The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield, the horn of my salvation, and my stronghold.
— Psalm 18:2
I have been reading through the Psalms recently and found this second verse of the 18th Psalm interesting in that David shows us 5 characterizations of God’s protection of his people.
1. A rock
The word used for rock here is cela (sela), which means a lofty crag or cliff. Not just a simple boulder to hide behind, but a place of rocks and caverns that a person could hide in and escape an enemy. God, when we run to him, becomes our cela to which we can hide surrounded by his protection.
2. A fortress
The word here for fortress is matsuwd, a fortress or stronghold fortified by rock where we could be safe from our enemies and rest. The fortress is a place of such safety that we can find rest. The enemy can’t follow us there and we can rest assured that God has us in his safety net.
3. A shield
God is often referred to as our shield. A shield comes between us and our enemies protecting us from harm. In Ephesians 6:16, we are called to take up the shield of faith. I always picture this as holding our faith out in front of us as we move through life. The enemy will be throwing arrows of doubt and darts of fear at us constantly, but our shield of faith protects us from those attacks.
4. Horn of salvation
The horn was often used as a means to signal an attack or defense. It is frequently used as an emblem of power or strength. Here it is used to symbolize the strength that we receive in our salvation. Through the work of Christ on the cross we are saved from our enemies and nothing can snatch our salvation from us. Read in John 10:28 where Jesus says;
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. -John 10:28
5. A stronghold
Here the word used is misgab, which means a high place, refuge, a lofty or inaccessible place. This is a place high above our enemies, inaccessible and again we are well protected from our enemies.
If we need protection we need only look to God.