Psalm 59:9, 16–17: “O my Strength, I watch for you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. . . . But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God” (NIV).

Observation: In other verses of Psalm 59 David’s oppression is palpable. Saul had sent soldiers to watch David’s house in order to kill him. Israel itself would later find other applications for the Psalm when the nation was besieged, yet attention for today is drawn to David’s situation and to three verses using three words three times to describe God: He is David’s strength, his fortress, and He is loving.

Application: Imagine David’s life in those days, ardently pursued by an army of 3,000 and seeking effective hiding places in an uncomfortably small region. David’s confidence in God’s deliverance never wavers even as he realistically portrays the wickedness of his enemy. Yet in the midst of unremitting danger, David’s characterizations of God remain consistent: Strength, fortress, and love.

David’s repeated confession of who God is provides much-needed comfort to his soul in the midst of great trial, yet it contrasts with great swaths of the church today as believers presume to take this Scripturally sound principle one better, thereby falling into error. Many embrace secular management and sales training techniques even in today’s church, encouraging us toward repeated confession of goals to which we aspire. Driven by desire to attain “x” we are encouraged toward behavior “y” by listening to success tapes, reading success books, and making positive confessions to immerse ourselves in an I-can-achieve-this environment.

And it works. Growing out of Scriptural principles here modeled by David, we can indeed achieve what we envision. But that was precisely the danger attending construction of the Tower of Babel. God Himself said, “Nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them” (Gen 11:6).

I must always keep primary the one prize truly worth pressing toward: the prize of being called heavenward in Christ Jesus (see Phil 3:14). Any other prize is a pursuit less worthy of Christ’s sacrifice, and can become cunningly deceptive in pulling my heart away from the pure Gospel. Positive, accurate confession of who I am in Christ (beloved of the Father, seated with Christ in the heavenlies, healed, victorious) together with David’s confession of God’s attributes are the focuses I must keep before my soul above all others.

Prayer:  Lord, You are my strength. I am weak, but You are not. You are my fortress. I search frantically and find only ineffective hiding places, but You are the true fortress. You are love. Even in my self-seeking, You are love.