9) “The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
10) And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: What is a “stronghold” (in the positive Biblical sense)? The Hebrew word translated “stronghold” in this verse literally means – a high place, a secure height, a retreat. It is a place that lifts you up above your enemy, up above your troubles. Immediately my thoughts go to the recent floods that we have experienced in North Texas. We have been blessed by rain having come out of a very severe drought. However, it has come in extremely great quantities and in an extremely short period of time. The results have been flooding. Whenever there is a flood the first thing a person instinct-fully does is seek “higher ground” (a stronghold).
Why is it that when we face such physical troubles we instinct-fully know what to do? However, when we face times of spiritual and emotional challenge, even physical (health) challenge, we don’t respond in the same kind? Perhaps we know that when flood waters are rising we don’t have many other options. It is seek “higher ground” (a stronghold) – or drown. However, when we face spiritual, emotional and physical challenges we have a myriad of other things that we can try before we come to our last resort – seeking “higher ground”.
This does not mean that we do not seek the help of a pastor, a counselor, or a doctor. All of these are very important and very much needed. However, there is something we need to always do first. That something is to run to our “stronghold”. That something is to run to the Lord! It is only from His perspective, from “higher ground”, that we are able to gain the insight into the steps that He has prescribed for our help and our healing. Note that the passage does not say that the Bible, prayer, worship, or anything we do is our stronghold. THE LORD is our stronghold! THE LORD is our “higher ground”.
The Psalmist goes on to say that He is a stronghold to those who “know” His name, who put their trust in the Lord. The end of the journey for this person is an encounter with the faithfulness and provision of the Lord. “…For you , O Lord, have not forsaken them who seek you.” The writer of Hebrews echoes the same truth when he writes – “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 ESV)
The ultimate goal of life is faith – working through love. God wants our heart, single and undivided. He is more interested in our hearts than anything else. He may allow trouble in our lives if that is the only thing that will drive us to “higher ground”. When it does, and when we turn our hearts fully to the Lord, we find His Grace, His Strength, His Comfort, and His Provision. The flood may still be raging around us, but we find ourselves in His Perfect Peace, because our hearts and minds have found His “higher ground”.
Lord, draw me this morning to “higher ground”. May I not grumble about my circumstances. Rather, let me come to you in full assurance of faith. Let me call upon Your Name in my time of trouble and find Your Grace, Your Strength, Your Comfort, and Your Peace! I know that You will not forsake those who diligently seek You! In Jesus Name!