Hiding in a Rock

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Psalm 18-19; Acts 20:17-38

He said: I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my solid rock,
    my fortress, my rescuer.
My God is my rock—
I take refuge in him!—
        he’s my shield,
        my salvation’s strength,
        my place of safety.
Because he is praiseworthy,
    I cried out to the Lord,
    and I was saved from my enemies.
Death’s cords were wrapped around me;
    rivers of wickedness terrified me.
The cords of the grave surrounded me;
    death’s traps held me tight.
In my distress I cried out to the Lord;
    I called to my God for help.
God heard my voice from his temple;
    I called to him for help,
    and my call reached his ears.

Psalm 18:1-6 Common English Bible

The hymnal of the Israelites, the Psalms. At one point in my life, when I heard someone say that the thing that went through my mind was, “How could anyone sing those lyrics?” What I didn’t know back then was, they lose something in translation.

I got to thinking about hymns that were inspired by the psalms yesterday. When I started working on today’s post I started thinking about how the Psalms in general and Psalm 18 in particular inspired hymns.  There are many. For Psalm 18 alone, according to the online hymn database Hymnary, here are 164 hymns and praise songs crediting Psalm 18 with some or all of that particular song or hymn’s lyrics. One song that inspired at least 164 more songs of faith.

According to the “instructions” at the beginning of the psalm (considered by most biblical scholars to be a later addition, not part of the original text), David is praising God for his delivery from the hands of Saul and other enemies. “The Lord is my Rock, my fortress, my Redeemer,” David says.

Reading that line brought to mind a particular hymn inspired by Psalm 18. The first verse of “Rock of Ages” reads,

 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 metaphors of the rock and the fortress show themselves here, though, in the case of the fortress, it is not in those specific words. Rock is used many times in Scripture as a descriptive word for God. It is also a metaphor and symbol for faith. The psalmist wants to hide in the fortress made of rock. In other words, David wants to hide in the fortress that is God.

My God is my rock—
I take refuge in him!—
        he’s my shield,
        my salvation’s strength,
        my place of safety.

David recognizes that without God, there is no place to hide from Saul and others who seek to destroy him. There is no place of protection, there is no strength, there is no safety. David knows, at least at this point in his life he knows, to be protected from all on earth that will destroy him, he needs God.

My prayer this day is, we have the same awareness to see that we too need protection from God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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