God Our Fortress

“I will love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:1-3 NKJV

In this series we are exploring the protective nature of God revealed in scripture, specifically how he is a refuge for his people.  God communicates these ideas all throughout scripture, that he is a place of safety and security.

In Psalm 18, David shows us the multilayered nature of God’s protection, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer”.  If we are not careful, we can read this entire verse as if David is being repetitive, to emphasize his point.  But instead, I believe he is calling out three distinct aspects of the Father’s protection: Rock.  Fortress.  Deliverer.

And then David elaborates on each of these aspects as verse 2 continues,

My God, my strength, in whom I will trust” – God our rock.

My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” – God our fortress.

I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised” – God our deliverer.

David’s thought is finished with “So shall I be saved from my enemies”, meaning he will be saved from his enemies by relying on God in the three ways that he listed above. 

How amazing and instructive is that?   In the last installment, we reviewed God as the Rock, the foundation on which to build your life and a preventative protection.  Now let’s look at the next aspect.

The Lord is my Fortress

When we think of God as a refuge and source of protection, this idea of God as a fortress is often the first image that leaps to mind.   So, what is a fortress?  And why does God refer to himself this way? 

A fortress can take the form of a castle, like those found in medieval Europe – A fortified series of structures protected by a wall.  The romanticized version may be surrounded by a moat and only accessible by drawbridge between two towers.  A fortress may also be a city surrounded by a defensive wall, perhaps guarded by a series towers at the four corners providing visibility and field of fire for armed defenders.  Fortresses have been built for thousands of years – consider the city of Jericho whose impenetrable walls were brought down by the Lord when Joshua and the Israelites marched around it. 

Fortresses were often located at various strategic points throughout a territory, where soldiers would be garrisoned, providing protection for local civilians.  The majority of daily life happened outside the fortress, where farms were tended, towns thrived and daily commerce was transacted.  But during times of trouble, when there appeared hostile forces in the land, the people would gather what goods and livestock they could muster and seek refuge inside the fortress.  They found safety behind the walls, protected by the soldiers stationed there.

Think about this when imagining God as your fortress.  Where do you turn when trouble comes in your daily life?  It could be a negative health diagnosis, loss of a loved one, unexpected down-sizing at work.  Life will present opportunities for us to respond to God, but pay attention to your first instinct.  Are you tempted to try taking on your enemies alone – Do you tend to isolate and distance yourself from God and others?  Are you tempted to seek shelter or comfort in something other than God’s presence – Do you self-medicate with an addictive/destructive behavior?  Or do you run straight to God the Father and let him be your fortress? 

Here are some other scriptures to meditate upon as you consider God as your fortress:

Proverbs 18:10 – The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Psalm 62:5-6 – For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

Psalm 91:4-7 – He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wing you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.  You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.  A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 

Friends, when troubles appear on the horizon, take your circumstances, and your fears, your big feelings, pack them all up and head for the fortress of God’s presence.  Behind his walls you will find peace.  You will find rest for your soul.  Your heart needs his refuge in times of trouble.  Jesus said “These things I have spoken to you, so that in me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33).  

Seek peace in God’s presence in the middle of trouble, in the midst of the storm.  Watch in safety from the ramparts as the storm gathers and the battle rages outside the walls of his fortress.  It is possible to rest in God’s protection even in the disappointment of life.  In fact, in those times his presence and closeness is so strong if we will only open ourselves to his love.  

By Michael Kurtz

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“I will love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom