I will praise the LORD!
Reading: Psalm 31
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
In you, LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, LORD, my faithful God (NIV).*
We all need a place of refuge. Here as David begins Psalm 31, he pleads with God to hear him, and become a rock of refuge for him. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
David spent many of his early years fleeing from King Saul. At other times the Philistines were a threat. There were many occasions in which David needed a fortress—a rock of refuge from his enemies. Often he found himself calling out for the LORD to rescue him.
Are we any different? We may not have physical enemies who are seeking to kill us, but in the spiritual realm the demonic forces of hell are constantly seeking opportunities to trip us up, so that they can launch their vicious assault. Trouble and affliction comes to every human life. We are not immune simply because we have put our faith in Christ. We too need a safe place—a rock of refuge.
But the rock to which we flee is not an inanimate object, fixed and unmoving. No, we come to the living rock which is Christ. He travels with us on this earthly pilgrimage. The apostle, Paul reminds us that even the people of Israel wandering in the wilderness were not alone. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:3-4).
The veins of that rock were opened wide for us. Jesus bled and died so that we could experience new life and complete forgiveness. As he hung dying, Jesus called out to his Father with the words of this psalm, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” Now daily that living rock accompanies you. He is the fount of forgiveness and a sure refuge in a time of need. Have you put your trust in him for your salvation now and in eternity?
Response: LORD God, I thank you for Jesus. You alone are my rock and my eternal fortress. Guide my spirit into the right path today. Keep me safe from the traps of the enemy. I trust in you. Amen.
Your Turn: Is Jesus your living rock? Why is the analogy of Jesus as a rock a comfort to you?
Reading: Psalm 18
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. He said:
I love you, LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me (NIV).*
Psalm 18 is one of the longer psalms in the Book of Psalms. Step by step, day by day we will glean wisdom from the psalmist, David, as we make our way through this psalm.
In many respects Psalm 18 is a psalm of culmination. The introductory note tells us that David composed and sang this psalm when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. For many long years David had been fleeing for his life from his master King Saul. At long last, after repeatedly calling on God in great distress, David has triumphed. Now, through the words of this psalm, he gives all the credit and all the glory to God.
Notice the list of attributes that David ascribes to the LORD: my strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my God, my rock, my shield, my salvation and my stronghold. To David the LORD had proven Himself repeatedly during years of hard times to be the embodiment of each of those attributes. If you call on Him, the LORD can be all of those things for you as well.
Did you notice my rock is the only attribute that is repeated in this list? Why repeat the phrase my rock? In the prophetic realm, during all those years of severe testing, Christ was the rock on which David took his stand. David did not build his life on the shifting sands of public opinion or popularity. He built his life on Christ. A thousand years in advance, David was putting into practice the words of Jesus, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock” (Matthew 7:24-25).
Now that’s wisdom—applied wisdom for the ages!
Response: Heavenly Father, help me daily to build my life on the rock, Christ Jesus. Lord Jesus, you are my fortress, my salvation and my stronghold. I put my full trust in you. Amen.
Your Turn: How is God like a rock in your life? Has He sustained you during difficult times? Is God helping you through tough times right now, or has He already turned the tide in your favor?
Reading: Psalm 71
In you, LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
turn your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.
For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD,
my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.
I have become a sign to many;
you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long (NIV).
I must confess that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with rocks. I grew up on a farm on the Canadian prairies and annually the rich soil produced two crops—a crop of grain and a crop of rocks. Grain crops such as wheat, barley and oats were welcomed—the rocks not so much.
Simply working the soil in spring would bring the rocks to the surface. It was our job as children and teens to help our dad to pick those rocks and haul them off the fields. For the most part it was tedious work. That’s the unpleasant part of my relationship with rocks. But as for the rocks themselves, for the most part I liked them. They came in a huge variety of shapes, colors, sizes and textures. I found them fascinating.
For the psalmist, the LORD was his solid foundation—his rock of refuge in a changing world. Hear his prayer: Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
In the shifting circumstances of life, it is essential that we have those things that remain solid and unwavering. From our childhood onward we need a rock of refuge from the storms of life—a rock to which we can always go in good times and bad.
It’s wonderful when we can say with the psalmist, “From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you.”
Response: LORD God, thank you for being my solid rock. Your faithfulness has steadied me in stormy times. You have been my help and strength, my shelter and fortress. Amen.
Your Turn: How has the Lord been a solid rock for you?
Reading: Psalm 59
For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.”
Of David. A miktam.
When Saul had sent men to watch David’s house in order to kill him.
Deliver me from my enemies, O God;
be my fortress against those who are attacking me.
Deliver me from evildoers
and save me from those who are after my blood.
See how they lie in wait for me!
Fierce men conspire against me
for no offense or sin of mine, LORD.
I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me.
Arise to help me; look on my plight!
You, LORD God Almighty, you who are the God of Israel,
rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
show no mercy to wicked traitors.
They return at evening,
snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city.
See what they spew from their mouths—
the words from their lips are sharp as swords,
and they think, “Who can hear us?”
But you laugh at them, LORD; you scoff at all those nations.
You are my strength, I watch for you;
you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely (NIV).
The backstory to Psalm 59 is an episode of high drama, betrayal and treachery. Despite winning several battles as a loyal warrior for King Saul, in a fit of jealous rage Saul attempted to kill David by pinning him to a wall with his spear. David fled to his home, but his wife, Michal warned him, “If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed” (1 Samuel 19:11).
David made good his escape, while Michal put an idol in his bed to deceive the men who were sent to kill David. Undoubtedly, this deception bought David some precious time as he fled. It is within this context that David makes this double plea for deliverance, “Deliver me from my enemies, O God; be my fortress against those who are attacking me. Deliver me from evildoers and save me from those who are after my blood.”
Saul’s murderous attack was demonically inspired. See 1 Samuel 19:9. Christian believers today should not assume they are immune from demonic attack. After all, this is the week when we commemorate our Savior’s betrayal and death by a demon possessed Judas. Peter gives us this warning, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Fortunately, we have a fortress. God is that secure fortress to whom we can flee in our time of need. Hallelujah!
Response: LORD God, when I am under attack, you are my help and defender. I run to you. Surround me and protect me by the blood of Christ. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you need the safety of God your fortress today?