Before writing Psalm 18, David had been in terrible distress and danger, but God had preserved his life and rescued him. Because of God’s help, David hadn’t just survived; he had emerged victorious! So, he sings this psalm of praise and thanksgiving for all God has done and for who He is to David.
Key verses from Psalm 18
1 I love you, Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.
6 In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help.
30 As for God, his way is perfect; the Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?
46 The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! (NIV)
This is a great song of worship and praise for the Lord’s divine intervention, delivering David against all odds from his enemy Saul, and also for bringing David through his difficulties to a safe place. When we seek God and hold on to his word, then we find peace and hope, because no one else is God, no one else is Lord; only He is the Rock.
God is our rock -- stable, strong, firm and safe. He is our shield, the one who guards us and keeps us safe. God is the strength of our salvation, so whenever we are weak, we will surely find strength in Him. God is our stronghold, the place where we go for protection.
God's way is perfect and His word is flawless. In the middle of all the current uncertainty, disease, death, suffering and everything that may darken this temporary place we live in, we must remember that this, too, is part of God's perfect plan. We can always read God’s flawless word and trust that ALL IS WELL!
The one place where we can find refuge is in Him. Today we need to come before the Lord, our Rock and our Savior to praise and worship Him. God still is, and always will be, in control.
Since God is ever-present, almighty, loving and unchangeable, we too can sing this song today and every day of our lives. God has always and will always intervene and deliver us from our enemies, from dangers, from trouble.
We need to call on God: Lord, be the strength of my salvation when I call on you, be my rock, my shield, my stronghold. Lord, I will ever praise you because you are worthy, because your ways are perfect and your word is flawless.
We are involved in a war—not with a national, political enemy, but a spiritual war between the God of the universe and the god of this world. This battle has eternal consequences. We know how it turns out in the end: God wins! However, while we wait for that last chapter, single battles may be lost in our culture. Ultimately, we know that our Lord will triumph and those who are faithful will triumph with Him. Everyone will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11).
While we look forward to that day and pray that our Lord would return soon, we must still take cultural conflicts seriously. God’s people are under attack in many parts of the world. Christians are persecuted for their faith. Our values are challenged. We are ridiculed and sometimes forced to pay a price for taking a stand for righteousness and practical holiness. Our enemy is often brazen, while we sometimes appear to be asleep at the wheel.
A former White House correspondent declared in an interview that she would gladly offer sexual favors to President Clinton because of his support for abortion rights. What is striking about her comment is not that she would make such an offer to the president. It is her brazenness in making such a comment, her contempt for morality, and her confidence that our times have degenerated to the point that she could make such an offer openly -- with little expectation of public outcry from today’s “politically correct” media!
Few people are as “brazen for Jesus” as she was for her cause! The day may be approaching when our advocacy of righteousness may have to be more boldly asserted if our message is to be heard in today’s marketplace of ideas.
The intensity of the spiritual battle going on around us was apparent to a friend who spent a couple of days in Indio, California. It was so hot outside that he decided to stay indoors to study and finish some writing projects. When he went out for a bite to eat, the temperature was well over 110 degrees. While driving to a restaurant, he spotted a couple of young men in white shirts, ties, and dark pants, on bicycles. They had stopped at a street corner, in the hot noon sun, to share their faith with a pedestrian.
Some might suggest that it is more stupid than strategic for those young men to be out in such brutal heat. Still, how many Christians do you know that plan their life, and count it a privilege, to donate one or two years in an adverse climate in order to share Christ with other people? The cultural war we’re part of will doubtless require us to make the tough choice between being uncomfortable on the front lines or remaining behind closed doors in comfort.
We are engaged in a war. We already know how it will end. But what are we going to do about the local battles God has called us to fight. Daniel attempted to prepare God’s people for the coming battle. He warned them that the enemy would deceive God’s people and lead them astray. In the midst of the conflict, he assured them that the people who know their God would resist him and that the wise would instruct many, though some would die for their faith (Dan. 11:32-35). Nevertheless, those who remain faithful and take a stand for godliness will ultimately triumph. Are we willing to take a stand for God and for godliness in our society?
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46:1-3 (NIV)
Because I have lived in a country where very strong earthquakes are too common, experiencing the power of God in nature is something that is not foreign to me whatsoever. I remember a particularly strong earthquake that hit us when I was growing up; it shook the ground so hard it sloshed out half the water stored in our pila, and the pila was full! The walls crimped, the power lines and the poles on the street shook violently, and drivers found it difficult to keep driving straight.
My Honduran relatives, who were visiting us, were even more amazed than I was to see the power of God displayed this way. It was then that I realized that as humans, we do not have control of anything; it is our great and most Holy God. He is the one that is in total control of everything, always!
Psalm 46 has been expressed in the popular hymn by Martin Luther, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”. Verses 1 through 3 talk about the presence of God in cataclysms, and the psalmist comforts God’s people by saying that the Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress. I think we should experience the Lord Almighty in this quarantine as our fortress, as our very accessible help in dire times as these! Even when “the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,” or “the plague that destroys at midday” assaults us (NIV), we should not fear: God is with us, He is Immanuel!
During the events that assail us, and even when we reel from different unexpected things that are thrown at us (no matter where you are in life), God is capable of assuaging our biggest fears when we choose to make Him our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. If God is our fortress, an isolated, elevated place where people built a stronghold against the enemy, there is no reason for us to fear.
“A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; Our Helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing”: let us not fear! God is with us, in us, and for us!
Enjoy this beautiful rendition of Martin Luther’s “A mighty fortress is our God (Ein' feste Burg)”, and rely on our beautiful Yahweh, even to the point of not fearing!
When I have confronted difficult circumstances over the years, one of the Bible passages that has given me greatest solace and peace is in Luke 12. To summarize, in verses 22 and 23 Jesus tells us: "…do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.” In verses 25 and 26 he tells us: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” He concludes in verse 31 saying: “But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)
The passage is especially relevant and comforting in current times. We are confronting the consequences of COVID 19 that cause deep worry to abound. We are practically imprisoned in our homes. We may suddenly undergo self-quarantine having constant doubt about whether we have been lethally infected. Many of us face job loss, economic collapse, sickness of ourselves and family members, hospitalization and even imminent death.
How can we find peace in these circumstances? How can we possibly not worry when these threats are constantly knocking at the front door or have already entered the household seeking to drag us into the depths of despair?
In these troubling conditions, we must face the truth. Do we really believe Jesus or not? Jesus tells us not to worry and to seek God’s kingdom. Worrying does us absolutely no good whatsoever. It only increases our suffering. Most importantly, He tells us that when we seek God’s kingdom, God will attend to our real needs.
Of course, we must be properly cautious and responsible, pray continuously as God commands and not put God to the test by flouting good guidelines. But when we do, it is a true test of our faith -- whether or not we can stop worrying and find peace in the midst of turbulent times.
Do we really believe or don’t we? The truth is that God always knows exactly what is happening. He loves us boundlessly. He wants the very best for us and knows exactly what that is. He has absolute power to achieve the very best for us. There is eternal life with Jesus awaiting us. The truth is that when we put ourselves in God’s hands with faith, God WILL ALWAYS provide what is absolutely best for us in an eternal scope (although it may not be what we want). We can cast doubts aside, trust totally in Him, completely stop worrying and be at peace.
God’s promise does not mean maybe or sometimes. There is no need for Plan B. It is His promise always. When we firmly believe and pass this test of faith, we can truly stop worrying and find incredible peace, even in the most trying circumstances with no end in sight, such as those we are currently facing.
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