Friday, June 7, 2013
The Lord is My Strength
Psa. 18:1 I love you, O LORD, my strength.
Psa. 18:2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
The declaration of love found here is foundational to the relationship which we are to have with the Lord. Love of the Lord is first and foremost and when that relationship is in the right order, then the Lord is our strength. However, this word here means so much more than when we simply think of strength, but rather it means the source or the fountain. The Lord is strength but he is also the source of all that we need, this is an unending fountain of strength which can supply all our needs. The second verse takes us into a description of the the strength which is found in the Lord. These are mostly military metaphors which would speak to David, but as we move about our daily lives we need the eternal strength and protection provided by God. God is the rock on whom we can stand, or the rock behind whom we can hide. He is the walled city in which we can find shelter. The Lord is the one who will deliver us as long as we go to him and allow him to protect us. He is the shield protecting us from the arrows which are shot our direction. The horn of the bull in the midst of the bull-fight provides for his protection. The Lord is the horn that fights and protects my salvation and therefore he is the stronghold in which I am kept safe.
Wow -- what a list! And if this is the case, why do we ever feel afraid and as if we are walking this journey of life alone? I have had my moments, those times when I have allowed the burdens of this life, the criticisms, the difficulties to really get me down and suddenly I find myself in a place of fear. I mentioned this to a friend one day who asked me whether I was allowing myself to get out of the secret place with God. In other words, was I staying within the shelter of the Lord, or was I getting out beyond the bounds of safety, somehow taking things on in my own power, and as a result, living completely vulnerable and unprotected. Yes, I was. And as a result I realized that I needed to run to that place of safety -- and I needed to hang out there. I needed to spend even more time in prayer and in the word before I could be engaged in the things that were surrounding me.
I need to be grounded on the rock. When we try to do things on our own we end up on slippery ground and when the storms come, the ground literally shifts beneath our feet and we can be swept away by what is happening. The rock remains no matter what. There are also days when I need to be surrounded by the fortress and by God's shield. We have probably all been there, when the flaming arrows are being shot at us. Sometimes they come over the walls of the fortress but in this case we have a double line of defense. Not only are we in the fortress but the shield has been raised. These do not stop the arrows from being fired, but they protect us from the damage which may be inflicted by the arrows. This is an important point. The enemy doesn't stop lobbing things our way, those things will still happen, but whether or not we will be wounded depends on our relationship to God. When we stand in close relationship to him, then he can be our shield and our fortress. When we are far from him, the enemies arrows can hit their target and we can be terribly wounded.
The horn of my salvation reminds me of God's active work in defending me. The bull with his horns does not simply stand around. When provoked he fights back and the horns are used to protect and defend one against the enemy. God is actively fighting the battle for my salvation. I don't need to be in the trenches fighting the enemy, God is doing battle for me so that I have the joy of being his child and can have the assurance of my salvation.
The Lord is my strength, the source of all that I need when in the heat of battle. Not only does he protect me, he feeds me, and he gives me drink when I am thirsty. But the only way that I can enjoy all that God wants to do for you and for me, is to intentionally place myself within his care, relinquishing all control to him, and then relax while he does battle on my behalf. The Lord truly is my strength.
Lord, please take me to that quiet place of resting in you each and every single day. Amen.