes to God in that second verse.
Right in the centre of the list, David declares that Jehovah (the self-existent and eternal Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of life and the universe) is “my God, in whom I trust.”
The titles listed in this verse are all expressive of impregnability and reflect the dominance of this thought during the years when David was hunted and threatened by King Saul.
First, David claims Jehovah to be “my Rock:” A rock symbolizes a firm support or source of strength. In the Old Testament rock symbolizes the security and defense of a steep and inaccessible refuge. Similarly, it is used of an immovable foundation (Ps. 40:2). To remove the rock is equivalent to shaking the world (Job. 18:4) In an interplay of these symbols it is not surprising to find God spoken of as a Rock who gives security and safety to His people. In another Psalm (62:6) David states emphatically, “He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense; I shall not be moved.”
Second, David describes Him as “my Fortress:” A fortress is a fortified enclosure or structure capable of defense against an enemy; a place of security; a stronghold. The Living Bible paraphrase adds “no-one can follow me in and slay me!” In the 71st Psalm, David prays, “You be my strong habitation whereunto I may continually resort; You have given commandment to save me, for You are my Rock and my Fortress.“ And again, in Psalm 91:2: “I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress; my God; in Him will I trust.”
Third, David refers to Jehovah as “my Deliverer“ – one who rescues, sets free, or liberates. Many times, David experienced the deliverance of the Lord – from the lion and from the bear; from the giant Goliath and from the hand of jealous King Saul; and from all of his enemies who sought to dethrone him. (Ps. 144:2)
Fourth, David constantly depends on Jehovah as “my Strength“ in Whom he put his trust. The Lord was David’s Source of sustaining and protective power. He did not rely on his own human strength, for he realized it was not adequate. In something like seventy quotations, the Psalmist declares Jehovah to be his strength (might, power). For example, “God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect.” (2 Sam. 22:33)
Fifth, he considered Jehovah to be “my Buckler.” A buckler was a shield used in warfare as a means of defense or protection. There were two types of bucklers which were commonly used. There was a large shield adapted to cover the whole body, either oval or rectangular, like a door. This was carried by the heavy-armed infantry. The small shield was carried by archers In the armor of God which we are instructed to put on, the shield represents faith. (Eph. 6:11-18)
Sixth, David describes Jehovah as “the Horn of my Salvation.” Horns symbolize power. Again, the Living Bible paraphrase says, “He is like the strong horn of a mighty fighting bull.” However, this may well be a metaphor based on the horns of the altar as the place of atonement. The sacrificial blood was smeared on these and they were regarded as places of refuge.
The Seventh Title was “my High Tower.” The Tower was a place of safety, security or defense. A major defense feature of a walled city was an excellent stone tower, sometimes as large as 9 meters in diameter with a central stairway. Towers strengthened the walls and offered a vantage point of defense. During a visit to England a number of years ago, we saw the medieval Clifford’s Tower in the city of York. We climbed the 78 steps up the hill to the tower itself. It had been used as a defense of the city during the English Wars of the Roses. (1445-1485) It may have been different than the towers built in David’s time, but it gave us an idea of what a High Tower might be like and, to say the least, it was very impressive.
“I will call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.” (verse 3)
We may not have the same kinds of enemies that the warrior King David had. But we may be attacked by other more subtle enemies of our souls: fear, doubt, temptation, discouragement, depression, “the fiery darts of the wicked,” “the wiles of the devil,” So we are exhorted by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesian Church, “…be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” The wonderful thing is that it’s when we are weakest that His strength is most evident. Again, it was Paul who quoted the Lord Jesus as saying, “…My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in (your) weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) He is all that is needed for our sure defense: our Rock, our Fortress, our Deliverer, our Strength, our Shield, the Horn of our Salvation, our High Tower.
”I will love Thee, O Lord, my Strength.” (verse:1)
Let us be encouraged in the Lord and join the Psalmist in our own declaration that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Ps. 46:1)
In Agape, Eulene