Monthly Archives: June 2017

Blessed are You, O Lord, Who is Our Strength

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.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
~Psalm 18:1-3 (ESV)

Sometimes when I read these verses, I recall a song that echoes David’s praise and thanksgiving for the many times God was his strength and delivered him from trouble.

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
~from A Might Fortress Is Our God by Martin Luther

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing God’s power and God’s love;
our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.
~from O Worship the King, by Robert Grant

Other times, I think of those throughout the Bible who knew God was their strength. For instance, in a vision, Abraham heard God speak to him concerning an heir: “Fear not, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” (Gen 15:1). And the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Philippi that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him (Phil 4:13).

Psalm 18 is not generic. It is personal. David proclaims his love for God. He declares that God is his strength, his rock, his fortress, his deliverer, his God, his shield, the horn of his salvation and his stronghold. Moreover, God can be called upon whether there are praises to be proclaimed or problems to be processed prayerfully.

Whether there is a note of praise in our hearts or a noteworthy prayer on our lips, may we bless God for being our strength yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Blessed are You, O Lord, who is my strength.

Blessed are you O Lord, who is my Lord.

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
~Psalm 16

Psalm 16 describes a relationship based on God’s covenant.  It is often compared to the covenant husbands and wives make on their wedding day when they exchange vows and agree “to have and to hold” one another forever. Essentially, they promise to never abandon one another. God has a covenant relationship with those who say to the Lord, “You are my Lord” and choose to set the Lord before them. Those who try to find good apart from God by going after other gods have multiple sorrows. But God will not abandon the soul’s of those who firmly trust that the Lord is their chosen portion.  Moreover, saints know the path of life and rejoice in their Lord’s provision, promises and presence.

In his epistles, Paul includes prayers for the saints in the churches he started.  Paul wrote the following to reassure the church in Ephesus that the love of God is so vast they will never be abandoned by the Lord.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  ~Ephesians 3:14-19

May you and I, as saints, respond to the fullness of God’s love by rejoicing in the precious covenant relationship we have with the Lord.

Blessed are you, O Lord, who is my Lord.