By: Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv.


Psalm 18:1-2 (NKJV)

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.


With the proliferation of fitness centers springing up daily in America, one would think that a regular and consistent workout routine will make you strong and build your strength. All the advertisements and testimonials seem to substantiate those claims. Yet, when we read this psalm of David’s on the day he was delivered from his enemies and from the hand of Saul, he not only suggests, but makes a declaration that his strength was not of his own, but a gift from the Lord Himself.


The word strength in the Hebrew is ‘oz’ (pronounced oaz). It means power and security, firm and strong.  When the psalmist writes that the Lord is his strength, he elucidates and tells us that this strength has forged a rock and a fortress so impenetrable that it has become his fortress and the Lord his deliverer. He says that it was the Lord who kept his from his enemies. When David talks about strength, he describes it as having made him so strong that his enemies can’t touch him. He is shielded and fortified in the stronghold of the Lord. Notice that nowhere does he say that it is his strength or the might or the might of his hand that has delivered him. He declares that the Lord is the source, the substance and has manifested His strength in him. Essentially, he is saying that he would have no strength if it were not for the Lord.


During this month of Black History, I did a lot of thinking about the strength it took for them to survive and then thrive after having been deprived of so much through a system of slavery that is unprecedented in world history. They exhibited unprecedented strength during the more than 465 years they were enslaved. History proves that it could not have been the individual strength of the slaves to finally set them free, but the strength that could only come for a God who could build a fortress around them, become their rock and their salvation, be their fortress, and ultimately, deliver them in the same fashion He delivered David.


As a proud descendent of those slaves and a preacher of the gospel, I know for sure that the strength of the Lord is a strong tower; that the strength of the Lord is a bulwark; that the strength of the Lord delivers those who trust in Him! Just like the Lord delivered David from his enemies and from the hand of Saul; just as He delivered the enslaved African-Americans from the devastation of slavery, from Jim Crow, and from segregation, He can and He will deliver you from whatever your dilemma may be. The criteria is simple; trust that He is your strength; that He is your rock; your fortress, your shield, your stronghold, your salvation, and ultimately, your deliverer.


He is my strength and my deliverer. What about you?


Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv is President/CEO of The JLR Company, and an associate minister at both Goodwill and Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx. He hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio (internet), Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM., or by phone at 626-226-1448

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