I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
When did you last tell someone you loved them? Hmmm. That’s a hard question. I must confess that expressing my emotions in that way is hard for me. Not that I don’t mean it. It’s not that I don’t do it, because the sentiments are there inside me, but somehow those early conditioning years discouraged me speaking out anything emotional. I’m sure I’m not alone.
But what did the Psalmist, David, mean with the use of his word “love”? It implied not just a feeling, though that may be part of it, but mainly an attitude of heart, confirming and affirming that David was deeply interested in, and aware of, God, His Heavenly Father. That he was grateful for all His wonderful works and provisions, in fact all that he needed for life. And it involved the reciprocation for all the love God poured out on him, His son. Many years later, Jesus, in answer to a question from a Jewish religious lawyer, said that the first and most important commandment was, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” (Luke 10:27 NIV). It doesn’t get more complete than that! And that was the kind of love David was implying right at the start of this Psalm.
David associated the love of his Lord with His strength, using words such as “rock”, “fortress”, “deliverer”, “salvation” and “stronghold” to describe the way he felt about God. To David, God was utterly dependable. But how do we view God? In 21st Century Western society? Can we apply the same words David used in his day to our own relationships with God in our day? Or do we have God put in a box, with limits to what we think He can do. A box full of Sunday hymns and nice feelings but without any particular substance to help us, or a relationship to be lived out. It doesn’t matter where we live or what we do or think. Somewhere along the way, in our pilgrimage through life, we will come up against a problem. Will it overcome us, or will we rise up and declare, as David did, that God is our strength and our salvation? But one thing is for sure. God is always there for us. We may stumble and fall from time to time, but he will help us up and dust us off. And set our feet back on the Rock, ready and equipped for the next time something comes against us. Remember – God is the Lord of all.
Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. And Peter finally responded in a way that shaped the rest of his life. What would we say if Jesus asked us three times if we loved Him? Would we evade the question or embrace our wonderful Saviour with a resounding “Yes Lord, we love You!” A question to mull over in the day ahead.