Psalm 18:1-3, 6b ESV
I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies…
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
Sometimes in this life we will be brought to places of decision where we will have to go against the majority opinion in order to love our Lord and to give him the honor and loyalty that he alone deserves. And, sometimes we may even have to stand alone with no one else supporting us but God. And, so we will need much strength and courage to stand strong on our faith.
Peer pressure can be very powerful, especially if it comes from those within our own faith. And, there may even be temptation to go along with the majority opinion just to make peace. But, if going along with the majority means dishonoring our God, then we must choose God over humans. We must have courage to stand strong on our faith even in the midst of much strong opposition. But, the Lord will be our strength, so we must not fear.
The Lord will give us all that we need to remain faithful to him in all ways and to stand on the word of God and to not falter due to human opinion. So, when we are presented with such situations as this, we are to go to the Lord in prayer, seek his counsel, and then do what he says, believing he will get the glory through it all. And, he will help us to endure, and to be faithful, and to not give way to the enemy of our souls who wants to bring us down.
Psalm 18:16-19 ESV
He sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.
He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
Our God rescues us who love him in many different ways. He may physically rescue us from our human enemies, but he may not. For, he does not promise us that we will never have to suffer. In fact, he promises us that we will have to suffer for the sake of his name, and for the sake of his gospel. And, he tells us quite frankly that we will be hated, and that we will be persecuted and accused falsely and put in prison and killed for our faith.
So, his deliverance of us and his rescuing us from our enemies is not always going to be physical. Most of the time, I believe, the deliverance comes from within, not from without. We are delivered from fear of what people are going to do to us or say about us. We are set free from the power Satan once had over our lives. We are strengthened and encouraged in the Lord to stand strong in our faith, too, and in this way the enemy is not able to defeat us or to overtake us to the point to where we deny our Lord.
So, even in the midst of a fierce battle with the enemy, which is against our minds and against our hearts, in the strength of the Lord we can stand firm. And, in this way the enemy cannot defeat us. He cannot overtake us. He may injure us, but we will not be destroyed! Amen! And, sometimes, too, the Lord will deliver us from our enemy through death, and then our suffering will be no more, but we will be forever with our Lord. Amen!
Psalm 18:25-30 ESV
With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
with the purified you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
For you save a humble people,
but the haughty eyes you bring down.
For it is you who light my lamp;
the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
Amen! We are saved by God through his grace when we humble ourselves before our God in submission to his will and in turning away from our sinful lifestyles to follow him in obedience to his will and to his ways. For, we are only made righteous through the blood of Christ shed on a cross for our sins.
We can only be blameless and pure through our faith in Jesus Christ, and not of ourselves. God’s grace to us and our faith in him are both gifts from God to us in order that we might be saved from our slavery to sin and be found in him pure and holy. But, we must receive his grace into our lives, and we must apply the faith he has provided for us to our lives, as well.
Yet, we need to understand that his grace to us is not just forgiveness of sins and a promise of heaven when we die. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions (fleshly lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return (Tit. 2:11-14; cf. Eph. 4:17-24).
Also, our faith in him is not just a religion, and it is not just lip service, nor is it faith in some kind of religious practice. For, the faith that it takes to believe in Jesus is divinely persuaded as to God’s holiness and his righteousness and of our need to humble ourselves before God, and to surrender our lives to him to be lived for him, for his glory and praise.
And, this is why God gets the glory when we live our lives for him, for we cannot do this in our own strength or via our own willpower. It is only as we surrender our lives over the Lord and as we submit to the Lordship of Christ over our lives that we are made righteous before God in his sight. For, it is through his empowerment and by his grace that we are able to live for him and no longer for the flesh.
Yet, those who refuse to yield their lives to his control are still the ones in control of their own lives, and so they are still walking by the flesh, in the darkness, and not by the Spirit. They are still dead in their sins and are not alive to God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. And, this is because they will not let go of their flesh lives, and they will not surrender their lives to the control of God’s righteousness (Lu. 9:23-25; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).
So, if you want the Lord to be your shield and your defense, and you want to be shown his mercy, and to have forgiveness of sins, and the hope of eternal life with God, and the promise of heaven when you die, then you need to yield your life to his control. You need to then, in the power of God’s Spirit, walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. Then, the Lord will be your advocate (Rom. 8:1-17; Col. 1:13-14).
Words by William R. Newell, pub. 1895
Music by Daniel B. Towner, 1895
Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty
By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing
Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
*Copyright status is Public Domain
Sunday, July 7, 2019