The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Listen closely to me; rescue me quickly. Be a rock of refuge for me, a mountain fortress to save me.For You are my rock and my fortress; You lead and guide me because of Your name.
Be a rock of refuge for me, where I can always go. Give the command to save me, for You are my rock and fortress.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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These few verses from the Psalms help us to understand the biblical image of God as our fortress.
The dictionary defines a fortress as an impenetrable building or a person or thing not susceptible to outside influence. When we think about a fortress, images of strength and protection usually come to mind. Fortresses are built and created to protect something. They protect what is inside from harm and distress.
Notice the ideas of safety, security, and protection in these verses. In addition to a fortress, each verse refers to God as a rock—more than once in the last two. Clearly the psalmists looked to God and realized He was uniquely able to save them.
Like many of the Psalms, these verses include multiple first-person pronouns like I and me. These statements are not arbitrary cries, but deeply personal cries to God for protection and strength. When we seek God as our fortress, we turn to our mountain, our rescuer, our guide, and our refuge to whom we can always go. God offers His sovereign protection to all who turn to Him.
Believing in God as our fortress allows us to live a life in the comfort of God’s protection and strength. Few people modeled this better than the German Reformer, Martin Luther. Luther was so taken with the idea of God as our fortress that he wrote the well-known hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” based on Psalm 46. Though he wrote some 36 hymns in his lifetime, “A Might Fortress” is the most well-known. It stands to this day as a testament to God’s power over all spiritual and earthly forces.
Perhaps more than most, Luther had need of God as his fortress. On October 31, 1517, Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the All Saint’s Church door in Wittenberg and began the Protestant Reformation. Doing this brought Luther no small share of trouble in this life. He took a stand against the established church, leaving behind all that he knew.
For many days, Luther lived in hiding in fear for his life. But what sustained Luther in these days? He took to heart the truth of God’s Word, that God is a fortress and able to protect him.
Believing God is our fortress is not an abstract theological concept, but a present reality for all believers. Knowing that God cares for us and desires to protect us helps us to face the rigors and challenges of life in confident assurance that God is for us.
Paul asked in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us who can be against us?” This does not mean we will not experience trouble in this life, but even though there is trouble, God is with us. Nothing can separate us from God’s love and protection. Turning to God as our fortress can be an incredible source of grace and comfort when we are walking through difficult times.
Our God is a mighty fortress. As we walk through the fires of this life we are able to say with Martin Luther, “And tho’ this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us; we will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.”
Are you afraid? God will protect you. Are you hurting? God will comfort you. Do you need strength? God our fortress will sustain and restore you. As believers we place our faith in a God who is able.
- Do you trust God as your fortress? Do you find that you are frequently worried? How do worry and anxiety reveal a heart that is not trusting in the promises and protection of God?
- What is your response to troubles in this life? A famous adage says, “If you can worry, you can pray.” How could you use these verses as a guide to your prayers? Take a few moments to express to God His ability to strengthen and protect you. If you find yourself doubting God’s protection, confess your doubts to the Lord and seek Him as your fortress.
- How might these verses help you minister to a friend or family member walking through strife and trouble? How could you help them place their hope and confidence in God as their fortress?