When you read a Bible verse, how do you decide which words to focus on?
For example, which would you say are the important words in the following verses:
“Blessed be the LORD, my rock…
My lovingkindness and my fortress,
My stronghold and my deliverer;
My shield and He in whom I take refuge.” Psalm 144:1-2 (NASB)
The first time I read these verses, my attention was drawn to the various attributes and names of God listed there: LORD, lovingkindness, fortress, stronghold, deliverer, shield, refuge.
But the last time I studied the same verses, my attention was drawn to a word I had previously overlooked: my. Each name and attribute David listed was preceded by personal ownership. David didn’t just know about God, he had experienced these attributes in a personal way.
The author, David, was the second king of the unified nation of Israel, but he wasn’t born into a royal family. David was a shepherd and with that experience, God prepared him to shepherd a nation. Still, before he became a king, David was also a fugitive. For his own survival, he had to question the faithfulness of supposed friends even as he strove for godly responses to those who declared themselves his enemies.
The one constant throughout all his experiences, from shepherd to fugitive to king, was David’s relationship with the Lord. So when David wrote his psalms, he wrote out of personal experience. My rock. My lovingkindness. My fortress. My stronghold. My deliverer. My shield.
David didn’t just take someone else’s word for it. This was personal. He understood who God is because he had experienced who God is. David was able to say of God, “He is mine.”
Can the same be said of you and me?