Stronghold


Psalm 9
To the choirmaster: according to Muth-labben. A Psalm of David.
1I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
2I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
3When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before your presence.
4For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.
5You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins; their cities you rooted out; the very memory of them has perished.
7But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice,
8and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.
9The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
10And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
11Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds!
12For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.
13Be gracious to me, O Lord! See my affliction from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
14that I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your salvation.
15The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
16The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah
17The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.
18For the needy shall not always be forgotten and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.
19Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you!
20Put them in fear, O Lord! Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah

I’ve been living with this Psalm all week. Reading and rereading it every day. And every day the same 3 verses leap off the page and demand my attention.

1I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
2I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
9The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of a stronghold. It isn’t something we have in place in our culture – at least not any more. We don’t need to have a place of physical safety to run to in case an enemy attacks. When I was in grade school I lived in an area that was considered vulnerable to air strikes because of the “cold war”. So we were drilled on “duck and cover” rules [yeah, that meant we crawled under our desk at school and covered our heads with are arms – real safe] and we all knew where the nearest air raid shelters were and how to get there without our parents. So those air raid shelters were the closest thing I can image when thinking of a stronghold. But while David was writing this Psalm, he was thinking of those high towers that were fortified and safe when under attack. They were considered impregnable and the villagers would run to these strongholds for shelter when under attack. Every time I read these words I image myself running into God’s protection; and not just when I’m in trouble. I try to live there all the time. Maybe that makes me a big chicken. So be it. I am perfectly content to view the world from that high tower where God’s protection is never in question.

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