Written by: Tim Wood
We are looking at the Psalms that David wrote where he lets us know what was happening in his life when he wrote it. The superscription of Psalm 18 says, “For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.” Obviously, when God delivers – you sing! You praise Him!
In the first two verses of this Psalm, the word “my” jumps off the page. David is taking a very personal role here, declaring how he felt about his relationship with God Almighty. He is using military metaphors to describe this relationship – my strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my refuge, my shield and my stronghold. David is incorporating both offensive and defensive military terms. God is for us and is protecting us. The LORD was all he needed to survive life’s demanding battles. When David describes the Lord as his rock that concept had much meaning to him. As a shepherd, he knew that often the only place to find relief from the sun in a hot, arid desert was by the shade of a rock. As a man of war, rock represented a stronghold, a place of safety. As an Israelite, he had known since childhood, that during the Exodus, the rock represented a place of refreshment. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, said that the Rock, which took care of Israel of old, was Jesus: “and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4).
We all need a secure rock in our lives. For some people, their rock is another person. For others it’s a place. Perhaps the neighborhood where they grew up or a special place in the mountains, desert, or beach, where they go when they feel lost and alone, or when life gets to be too much. Familiar people and places can make us feel secure, but neighborhoods change and people come and go. We need something or someone more reliable, unchangeable, and powerful. David knew who to make his rock. He had come to trust that in the darkest hour, God was the only reliable place for comfort, refuge, and strength.
When we visit Israel we sometimes see an animal called the hyrax. The hyrax is a small, badger-like animal that makes its home in large, ragged, tumbled rocks. It knows to run to those rocks when danger comes. If a predatory bird, like an eagle, swoops down and tries to capture the little animal, it simply runs into one of the openings of the rock. The bird would have to tear the mountain apart to get it. The same is true of four-footed animals that would prey on it. As long as the hyrax hides in the rocks, it is safe. If it wanders away into the grassland, it is an easy target. The hyrax is wise enough to know that its strength is not in its own muscles but in taking shelter in the safety of the rock.
We too, like David, need a Rock – a strong, safe place to find strength. Say to God, “LORD, You are my Rock my fortress, my deliverer. I look to you today.”