"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." (Psalm 18:2)
This Psalm is a song of King David and driven by the enemies that David faced in his time of trial. These are the words of the song delivered to the Lord in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of King Saul. Because of the jealousies of Saul he had proposed to destroy David. The Lord delivered David as he was to be the next appointed King of Israel. David was in the town of Moan trying to escape the forces of Saul. As Saul was closing into where David was the Philistines again began their attack on Israel and Saul was called away leaving David behind. Since then the place where David sought refuge has been called “The Rock of Escape.” (1 Samuel 23:26:28) David used this Psalm to compare God to such a place of refuge and security as the Rock of Escape.
Believers in Jesus Christ are hidden from the evil words spoken against them, from the storms of life that come in this world, and the believer is also sheltered from the wrath that soon will befall this world from God. We find ourselves safe and secure in the hand of our Savior the clefts of the Rock of Ages. This brings to mind the words of Augustus M. Toplady:
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.
The LORD is my rock. Jesus said that we should build our house upon 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.” (Matthew 7:24) Listening to the words of Jesus is a comfort to any soul that will truly hear and meditate upon them. The world claims to search for truth yet fails to look at the only words of truth in the universe. The words of Jesus, who came to testify to the truth. (John 18:37) Jesus is the Word of God, (John 1:1) and if we receive and obey His word then we can navigate this world no matter how the storms of life may try to toss us. All other ground that we build our spiritual house upon is sinking ground as He is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6) The LORD is our rock. The LORD, Yahweh, Jehovah, the I AM is the rock to place our house upon. He is before there was, He is before the beginning, He is in the now and He will be there always. (Matthew 28:20) He is the creator of all things and by Him, all things hold together and without Him there is nothing. (Colossians 1:15-17) Who then better than the Master of the known universe and beyond to have our faith placed in?
The LORD is my fortress. We should not fear those who can only destroy the physical things of this life here in the world. The world is passing away and we are but vapors whisking through the wind, what here then is of value to us in eternity. If we have fear, that fear is in the one who can cast the soul into Hell. (Luke 12:4-5) The LORD is our place of safety that we shall be delivered from that day of wrath that the disobedient are racing towards. How foolish they are as Jesus paid the price for their sin and they reject the free gift of salvation offered by God through Jesus Christ. (John 1:29) He is now in prayer at the right hand of the Father for us that we may be delivered through Him and live evermore in the place that He has prepared for us. (John 14:2)
My father gave me some good advice this week as I read over some of his meditations. He said Thomas it is time to stop playing Christian and become a praying Christian. All the possibilities that we have through God are founded in prayer. If we do not express ourselves if we do not listen if we do not meditate on His word, then how will we know the path He has prepared for us to follow? How can we walk in faith if we do not know where he is leading us? Prayer is the key, for this is the purpose of God to restore man’s fellowship with Him. Prayer is intimate fellowship with God.
All the ills of this worldly woe are manifestations of the rulers, powers, world forces of darkness, spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12) The LORD is our rock, our shield and He has provided us with the defense against these evil forces. We are to gird ourselves in His truth and measure that which we hear in opposition to His truth. All of us will stumble and fall and we must repent and seek His forgiveness that the path remains straight for the Lord. Let not the cloud of error block the fullness of His light from us. We stand before God in the righteousness of His Son and He sees us not as we are but as what we will be through Him. We do not fight with weapons of war but with weapons of peace the gospel message of love. The adversary has come to kill and destroy (John 10:10) but our shield of faith is in His word and will extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16) We are protected by the helmet of salvation which cannot be taken from us. (John 10:28)
The horn of our salvation is the sword of the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:17) Our adversary constantly seeks to find the inroad to our weakness. He will tempt us on every possible avenue of travel into our heart. If we contemplate every thought he puts to our mind it will fester its way to our heart. Resist the wiles of the devil and he will flee. (James 4:7) Jesus in the hour of His temptation, when He was weakened by forty days of fasting, still was victorious in defeating the devil. God will always provide a way of escape for every temptation, every flaming dart the devil can throw at us. (1 Corinthians 10:13) This is the example of our Lord, even the devil respects the Word of God, as well as his minions, and Jesus used the scripture to defeat the devil. The Word of God, the tool of creation, what greater power is there? We have the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God and not even the prince of the air can stand against it.
As Moan was the Rock of Escape for David so many years ago in Judah so too today the LORD is our rock of escape. One way or another we all are leaving this world. Some of us like it here. The price we pay for familiarity. For some, it is not such a good place and maybe to the point of making an early exit. For me, I look at this world as a challenge. With all its trials and tribulations, the moving in or out of the storms of life, the pain and sorrow, and the little questions of a nearing end of time here. I see the departure as an escape. For those who have built their house on the sinking sand of this world, it will not be a pleasant arrival on the other side of the river. For me, and us, the followers of Jesus, those to whom the LORD is the rock of their salvation, we also as David stand on the Rock of Escape. We have the surety of our hope through the atoning blood of our Savior Jesus Christ that our departure is but the beginning of an eternal life of Joy and Happiness in the everlasting peace of the presence of God the Father Almighty.
The peril comes to my mind of the 20 to 30 thousand Christians and Yazidi who have been trapped on Mount Sinjar in Iraq. They have fled the Isis Islamic Terrorist who threaten to slaughter them because of their faith. They are standing for what they believe and will not bend to the evil of those who oppress them. I admire both groups the Christians and the Yazidi for their steadfastness against the threat of death. How many times in history have we seen people willing to die for their faith? I dare say all through history. Our prayers are certainly with them each hour. Regardless of their fate, their destiny is in the hand of the hand of the God who calms the waters and Mount Sinjar will be their Rock of Escape, as the LORD is their Rock.
Thomas N Kirkpatrick
First Baptist Church of Durant, August 13, 2014