Psalm 18 … Consider Him, Our Rock

For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God,
(18:31).

With the exception of a few differences in the opening and closing, Psalm 18 is David’s song of deliverance recorded, almost verbatim in 2 Samuel 22, after his great deliverance from the hands of Saul. A great prayer that bears repeating!

As I finished reading this amazing Psalm, my heart was filled with gratitude, and a sense of being slightly overwhelmed in trying to wrap my head around some way to capture for consideration just one vantage point of our great and glorious God. There is just so much about Him that we could surely spend a month here and not run out of the multitude of grand glimpses David presents of our amazingly, immense God.

But I kept coming back to Him as a Rock; after all, it is repeated four times. But much to my surprise, there are actually two different words in the Hebrew language translated as Rock in verse 2.

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,
(18:2).

From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:
The Lord is my rock1 and my fortress and my deliverer: 1): “5553. סֶלַע selaʿ: A masculine noun referring to a rock, a cliff. Its most memorable use is to describe God as a Rock.”
My God, my  rock2, in whom I take refuge: 2): “6697. צוּר ṣûr: A masculine noun meaning a rock. It refers to a large rock, a boulder; a cliff or wall of rock… a symbol of stability.

Elliott’s Commentary for English Readers describes Psalm 18:2 in this way:
“Better here, [the first use of rock] as cliff1, keeping “rock2” for the next clause. In the first figure the ideas of height and shelter, in the second of broad-based and enduring strength, are predominant.”

So according to Elliott’s Commentary, we might read Psalm 18:2 something like the following:

The Lord is my [cliff] and my [high shelter] and my deliverer,
My God, my [broad-based enduring strength], in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

It’s almost as though David just couldn’t adequately express the full orb of his Rock with just one descriptor. And I understand, as my mind took me back to my visit to Israel, to the rocky wilderness where David spent many days and nights feeling from Saul. I remember my utter amazement by the height of the naturally carved-out caverns lodged high within the rocky hillside, making the enemy’s approach both difficult and detectable.

These well-fortified caves, enduring in their impermeable strength, are a beautiful depiction of His powerful and loving provision. He is Our Rock, looming in His strength as the impenetrable fortress, yet lovingly open to all those who come to His place of hiding in search of shelter and safety.

He is Our Rock, immovable; He is Our Rock, our firm and loving foundation and support.

Consider Him, Our Rock

“I love You, O Lord, my strength.”
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,
(18:1-2).

  • He is Our Rock, the place of His strength, never our own.
    • I love You, O Lord, my strength.
  • He is Our Rock, the place of our defense and rescue.
    • The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer…
  • He is Our Rock, the place of our hiding and security.
    • …My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
  • He is Our Rock, the place of our protection and covering.
    • My shield…
  • He is Our Rock, the place of our strength and hope.
    • …and the horn of my salvation…
  • He is Our Rock, the place of strategic force and safety.
    • …my stronghold.

He is Our Rock; our shelter and safety and security, a place of escape from the enemy, a place of sure and solid strength, a place of defense and deliverance for our heart and head, a high tower of refuge, and a shield of protection and care.

He is Our Rock, and there is no other. God Himself said it is so.

 Do not tremble and do not be afraid;
Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?
And you are My witnesses.
Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none,’”
(Isaiah 44:8).

How do we respond to Him, Our Rock?

Perhaps a great place to start would be to really study this amazing Psalm. For starters, we will certainly be moved to respond in love and faith.

“I love You, O Lord, my strength,” (18:1).

There is so much to learn of His ways in this Psalm. But for today, let’s focus on another portion from our reading that may encourage us in a fitting response.

  • Let us trust in the perfection of His ways and His Word that will shelter us from the attacks we face.
    • As for God, His way is blameless;
      The word of the Lord is tried;
      He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him,
      (18:30).
  • Let us renounce anything that challenges our trust and hope as we run to Him in faith; for He is Our Rock and there is no other.
    • For who is God, but the Lord?
      And who is a rock, except our God,
      (18:31).
  • Let us live by faith in His strength, never our own; for it is only His righteousness that makes our way blameless.
    • The God who girds me with strength
      And makes my way blameless?
      (18:32).
  • And because He is Our Rock, He will suit us to walk on the high places above the fray of the enemy’s attacks.
    • He makes my feet like hinds’ feet,
      And sets me upon my high places,
      (18:33).
  • Let us praise Him, Our Rock, with all that we are, that we would exalt Him each and evey day as the God of Our Salvation Who is worthy to be praised.
    • The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock;
      And exalted be the God of my salvation,
      (18:46).

There is one side note that I just can’t leave behind. David knew his God as his Rock Who spared him from judgment. And while He delivered David, His judgment did come upon His enemies; to those who had rejected Him as the only Rock. And His judgment came as a torrential storm.

David paints a picture of God coming down from the heavens with darkness under His feet, with thick clouds, hailstones, thunder and lightning and flooding rains (18:9-15).

But from out of that judgment, David was saved.

He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters…
19 He brought me forth also into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me.
20 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
And have not wickedly departed from my God.
22 For all His ordinances were before me,
And I did not put away His statutes from me.
23 I was also blameless with Him,
And I kept myself from my iniquity,
(18:16, 19-23).

David, the man after God’s own heart, was rescued, having been declared righteous before God. And by faith in his God and God’s Word, he was kept from his iniquity.

And as I read these verses, I was immediately drawn to the words of our Savior, when He too spoke about the Rock.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall,” (Matthew 7:24-27).

I had always thought when Jesus spoke of the rains and the floods that came, He was referring to the trials and the sufferings that we sometimes find ourselves immersed in. And I still believe this passage can certainly be applied to life’s difficulties and pain. But then I couldn’t help but wonder. What if when “the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house,” Jesus was alluding to the wrath of God that will one day come upon unbelievers? Maybe the house being built isn’t referring to our temporary life here on earth but our eternal dwelling awaiting each one of us?

What if Jesus wasn’t telling us how to make it through the storms of life, but how to be rescued from the wrath of Holy God? What if He was explaining what saving faith actually looks like; a faith that moves one to act on what they know and believe is true?

I don’t know, just a thought. But a thought worth considering. Because how does Jesus say our house will weather the storm? It’s when we not only hear His Words, but it’s when we act on them that we will be enabled to withstand. And that is faith. Faith is not merely hearing, or even knowing, His Word. Faith is believing what we know, so much so that we act on what we believe. Otherwise, it’s not really faith at all, is it?

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves, (James 1:22).

Oh, let us not delude ourselves, but be sure that we are building our eternal house on Him, Our Rock, our only sure foundation that will never be shaken. (If you would like to discuss this further, I invite you to email me at plantingplace@gmail.com.)

Let’s Grow Together!

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