World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
The Lord Is My Rock and My Fortress
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who addressed the words of this song to the Lord on the day when the Lord rescued him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said:
1I love you, O Lord, my strength.
2The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
6In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
7Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
8Smoke went up from his nostrils,22Or in his wrath
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9He bowed the heavens and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
10He rode on a cherub and flew;
he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
11He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
thick clouds dark with water.
12Out of the brightness before him
hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
13The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
and the Most High uttered his voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
14And he sent out his arrows and scattered them;
he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
15Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at your rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
16He sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.
17He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
18They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
19He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
20The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
21For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22For all his rules33Or just decrees were before me,
and his statutes I did not put away from me.
23I was blameless before him,
and I kept myself from my guilt.
24So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
26with the purified you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
27For you save a humble people,
but the haughty eyes you bring down.
28For it is you who light my lamp;
the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
29For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
30This God—his way is perfect;44Or blameless
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
31For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?—
32the God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
33He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
34He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me,
and your gentleness made me great.
36You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip.
37I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
and did not turn back till they were consumed.
38I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise;
they fell under my feet.
39For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
you made those who rise against me sink under me.
40You made my enemies turn their backs to me,55Or You gave me my enemies' necks
and those who hated me I destroyed.
41They cried for help, but there was none to save;
they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
42I beat them fine as dust before the wind;
I cast them out like the mire of the streets.
43You delivered me from strife with the people;
you made me the head of the nations;
people whom I had not known served me.
44As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me;
foreigners came cringing to me.
45Foreigners lost heart
and came trembling out of their fortresses.
46The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation—
47the God who gave me vengeance
and subdued peoples under me,
48who delivered me from my enemies;
yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me;
you rescued me from the man of violence.
49For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations,
and sing to your name.
50Great salvation he brings to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever.
41. They shall cry, etc. The change of the tense in the verb from the past to the future does not break the continuity of the narration; and, therefore, the words should be explained thus: Although they cried to God, yet their prayers were rejected by him. He pursues the same subject which it was his object to illustrate before, namely, that it was at length manifest from the issue that his enemies falsely boasted of having the support and countenance of God, who showed that he had turned away from them. It is true, that when their affairs continued to go on prosperously, they sometimes received such applause and commendation, that it was commonly believed that God was favorable to them, while, at the same time he seemed to be opposed to David, who although he cried night and day to him, found it of no avail. But after God had sufficiently tried the patience of his servant, he cast them down, and disappointed them of their vain hope; yea, rather he would not deign to hear their prayers. We now perceive the design of David in these words. As the ungodly had long wickedly abused the name of God, by pretending that he favored their unjust proceedings, the Psalmist derides their vain boasting, in which they were completely disappointed. It is to be observed, that he here speaks of hypocrites, who never call upon God in sincerity and truth. For this promise shall never fail,
“The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth,” (Psalm 145:18.)
David does not, therefore, say that his enemies were repulsed when they had recourse to God with sincere affection of heart, but only when, with their accustomed effrontery, they thought that God was, so to speak, bound to conduct and advance their wicked enterprises. When the ungodly, in the extremity of their distress, pour forth prayers, and when, cast down with fear, and trembling with the dread of impending evils, they show an appearance of humility, they, notwithstanding, do not change their purpose so as truly to repent and amend the evil of their ways. Besides, instead of being influenced by faith, they are actuated by presumption and hardness of heart, or they pour forth their complaints in doubt, rather for the purpose of murmuring against God, than of familiarly and confidently placing their trust in him. from this passage we may gather a profitable warning, namely, that all who treat the afflicted poor with cruel mockery, and who proudly thrust back those who come to them as humble suppliants, will experience that God is deaf to their prayers. We are farther taught by the following verse, that after God has cast off the ungodly, he leaves them to be treated with every kind of indignity, and gives them up to be trampled under foot, as the mire of the streets. He not only declares, that when the proud and the cruel cry to him in their affliction, he will shut his ears against their cry; but he also threatens, that, in the course of his retributive providence, they shall be treated in the same manner in which they treat others.