Pictures: Nimrod Fortress in Israel
Read Psalm 18: 2-7
I love the Psalms. They are rich with imagery. Through the years as I have read and studied them, I have come to know God more intimately, as well as gained a greater understanding of who He is and what a relationship with God really means in the dailies of life.
One of my favorite theologians Karl Rahner, a Jesuit priest called God the Incomprehensible Eternal One.
I really like that name. God is incomprehensible and it is good to be reminded that we, the creation, can’t wrap our minds around God the Creator. But while be can’t fully comprehend God, we can know him more intimately.
Psalm 18:2 gives us a myriad of images for who God is and offers us ways to know Him more personally.
The Lord is:
- my rock – secure, immovable, the mountains in the region were places of safety, offering David found refuge in the rocks and mountains when Saul sought to kill him, Christ is call “the Rock and/or Cornerstone” in the NT
- my fortress – a place of defense so the enemy could not encroach, a place of safety and refuge
- my deliverer – my savior, rescuing me from my enemies, provides a way of escape, and ultimately Christ Our Savior
- God is my rock – a place of strength, protection, my security. -repetition always means added emphasis on a point – underlined/italics and bold all at the same time! – pay attention to this!
- in whom I take refuge – find protection, the one who I trust, find strength
- my shield – protects the vulnerable parts of our body/life, covers our head and heart so we are not slain by the darts, arrows barbs, attacks of those who seek to harm me
- the horn of my salvation – , my defense, the power that saves me, used to call animals back to the shepherd who would protect and defend them against attach or danger
- my stronghold – my place of safety, my high tower, a safe place that is inaccessible to the enemy
These words and the images were familiar to the Israelites as they lived in the Ancient Near East, where the safety of God’s people was dependent on fortresses. Unwalled villages were clustered around the walled or stronghold cities. This is where the residents would flee in times of war. Within the fortress, there were safe. High towers provide look out and advance warning to approaching danger as well as the ‘high ground’ from which to attack.
This verse in the original Hebrew language expresses the idea the psalmist owed his safety entirely to god. He outlines Who God is, while simultaneously describing how he has experienced God, or known God in his life. This verse can do the same for us.
God longs to be known by us. Throughout the Bible there are word pictures that help us know more intimately and understand a bit more The Incomprehensible Eternal One.
- Read through these images again and take some time to apply them to different situations in your life.
- Let the meaning and images of the words sink in and expand or enhance Who you know God to Be, and look for ways to experience Him like these images portray.
Look up and read these other Scriptures that use this imagery:
Deut 32:4; Psalm 31:1-3; Ps 46:1; Psalm 62:2,7;
Prov 18:10; Jeremiah 16:19; 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 22:32
Listen to the song A Mighty Fortress is Our God, written by Martin Luther during the Reformation was inspired by these images.
Daily Lectionary Readings:
Jeremiah 20:10-13; Psalm 18:2-7; John 10:31-42
If you want to read through the New Testament during Lent (about 1/2 hour a day)
Read on Day 38: Titus, Philemon, & Hebrews 1-7