SONG OF DELIVERANCE: Abigail and David, Part 3



In the previous two studies we saw both Abigail and David in their wilderness journeys.  We saw that David had been engaged in battles with Saul and other enemies leading up to the time he met Abigail.  We saw that Abigail was engaged in her own battle.  Many of us know very well what a wilderness experience is. Many of us have been engaged in our own spiritual battles for what may seem like an eternity.  That's why I find comfort in reading Psalm 18, a song of deliverance.

David gives us the description of this Psalm in the first verse: "To the Chief Musician.  A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD who spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.  And he said;  I will love You, O LORD, my strength."  The occasion for David writing this was the day the Lord delivered David from the hand of his enemies and Saul.  What comfort to hear that there did come a day that the Lord delivered David from the hand of his enemies. 

I will be using the Blue Letter Bible Outline for Biblical Use and Strong's for the meanings of words in this study.

I love God's Word so much. His Word is not only a beautiful love letter to us, but it's a masterpiece work of art, not only in its message, but also in its pattern and design. Only a Master Designer from outside our time domain could have written such a message. It is so rich and so full of wealth and treasure.  There is never disappointment when going on a treasure hunt in God's Word.  Every word is there by design and renders huge payoff when we take the time to dig.

The first treasure I uncovered in studying this Psalm is that there are two Hebrew words for rock. The first one is found in verse 2:  "The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."  This whole verse is packed with treasure, and we will get to that, momentarily.  The Hebrew word for rock here is cela' and means "crag, cliff, rock." "From an unused root meaning to be lofty; a craggy rock, literally or figuratively (a fortress);––(ragged) rock, stone(-ny), strong hold."

The second Hebrew word for rock is tsuwr found in verse 31 of this Psalm, and means "rock, cliff, block of stone, boulder."  "Properly, a cliff (or sharp rock, as compressed); generally, a rock or boulder; figuratively a refuge; also an edge (as precipitous);––edge, x (mighty) God (one), rock, x sharp, stone, x strength, x stone."  It is from the root tsuwr (same spelling) which means "to bind, besiege, confine, cramp, to secure, shut in, shut up, enclose, show hostility, be an adversary, treat as foe."

I asked my Christian Jewish friend, who happens to be a Rabbi, if he could give some insight on the use of these two words.  He told me cela was like a huge cliff or mountain that is going to protect you from something...in this case, Someone you hide in...like taking shelter.  Tsuwr is more like a rock that is used as a weapon or defense mechanism.  If we look at where these two words are first mentioned in the Bible, the treasure begins to appear.  Also significant is that tsuwr is the word first used for rock.  Exodus 17:6: '"Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink." (Emphasis mine.)  And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.  To give context, this was after the Israelites began to murmur and complain and the Lord had given them manna and quail, and they were camped at Rephidim with no water to drink.  God told Moses to strike the rock and water would come out as a picture of Jesus, our Rock, who would be struck (mortally wounded) and out of Him would flow the Living Water.  

If we continue in that chapter, we see that Amalek came and fought with the Israelites at Rephidim after this.  Amalek means "dweller in a valley" and is a type of the flesh.  He was a grandson of Esau.
This passage can illustrate how once we are saved, the flesh fights against the spirit, but Jesus is our Rock, and in a sense our weapon against the flesh.  When we have the Living Water we are victorious over our battles.

The second time the word tsuwr is used is in Exodus 33:21-23: "And the LORD said, 'Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock.  So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by.  Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.'" (Emphasis mine.)  Look at verse 14 prior to this: "And He said, 'My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'"  No extra words are needed to convey what this is saying.

Now let's look at the second word for rock cela that is also used after the word tsuwr.  The first mention for cela interestingly is in Numbers 20:8 and is when God tells Moses to speak to the rock the second time.  Don't miss this. Remember in the first study SPEAK TO THE ROCK this is second time that God was going to provide water from the Rock. God told Moses this time, to speak to the rock and water would come out. But Moses struck it instead of speaking.  It cost him the opportunity to go into the Promised Land.  But the takeaway for this study is this:  remember that cela is used more as a stronghold, someone you hide in.   Do you see what has emerged here?  At first, Jesus, our Rock is our strength, our weapon, our defense.  I'm reminded of Isaiah 49:2 speaking of the Savior: 'And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me, and made Me a polished shaft; in His quiver He has hidden Me." But as we grow in our journey with Him, we realize how big He is and who He is to us.

We have battles in this world with the world, the flesh and the devil, but He is our Rock. He gives us what we need for battle.  As we grow, we go from fighting to speaking. Our posture changes as we mature. As our relationship with Him grows, He becomes bigger to us.  He becomes our Mountain, our Refuge.  He becomes more precious to us.  We begin to realize Who He is and worship Him for Who He is, not just for what He can do for us.  Our mouths begin to be used for praise.  Our love for Him grows exponentially.

Notice back in verse 1 of Psalm 18 where David said "I will love You, O LORD, my strength."  The Hebrew word is racham means "to love, love deeply, have mercy, be compassionate, have tender affection, have compassion."  In reading about this word, it seems this is a somewhat unusual word and is used to express intense emotion and compassion.  The first mention of this word is found in that same passage in Exodus 33, referenced earlier, where God put Moses on the rock so he could see God's glory as it passed by.  Verses 18 and 19 say, "And he said, 'Please, show me Your glory.' Then He said, 'I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you, I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.'"  The word translated compassion here in the NKJV is that same word racham.

I know in my own life, my time in the wilderness, my "dark night of the soul" has caused me to love my Lord so much more and has made me so grateful to Him for what He has done with me and in me in the process of that wilderness.  He still has much work to do in me, but I'm so glad He didn't leave me where I was, but chipped away.  He has done good things in my life through much pain and suffering.  The recognition of the good things He does in our lives during those time of pain causes that emotional love that David was expressing.  Again, we learn better Who He is and we love Him more.  This Psalm 18 is David's song to the Chief Musician, the Lord Himself. Then comes a plethora of words describing  who God is to David:  "And he said:  'I will love you, O LORD my strength, the LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust;  my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.'" (Emphasis mine.)

The word for strength is chezeg and simply means "strength."  It's from the word
chazag which means "to strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, courageous, be firm, grow firm."

The Hebrew word for fortress is matsuwd and means "a net, or (abstractly) capture; also a fastness; ––castle, defense, fort(-ress), (strong)hold, be hunted, net, snare, strong place."

The Hebrew word for deliverer is palat and means "to bring into security, deliver, to cause to escape, cast forth, to be delivered, to slip away."

The word translated strength the second time is again the word tsuwr.

The word translated in whom I will trust is chacah and means "to seek refuge, flee for protection, to confide in, have hope, make refuge, (put) trust."


The Hebrew word for shield is magen and means "shield, buckler."

The Hebrew word for salvation is Yesha' and means "deliverance, salvation, rescue, safety, welfare."

The Hebrew word for stronghold is misgrab and means "high place, refuge, secure height, retreat."

It had been a long trial for David.  It has been a long trial for many of us.  God's Word exhorts us many times to persevere, to endure, to keep going.  We do this by finding our refuge in Him.  That last word for stronghold, misgrab, in its meaning of "high place" reminds me of Isaiah 40:31: "But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."  He takes us to a high place when we wait on Him.  We can soar like eagles with Him.  We know from Ephesians 2: 6  that when we are in Christ, our position is that we are seated in the heavenly places with Him.  If we could remember this, especially during our trials, in our times of affliction...to see ourselves seated with Him, looking down on what is happening...watching how He beautifully works everything to our good and His glory, to conform us into His image.

David continues in Psalm 18 to describe the sorrows, the pangs of death, the snares of death, the distress, the darkness, the enemies.  We know it too well.  There are many times in our battles that it seems we walk in darkness and have no light.  The Lord deliberately lets that happen to teach us to trust in Him, to rely on Him, to grope for Him, to teach us things we can learn no other way.  As David says in verse 18: "For You will light my lamp; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness."

How beautiful are the words that follow in verses 29-36: "For by You I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall, as for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.  For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.  He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places.  He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.  You enlarged my path under me; so that my feet did not slip."

Dear Ones, if you are in a long season of affliction and your deliverance is delayed, remember you are seated in the heavenly places with your King.  He's already won the victory.  He is doing things in your life that will cause you to love Him beyond what you imagined.  But remember, He loves you even so much more than that. Indescribable.

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