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What does it mean that the Lord is my strength and my song (Psalm 118:14)?

strength and my song

The psalmist declares, “The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation” (Psalm 118:14, ESV). This verse is an exact quote from Exodus 15:2, part of Moses’ victory song after crossing the Red Sea. In Psalm 18:1, David repeats the sentiment, “I love you, LORD, my strength.”

Psalm 118 is a thanksgiving psalm. The worshiper begins by offering praise to the Lord for His steadfast, enduring love. In verse 5, the psalmist calls to the Lord in his distress, and God answers and rescues him. The songwriter then contrasts human power to God’s might and acknowledges that the real source of his help and survival is the Lord, who is the strength of his life.

Maybe in your distress, you’ve never called on the Lord for help. In your weakened state of need, you’ve never imagined God could answer—that He would reach down from heaven to rescue you from deep waters (Psalm 144:7). Perhaps you’re here reading this page because your heart is longing to know, “How can the Lord be my strength and my song?”

The strength that comes from God, that delivers people from death and equips them to follow Him and be safe from danger for all eternity, is not physical but spiritual (Psalm 84:7). First and foremost, we need the strength of God’s salvation. Humans do not have the power to save themselves. Only God can save us: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9; see also James 4:12). All we need to be saved is to “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31).

Once we receive God’s strength at salvation, we can begin to “understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1:19–21). The Lord enables us to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10). God’s strength delivers us totally and empowers us to do good (Psalm 84:7; 28:8).

If we desire the Lord to be the strength of our life, we can pray this incredible prayer for spiritual strength: “For this reason I kneel before the Father. . . . I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:14–21).

We do not need any other source of power or deliverance because Jesus Christ is the strength of our lives. Even when we feel weary and ineffective, His power is perfected in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Christ’s limitless life is the source of strength for those who belong to Him.

If we seek the Lord daily to be our spiritual source, He renews and fills us with the Bread of Life and Living Water (John 4:10–14; 6:35; 7:38). He gives us His strength so that we can walk in His ways and endure through every circumstance we face. Like the apostle Paul, we can say, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NLT). Like the psalmist, we can declare, “The Lord is my strength and my song.”

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Questions about Psalms

What does it mean that the Lord is my strength and my song (Psalm 118:14)?
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This page last updated: October 5, 2023