Do you have a favorite verse? Many believers have a “go to” verse that speaks to their heart in a profound way. It is a verse that defines their walk of faith and guides how they live out their Christian experience. Many years ago, I adopted Psalm 9:9-10 as my life verses. Quite frankly, I wish I could remember what I was going thru in my life when God first challenged my heart by those verses. I am not sure if it was when our daughter, Amber, was born, or when I had my first heart attack or maybe some other formidable situation in my life. Whatever the reason, these two Scripture verses have given me great comfort and strength through the years.
The subscript at the beginning of Psalm 9 tells us that it was written by David. The phrase, “according to Muth Labben” is not fully understood. Some say, like in the previous psalm, it refers to specific tune or a musical instrument. Others have suggested that the phrase refers to the death of Goliath, thus making this psalm about David’s glorious victory over the Philistine giant.
Many believe that Psalms 9 and 10 are companion psalms and were originally included together. They form a single acrostic; that is each phrase begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This literary acrostic continues from Psalm 9 into Psalm 10.
Throughout the psalm, David praises God for His powerful presence and protection in the midst of suffering. I think that is what initially drew me to verses 9 and 10. God has promised to be with ME and protect Me, even in times of trouble and oppression. WOW! That is a truth I need to hear continually! Here are the verses…
Psalm 9:9-10 – The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
The first phrase lays out the type of protection that God promises – The Lord is a STRONGHOLD for the oppressed, a STRONGHOLD in times of trouble. The term “stronghold” is used at least 50 times in the Bible and is
frequently used in the book of Psalms. There are actually two Hebrew words translated stronghold in the Old Testament.
Misgab – It speaks of a secure height or a retreat where someone can hide. That is the term used twice in Psalm 9:9.
Matsuwd – This word refers to a castle or a defensive fortress.
Those are the terms used in I Samuel 22:1-5. As David fled from Saul, he and his men hid out in the Caves of Adullam. The text calls them a stronghold. The word is used twice in that chapter and refers to a natural defensive fortress.
Another time these words are used, is in Psalm 18 as David describes God as his stronghold.
Psalm 18:2 – The Lord is my rock and my FORTRESS (matsuwd) and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of salvation, my STRONGHOLD (misgab).
Interestingly, the term matsuwd is the name given to one of Israel’s most famous historical locations. Masada (matsuwd) is an ancient fortification in Israel situated on top of an isolated high rocky plateau. It is located on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. Here is a picture.
Masada is the location of one of Israel’s most famous battles. Around 70 AD a group of Jewish zealots barricaded themselves on this fortress. After months of laying siege, the Romans finally conquered it on April 15, 73 AD.
Some twenty years ago I had the opportunity to visit this historic site. I was amazed at its isolation and natural defenses. Quite frankly, it seemed completely impervious to attack. That is the picture the Lord has in mind when He describes Himself as our fortress.
Like Masada, God is our protection and a stronghold to whom we can run during times of danger and trouble. He is absolutely impenetrable and we are fully safe in Him.
Where do you turn when you feel alone, fearful or anxious? To whom or to what do you run when you are afraid? The world offers pseudo strongholds that only give temporary comfort and security. Eventually, you will find yourself looking for another stronghold. What, then, do you do?
Let me challenge you to allow these verses to penetrate your mind and heart. In moments of fear and uncertainty run to Psalm 9:9-10 just as David ran to the Caves of Adullam. Take refuge in them.
Remind yourself of the certainty that God will never forsake you. He is your stronghold! He is your protector! You can rest in Him!