One of the wonderful things about God is that he is woven into everything. Even his names are woven together and overlap with compounding purpose. We spoke of Jehovah Sali and Metshodhathi, our Rock and Fortress. What if we took that Rock and Fortress and combined the two of them? We’d end up with another name for the almighty, Jehovah Misqabbi (Stronghold; Strong Tower).
When I was a child, my father took us on a trip to Israel and we went to a place called Masada. I remember climbing what seemed to be this monstrous mountain and getting a shirt that said “I climbed Masada”. It was a highlight of that trip. Decades later, I returned to Israel with my spouse, and visited this site again. It quickly became one of my favourite places, but his time for other reasons.
Masada was desert fortress stronghold like no other. It was built 1,300 ft above the dead sea in the middle of wasteland, upon a rocky mesa and covered 18 acres. Built by King Herod, Masada literally means strong foundation or support. Herod was an absolute architectural genius. The things that he built were just unreal for his day and age. This place was built upon and into the rock. It had almost 30 store rooms with enough supplies to last 1,000 people for years. He built cisterns right into the mountain side that would collect the natural rain. 40,000 cubic metres of storage, enough for an endless supply of drinking. Conquering this location was no easy feat and eventually the Romans succumbed to using Jewish captives on the forefront to overthrow their enemy.
Strongholds were a place of safety and last stands. The cities and nations would retreat to them as a rallying point when enemy nations came on their conquests.
David is blending many attributes of God together in Psalms 18:2 (2 Samuel 22:2)
“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 (Misqabbi)” describing Jehovah as his trusted place of safety and protection in the midst of life’s storms. Like Masada, this imagery reminds me of LOTR, Helm’s Deep. All of middle earth is at war, the enemy came to wipe them out with numbers untold. The people formed their last stand in the rocky fortress, a stronghold whose walls had never been breached. See how the strength of the Rock, the walls, the high ground making it almost impregnable.
This is David’s imagery. I can rest in Jehovah Misqabbi for long seasons of unrest. When battles rage around me and against me, he found peace and serenity within the walls of his God. He speaks of the righteous running into the name of God as a strong tower.
Having a place of safety in world that is not safe, is so foundational to our lives as believers. Luke 21:26 says that “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” Fear abounds, disease runs rapid, insecurity and instability surrounds us. There is no doubt that fear is griping people’s hearts, but we can be of good cheer for our God has overcome the world. He is our place of safety and that alone is without measure in my life.
Lets show how we can pray Jehovah Misqabbi…I thank you Lord that you are my Strong Tower this day. That I can find peace and safety within your arms. That you are a hedge of protection round about me. That your defenses will not fail. That you are strength to me, you act as the pillar of fire between my enemies and me. That the foundation of my security and hopes in firmly built upon your rock which is a fortress and stronghold in my life…