Friend or Foe?

Psalm 18.

Have you ever read it?  I had not until today.  Oh sure, I probably skimmed over it once or twice but I don’t believe I’ve ever sat and “chewed” on it.

But today I have, and it is both comforting and terrifying.  If you are not familiar with this chapter, will you pause now and read it?

David is the author of this Psalm and he is writing it after God provided the victory over his enemies and Saul.  Of course, Saul was also an enemy, so why emphasis his name?  To remind us, that even our scariest, most overwhelming enemies can be defeated when God is on our side.

David opens with a word of praise; many words of praise as he describes this great God that he serves.

Rock.  Fortress.  Deliverer.  Shield.  Stronghold.  Certainly someone that we want on our team!

But jump back over to the Psalm and read verses 7-15.  These verses describe what it is like to be an opponent of God.  Really take a moment and picture the imagery here.  Smoke rolling from his nostrils, fire flaming from his mouth, hailstones and coals of fire as rain, angry arrows being shot every which way.  And the one that got me the most.  “…and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.”  (v. 15b).  Do you hear what David is saying?  All God has to do is snort out one breath of air and the earth could be decimated.

Then David tells of the victory God provided.  He drew me out.  He rescued me.  He supported me.  “He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.” (v.19)

God delighted in David!  The same God that can eliminate the earth with one breath called his child up onto his lap and said, I delight in you!

Why?  How?

The answer is in verse 20.  “The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.”  The difference between victory and defeat lies in the simple fact that David lived a life that was pleasing to God.  Oh, David messed up…a lot…and big time.  But he was still described as a man after God’s own heart.  When he found himself in sin, he confronted it and then repented and turned the other way.

(I can hear my children waking up so I’m going to have to wrap this up, but I want to make one more observation before I go.)

“I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from guilt.”  (v. 23)

David didn’t expect God to do all the work for him, he knew that in order to stay holy and clean he was going to have to work at avoiding temptation and staying out of situations that were going to cause him to sin.

Being a follower of Jesus is not easy work, but being his enemy…well, that leads to death and destruction.  Permanently.  Forever.  So bring on the challenge.  Make every effort to be blameless before him so when the enemy does come we can simply crawl up on our daddy’s lap and rest in His delight while we watch him destroy our foe.  The victory will be ours every time.

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