Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!Psalm 31:2
Fortresses are a theme of Psalm 31. They were on David’s mind because the Psalm was about a time when his enemies thought they had trapped him in a walled city: “Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city” (Psalm 31:21).
The name of the city David was in was Keilah. David had gone there to rescue the city’s people from Philistine raiders (1 Samuel 23:1–5). Israel’s king, Saul, heard about what David had done. He was jealous of David and was pursuing him. He thought David, who was a fugitive, had made a mistake by going to Keliah. Its walls would make it hard for him to escape. He “has shut himself in,” exclaimed Saul (1 Samuel 23:7).
David put his trust in God and was delivered (1 Samuel 23:10–13). In reflecting on his escape, David used the same Hebrew word Saul had used when he thanked God for not “shutting” him into the hand of his enemy (Psalm 31:8).
David was a military man. He knew the value of a fortress. In writing about his rescue from Keliah in Psalm 31, he said that God was his fortress. In fact, he used the word twice. He called God his “strong fortress” in verse 2 and “my rock and my fortress” in verse 3. David would not have used the word “fortress” lightly. A fortress could save a person, rescue a nation, and help the beleaguered overcome great odds. David knew from personal experience that God did all of those things.
Although God is strong, He is not a fortress that traps or confines. David also wrote that God set his feet “in a broad place” (Psalm 31:8). “A broad place” is an area without walls. It is a space without limits. It is a place of freedom. It is ultimately a reference to immortality, which will bring freedom from the limits of sickness and death. God has promised that freedom to those like David—who put their trust in Him—knowing that He is their strong fortress.
Please share a comment! Ed.