The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
I have put all my trust in the God of Jacob. But why the God of Jacob? Why not “The God of Israel”. That’s the question I can’t stop contemplating. When you stop and think about it, something very specific is being magnified in that verse. It’s the God of Jacob who is my fortress.
Jacob came out of the womb holding his twin brother’s heel. His mother named him Jacob because the name meant to grab the heel of another person, or literally to supplant or trick someone out of something. And Jacob’s name characterized him from the beginning.
Let’s look at him for a moment. What is Jacob known for? He tricked his brother out of his birthright. He tricked his father-in-law out of his livestock. He was lied to and treated unfairly. He was terrified and hid from his brother for years out of fear of retribution. And then he wrestled with God and demanded a blessing.
So, to recap: Jacob was a liar, a trickster, a scaredy cat, and a control freak who thought it was perfectly fine to make demands of God, steal from his family, and hide and run away from his enemies.
And it’s the God of Jacob that is our fortress.
Is it sinking in yet? The God of Jacob is our fortress. The God of the trickster, liar, coward, narcissist, control freak is our fortress.
I’ve had a lot of conversations with God about how unworthy I am. I get hard on myself. I’m overly critical. I’m a perfectionist that fails at perfection on a daily–no, hourly–basis. To chase a rabbit for a minute, sometimes I think that the only reason God loves me is because of Jesus. Seems like a fair statement.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21
So before Jesus I wasn’t good enough for God. Right? Not quite.
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
So, he died for us while we were his enemies, while we were sinners. Before He died for us He loved us. And we know that because of Jacob. (And a million other people in the Old Testament who were equally awful.) We know that God loves us before and after our salvation.
The God of Jacob is our fortress because God made a promise to Abraham and God doesn’t break His promises.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty;[a] walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram,[b] but your name shall be Abraham,[c] for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”
The next time you think God isn’t with you because of what you’ve done, I want you to remember this one simple fact: The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
And who are we? We are made by God with an offer to accept the rights of God’s promise to Abraham. God made a way for us (and we know that way to be Jesus) and in that we have salvation from our enemies, even if your enemy is yourself.
The God of Jacob is our fortress. It’s liberating, isn’t it?