“Evening everyone. We are in Psalm 18, if you’ll turn there, this evening. I hope you’re reading ahead as we go through the Psalms. I encourage you to be praying for the Pastor’s Conference, ah, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Memorial Day, two weeks from now down in Sandy Cove, a thousand Christian workers down the East Coast, Calvary Chapels, 200 senior pastors or so, the rest of them assistant pastors, some fellowship leaders, guys are coming in from the West Coast. God has blessed it, so we ask all the churches, six months ahead of time to start praying, we get all the prayer-groups. So we encourage you all to remember to be praying over them for the next two weeks. Who needs to be filled with the Holy Spirit more than pastors? Amen. So, we’re saying that for the right reason, amen (‘like I wish this one would get filled with the Holy Spirit’) [laughter] so. But, really pray, it’s a remarkable time, when we ask God as we gather, to minister to us. ‘Father we settle our hearts as we continue this evening, thank you that we can gather, and sing your praises, Lord. Thank you for the simplicity, Lord, that we still experience, Lord, we never want to take it for granted. We see in some ways, Lord, the world around us is slipping away from it’s moorings, this nation that we love, loosing its moral compass. And Father we ask that you would forgive us, you said that we should be light and salt in this present world [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/wearesalt.htm], and Lord, how blessed to be filled with your Spirit and be everything that we should be in this last desperate generation. And Lord, as men drink from every foul stream, Lord, as they come broken and thirsty for truth, for that which is real, Lord, cause us, Lord, as your Word says, by your Spirit to be able to give an answer to every man for the hope that we have [my answer, http://www.unityinchrist.com/Does/Does%20God%20Exist.html]. Fill us afresh, Lord, with your Spirit, give us your Word this evening, we trust you to do that Lord, we look to you, we pray in Jesus name and for his glory, amen.’
Verses 1-6, “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.” Psalm 18 kind of divides up, if you’re a note-taker, the first three verses are an introduction extraordinaire. The central body of the Psalm is from verse 20 to 31, David describing his experience, and how he responds to God and God responds to him. And then 46 to 50 is the conclusion that kind of reflects the introduction. And then on either side of that central section David describes how God granted him victory and worked on his behalf. From verses 4 to 19, 4 to 16 it kind of, the imagery is remarkable, it’s poetic. And then from verses 32 down to 45 he’s reflecting on again what God has done in his life. If you look at the introduction, and it’s written right in the Hebrew text, you read, it says
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said.
So this is one that was to be sung in public worship, this is a long song. So he goes into this song. Now we have this Psalm twice, we have it in 2nd Samuel chapter 22, where David is writing his response to all of these things. Then it is slightly edited and entered into the Song Book. So when God writes something twice, it’s because he wants us to listen to it twice as much as some of the other things. If it’s written in here and it’s written out twice, it’s because it’s something that he wants us to take note of. So, a remarkable song, listen, put to the page when David was delivered out of the hand of all of his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul. And so when we read these things and we look at these things, David’s saying ‘The LORD is my strength, he’s my fortress,' you know, that means one thing to us this evening, but understand what that means to a young man who found himself in the court of the king, found himself on the battlefield facing the giant of the Philistines, and then found himself for years persecuted, driven by Saul, having Saul’s life in his hand in a cave more than once, and his own men telling him to kill Saul, refusing, and one blow after another falls to him the wrong way. This is a man who ran for his life, who fled, this is a man who didn’t read about adventure stories, he didn’t go to the movies and watch adventure stories, he lived in one, and he lived on the wrong side of it. He was the one being chased and persecuted, and his life hanging in the balance. So certainly our struggles, our spiritual struggles, our experiences in life would always come in the context of what David is saying of the LORD’s effectiveness in his own life in granting him victory. There is no victory that God can’t give, and when you consider how God is writing through David and putting the quill to the page, doing it twice, and giving us the words to this song, and having it sung publicly in the worship in Israel, there’s something that God really brings before us here. And it starts out in a very remarkable, remarkable way. A lot of the old scholars say that the first three verses are the high water mark of devotion in the Old Testament, that this is some of the highest ground in regards to devotion recorded in all of the Old Testament. David begins by saying “I will love thee O LORD my strength.” (verse 1) Now the Hebrew says it differently, the Hebrew just says “I love you O Jehovah, I love you LORD.” And understand, this is a warrior, his sword had been bloodied many times, this is a man who can stand in battle, this is a man’s man. This is a man you don’t want to mess with, and you don’t mess with his buddies. This is a man’s man, and he begins by saying “I love you LORD.” It’s the only time in the Old Testament that form of the word love is used, the only time. It’s used in a number of different, about half a dozen other times in different forms. It is the only time it’s used in this form, and it’s the only time in the Bible that it’s used of a man’s love for God. It is used in several other places in regards to God’s love for man. It says in Psalm 103, verse 13, ‘Like as a father pitieth,’ that’s our word, ‘his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.’ Now David’s not saying ‘I pity you O LORD,’ obviously. But it’s saying there, and it’s a little bit different form of the word. But how does a father pity his children? You know, in some ways in the world the father has lost his place, you know, with Homer Simpson and everybody mocking the father and the man in the home. But a real dad, a real father, what does he feel in the deepest part of his being towards his own children. It isn’t just pity, it’s this thing that comes from deep inside, a father is one who would lay down his life for his children, it’s a deep, deep feeling. And that’s the word David uses, it’s the only time used of man towards God in the Old Testament, and he begins this Psalm after all of the years of things not working out, all of the years of his life hanging in the balance. He said he fled before Saul like a partridge upon the mountains. You know, most people by then, they’re bitter against God, ‘This is what I get? I put my life on the line, this is the way it goes? This is what you’re doing for me God? This is what you’re letting happen to me? I thought I was your kid, I thought you loved me.’ All this comes down and down and down, not for a week, not for a month, not for a year, for decades, for years. David was anointed by Samuel to be king of Israel, but he was not yet the king, he was anointed to be. [And this as a young teenager, and he didn’t become king over all of Israel until he was 40 years old.] And God would do a work in the heart of this man, that David would stand at the end of it, kind of bloodied, and beaten, and worn out, and alive, and turn around and say ‘I love you, I love you from the deepest part of my being.’ This is why, he says, he uses all these words to describe him. He says “I love you, O Jehovah my strength,’ number one, now we have “my” nine times in the first two verses, “my” “my” “my” “my” “my” “my” “my,” you have “my” nine times. Look, he says “my strength,” “my rock,” “my fortress,” “my deliverer,” again, “my strength” which is rock again, “my buckler,” “my salvation,” “my high tower,” understand what he’s saying here. ‘Lord, I love you Lord, my strength, my rock,’ he’s not just saying that. He’s not saying ‘Well this would be, I’m writing, trying to come up with cool words to a song,’ it’s not what he’s doing. He’s saying ‘You’ve been my strength, you have been my rock.’ And to learn that lesson, David went to the place where everything else in his life moved, everything else in his life toppled, everything else in his life was unstable. For him to learn that, he had come to the place where everything else in life was not rock solid, everything that we take for granted will be there everyday. He’s running without food, he’s running without shelter, he doesn’t have a roof over his head, he doesn’t have a bathroom, he doesn’t have a change of clothes, doesn’t have new sneakers, doesn’t have his Iphone, he’s running, the sword is after him through Saul. And he says ‘This is what I’ve learned, I love you LORD, because when everything else that can be moved moves, you don’t, you don’t LORD, you are my rock, you are my strength, I don’t know what you are anywhere else, I don’t know what they’re teaching in seminary, this is not a course I’ve learned somewhere, this is something I’ve learned through years of brokenness, you are my strength, you are my rock.’ Have you learned that the Lord is your fortress? It’s when every other fortress falls apart, every other place you think you’re safe, he had been in a lot of those, you follow him through Ziglak, all the battles, everything else that fell down, everything else he thought was stable, he says ‘No LORD, you’re my fortress, I can hold up in you, you’re my deliverer,’ you learn that when nothing else delivers, again, “my strength,” rock again, “in whom I will trust;” ‘I will find refuge in you, you are my buckler, my shield,’ is the word, in the Hebrew, ‘you’re my shield, LORD, all these things come at me, real arrows, and spiritual arrows, a real knife coming at me, and somebody’s tongue coming at me to stab me in the back, LORD, you’re my shield. And you’re’ “the horn of my salvation,” a horn was a sign of authority, an animal with a horn was an animal of power, ‘you’re the authority, you’re the power, you’re the strength of my salvation, you LORD,’ “and [you’re] my high tower.” The whole point of a high tower was it gave you the high ground, in any battlefield it was always the benefit to have perspective, to be able to be lifted up to see. And he’s saying, ‘You, LORD, are my high tower, it’s you LORD that gives me perspective, everything else may fall apart, everything else may be gone, LORD, this may have been the worst ride of my life, these last thirteen, fifteen years, but LORD, it’s settled now, I look at the dust, it’s settling, and I look around and I realize, LORD, you are the thing that never moved, you were my shield, you were my buckler, you were my strength, you were my high tower. LORD, I stand here and I look around, and I stand here LORD, girded with you, held up by you, protected by you, sustained by you, renewed by you, LORD, I love you, I love you LORD.’
“I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” (verse 3) We find David here, you know, all of these terms, they reflect both fleeing and fighting, the experience of his life. And in some ways the experience of every Christian. We’re told that ‘Thou O man of God, flee these things,’ Paul talking to Timothy, worldly things, ‘flee these things, follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness, fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life whereunto thou art also called, you profess a good profession before many witnesses.’ Our lives also are a life of fleeing and fighting. We should be fleeing carnal things, fleeing things of the natural man, fleeing temptation, and we should be fighting for the things that are right. And David, it is in those years of fleeing and fighting, as it will be in our lives, that he’s discovered the rock solid One, the One that never moves, that never disappoints, that never lets you down is the LORD. Does that mean in all those years he never said ‘Where art thou LORD?’ no, no, he said that lots of times. ‘Where are you today, all your waves and billows are going over me, LORD, how long,’ he would say, ‘how long will I be cast down?’ He was honest before his God. But he rises here to one of the highest points of devotion in all of the Old Testament, and he lays these things out, and he lauds his God, he loves his God, as he puts these things in front of us.
The Experience Of God Giving Victory
“He Heard My Voice…My Cry Came Before Him”
And beginning in verse 4 he starts to talk about the experience of God giving victory, and it’s in poetic language. He says, “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.” (verse 4) That’s not good, and he’s not just writing that because it rhymes with the line before it in the song. He’s writing that because he had been trapped many times by Saul’s army. “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.” Interesting, wadi’s where it says “flood.” If you’ve been to Israel, if you’ve been to the Middle East, there are these wadi’s, these crevasses out in the desert. And sometimes it’ll rain 30 miles away, and all of a sudden those wadi’s are filled with, that’s why it says “floods” here, people die in these flash-floods, all of a sudden it’s coming upon you. You know, that’s why we shouldn’t play, because you know, temptation comes our way, things are brought before us, and sometimes as Christians we want to think ‘How close can we get to the edge, I want to go to heaven, but I want to mess around a little too, can I have half a can of beer…?” and we get as close to the edge as we can and be as worldly as we can without going off, don’t ever do that. Because when you’re on that edge, and you’re thinking you have the strength to resist, all of a sudden a wind blows through the church, all of a sudden like the wadi’s, there is a flood that comes, and you are too close to the edge because you’re playing, and you don’t have the strength, and you haven’t been diligent, you haven’t been watching, you haven’t been sober, you haven’t been vigilant, and you’re gone, you’re gone. And then you’re laying down, looking up to the Lord, and he is merciful, you’re crying out in your brokenness, in your sin. He says here, ‘The sorrows of death, they surrounded me, and the wadi’s, the floods of ungodly men, they made me afraid.’ “The sorrows of hell [Sheol, of the grave, the unseen realm] compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.” (verse 5) King James “prevented me” “confronted me”, ‘went before me, the very snares of death came face to face with me.’ and his life hung in the balance, so many times. “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.” (verse 6) The Temple on earth wasn’t built yet, he’s talking about, no doubt the one in heaven. “he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even to his ears.” It’s not like he was up there in heaven and somebody said, ‘Um, LORD, one of your servants down there is in big trouble.’ No, he says ‘my cry came into his temple, to his very ears, my cry was heard by the ears of my God, I have that kind of personal relationship with him,’ he says, ‘My cry came before him, even to his ears.’
God’s Reaction To David’s Cry For Help---And Our Cry For Help
Then this is what he says, listen, “Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.” (verse 7) “the foundations of the mountains” King James says “hills,” the word is “mountains” ‘moved and were shaken, because he was angry.’ “There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.” (verses 8-9), ‘the heavens coming down, black clouds, he came down, and darkness was under his feet,’ “And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.” (verse 10) interesting, Ezekiel will describe the cherubim coming down with the chariot of God, this is long before that, “he rode upon a cherub and did fly; yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.” (verses 10-12) no doubt lightning, he’s talking about this picture. You know, we’ll say, you talk about somebody who really is, loves you and is committed to you, and you say, ‘You know what, that person would move heaven and earth to help me.’ And that’s just an expression, except when you’re talking about God, he does move heaven and earth when he wants to do that. And David’s describing this. And again, we read through this, yes it’s poetic language, but how many times in the Old Testament do we see the enemies of God, and I love the word “discomfited”? Discombobulated, discombobulated, discomfited? And so often it’s these black clouds and tempests that come down, there’s thunderings, there’s noises, and it says the enemies of God are discomfited. I wonder how many times David saw that? [Joshua saw that during “Joshua’s Long Day.”] God wasn’t just, you know, working with David so his guys would train, they’d be expert in martial arts, so that they’d know how to use a sword and shield, working on the range with the 50 cal. sniper rifle, that’s not what was happening. Many times God put David and his men in a circumstance where escape was impossible except for supernatural involvement. Because when David became king of Israel, he needed to remember he was the under-shepherd, and that there was a real King of Israel. And here, you know, he uses this language that’s so remarkable, this verse 12, you know, that the brightness, the lightning that’s before him, thick clouds passed, hailstones, clouds of fire, “The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.” (verse 13) “and the Highest” here it’s “the Lord Most High gave his voice.” “Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.” (verses 14-15) That’s a pretty serious scene. I remember being a little kid, I loved thunderstorms, they’re kind of scary, but you’re a little kid, you’re crazy, you like to be scared a little bit, you can smell that smell of a thunderstorm coming [that’s ozone], you could smell it, down by Rising Sun Avenue, the sidewalk would heat up on the street, and you could smell the thunderstorm coming, and when it came it would shake the ground, ‘Ohh, you’re running home.’ But David had seen something way beyond just the natural, he had seen God’s enemies struck down, he had seen lightning, hail, fire. Just think of what he’s saying, you know, when God does that and he stoops down, you can see the channels, he says, of the waters are seen, and the foundations of the world, how he realized ‘Something’s going on here, and it’s more than a thunderstorm,’ he said, ‘This is the rebuke of Jehovah, it is the blast of his nostrils.’ And the cause of all of that? Listen, what is the cause of heaven and earth being moved here? It is the cry of a needy, believing soul, it is the cry of one genuine believer who is needy, and says ‘LORD, I love you, you are my strength, you are my rock, you are my fortress, you are my shield, you are my buckler, you are my high tower, LORD, I trust in you. And when the greatest enemies arise, LORD, my eyes are going to be lifted to heaven.’ And he says, that is the cause of God moving in this way, on behalf of the cry of his needy sons and daughters, his children. He gives us a remarkable picture.
He, Me, It’s All About Relationship
And then as he comes here to verses 16 to 19, these are the “he” “me” verses, you’ve got the “he-me jeevies” here. Seven times he say “he”, nine times he says “me”, look what he says, “He sent from above,” that’s what he just described, this whole scene coming down. “He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented [proceeded] me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.” ‘he’s the one who made my life stable.’ “He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” (verses 16-19) “into a large place,” the idea is “out of distress.” Look what it says, “he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” You know, we’re told in 1st John 4, verse 19 that we love him because first loved us. David is crying ‘I love you LORD,’ and he’s saying ‘The things that he’s done for me he did because he delights in me.’ David would sin, David would make mistakes, David would fail in a number of ways, but David had an incredible heart-awareness of the love of Jehovah for him as a man and an individual. And it drove him, and it drove the LORD, because the LORD relished that, that a man was on the earth that really took hold and trusted him and believed that he loved him. You know, look, God, he gave his only begotten Son, he gave his only begotten Son, and you think ‘Why did he do that?’ So that we can say ‘Lord, I need this, I need that, Lord I need this…’ ? No. I mean, we’re to cast all of our care upon him, we’re to make our supplications, you know. The ultimate reason he paid that price, which is unimaginable to us, is so that we can be with him. He was Immanuel, God with us, what he wants, the bottom line, out of everything else, is he wants to fellowship with us. He just wants to sit alone with us. He wants you to sit alone with him in the morning. David said, ‘My voice shalt thou hear in the morning,’ and to sit there and realize ‘He loves me, and he likes me too, he loves me.’ To lift your head and say, ‘Father,’ David never got to do that, that the very Spirit of his Son is in us crying ‘Abba, Father.’ David’s whole description here is “he” “me,” “he” “me,” “he” “me.” That’s why we always say ‘Look, it ain’t religion, it’s relationship.’ If there’s not a “he” “me” in your relationship with the Lord, what is the point? Sadly, you know it’s one of the problems with some of the modern translations, where they remove the singular, and personal words, and they put the plurals in, so that when you’re reading the verse it’s ‘we do this,’ and ‘then he said to them,’ and it removes ‘I do this, and then you said to me,’ and it destroys the Word, it’s so dishonouring, as far as I’m concerned, of the Word of God in the first place. We can never trade “we” for “I”, don’t ever trade “our” for “my,” don’t ever trade “us” for “me,” it’s so important, because the greatest message of the Scripture is in regards to our personal relationship with the Living God. And it comes across so remarkably here, ‘He sent from heaven,’ this whole storm scene is so incredible, because David cried, “He sent from above, he took me” David said, “he drew me out of many waters, he delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.” ‘they were too strong for me, they confronted me,’ “They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.” (verses 16-17) ‘he established me.’ “He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” (verses 18-19) What a perspective, what a perspective.
‘I Haven’t Done The Things That My Own Heart Wanted To Do’
Verses 20-31, “The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight. With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; with the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward. For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks. For thou wilt light my candle [lamp]: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?” Now the heart of the Psalm, he begins to describe what his attitude was towards the LORD, how the LORD worked on his behalf, he says, “The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.” (verse 20) Now look, this is before his sin with Bathsheba and her husband Uriah. David’s later Psalms, in many ways, are much more gracious. But David, even as a young man, he’s not claiming here to be sinless. He came before the LORD with sacrifices, he understood there needed to be the shedding of blood, he was not self-righteous. So, in here he’s saying, ‘LORD I walk in your ways, I bring all I can of my heart before you, I do my best.’ He says, ‘It’s according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands,’ “For have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.” (verse 21) that included going to the Tabernacle and offering sacrifices. “For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.” (verses 22-23) Notice, can we say that? David says “I kept myself from mine iniquity.” He knew his own weaknesses, he knew his own temptations. You think he didn’t want to cut Saul’s head off in the cave? I think he did. But he said ‘No, I’m not going to touch the Lord’s anointed,’ you know, remarkably, he says, ‘I’ve kept myself from mine iniquity.’ It doesn’t say he’s not tempted, it doesn’t say he doesn’t struggle, he says ‘I’ve kept myself from mine iniquity.’ “Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.” (verse 24) No doubt, he’s thinking ‘LORD, here I am, I’m delivered now from Saul, all my enemies, you’re establishing my throne, LORD you’ve done that according to the fact that I never tried to take this into my own hands, I never tried to mete out vengeance myself, I’ve done my best, LORD, I didn’t kill Saul when he was in the cave, the LORD hath recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.’ Now he’s going to say, after he sins with Bathsheba, ‘Against thee, and thee have I only sinned and done this great evil in thy sight,’ he’s very aware that the LORD sees, that the LORD has sight, that the LORD’s eyes are upon him. But here he says at this point in his life, he says ‘I haven’t done the things that my own heart wanted to do.’ “With the merciful [Lord] thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; with the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.” (verses 25-26) “froward, perverse”. ‘with the perverse thou wilt shew thyself,’ it seems to say, ‘you will act with cunning, you know how to deal with that man, that is just proud and arrogant and haughty.’ “For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.” i.e. the haughty looks, the proud.
“For Thou Wilt Light My Lamp”---The Word of God Is Dependable
This is remarkable, “For thou wilt light my candle:” now there were no candles back then, the word is “lamp,” ‘LORD, you will light my lamp,’ “the LORD my God will enlighten [shine in] my darkness.” (verse 28) David had darkness in his life, he had dark days, and there are people in this room right now that are in a dark place, in their spiritual experience. [People, believers, suffer from anxiety attacks and depression, and often the two go hand in hand. Elijah, according to psychiatrists that have studied the passages about him say he was in clinical depression when and after he fled from Jezebel into the Sinai. He was in a dark place psychologically, and it was real.] With this many people here, that’s inevitable. And what he says here is ‘LORD, you’re the one who will light, LORD, a lamp on my darkest day, you will light my lamp, LORD.’ And when the Lord lights it, nobody can blow it out, nobody can extinguish it when he lights it. And he had been, no doubt, in very many dark days. And he said, ‘LORD, you lit a lamp, LORD, you yourself,’ he says then, ‘you will shine in my darkness.’ Maybe someone here tonight really needs to take hold of that, it’s a dark season in your life. There may be a thousand other things you’re looking at, thinking ‘If this only happened this would solve things, if this only happened, Lord, I know you love me,’ no, let the Lord himself be the lamp in the darkness in your life. Because as he ignites it, he shines in the place, that can not be extinguished, no matter what else comes down then. That light can’t go out. He says, “For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.” (verse 29) he’s not taking anything for granted here, ‘great battles, great feats, LORD, it’s you, it’s because of you.’ “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.” (verse 30) “the word of the LORD is tried” the idea is, it’s refined. The Word of the Lord is tried, here he’s describing all of these experiences he came through, you know, how he cried out to the LORD, how there was nothing in the natural, when he looked around on the horizontal, all there was, was Saul and his army pursuing him, there was no help, everything was broken around him. Life, no doubt, on certain days David felt wasn’t worth living. And yet he says he discovered from the vertical, everything he needed was there, and he says, “As for God, his way is perfect: and the word of the LORD is tried:” ‘it’s tried in the fire, refined’ is the idea. Through all of these dark, difficult, terrible experiences, he discovered that the Word of God is dependable, the Word of God is something that we can trust in. Look at the world around us, it looks like it’s falling apart. The Bible says that, ‘heaven and earth is going to depart, but my Word will abide forever, my Word.’ It is certainly time for you and I to hunker down, and keep our hands on this Book, and our faces and our hearts inside of it, and believe no matter what Washington says, no matter what this person says, no matter what Russia says, no matter what politicians and pundits say, no matter what people scream about, no matter what they say is right and wrong, it’s right here [holding up his Bible, of course]. All of that is going to fall away, and this is going to be tried, and refined, and stand before us, and abide forever. And in a smaller scale, David is saying, ‘that was true in my life,’ he says, ‘God’s way is perfect, and the Word of the LORD is refined,’ “he is a buckler to all those who trust in him. For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?” (verses 30c-31) none of the rest of them, they’re all a bunch of phonies.
David Reflects Backwards On The Things That Have Happened
Verses 32-45, “It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and sitteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed. I have wounded them [so] that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me. They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but he answered them not. Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets. Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me. As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me. The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places.” Verse 32 now, he begins to reflect backwards again on the things that have happened, “It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and sitteth me upon my high places.” (verses 32-33) Note that, David had spent many months in Engedi there, which is “The Stream of the Wild Goats,” he had spent many months there, hiding in the caves down there, I’ve been there many times. And you just see the Ibexes there, the remarkable goats there, and they’re walking on these crags, little ledges on these cliffs, you’d think, ‘You gotta be kidding me,’ it’s just business to them. You know, they’re walking on the edge of, you know, the funny thing is, people go there with zoom lenses, they’re trying to get a picture of these Ibex, you know, they’re way up on this crag of a hill, and then we’re walking back from the water falls and they’re standing six foot away from us on the path with their kids, little goats are kids, with their kids, and they’re just looking at us, chewing, six foot away from us after you used all your film trying to photograph them, figuring you’d never get near them. David says, ‘LORD, that’s the way you’ve made my feet, LORD, in the crags and in the rocks, in the most difficult places, like the hinds, LORD, you’ve set me up on high places.’ It says, “He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.” (verse 34) literally ‘for battle, the LORD teaches my hands for battle, so that the bow of steel is broken by my arms.’ “Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.” (verse 35) Now look, Paul says these things in the end of Ephesians, we have the helmet of salvation, we have the shield of faith, the breastplate of righteousness, the sword of the Spirit, our feet are shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace, we are also in a warfare. David is saying here, ‘LORD, you have taught my hands to do battle, you’ve given me strength, I can bend a bow of steel, you have also given me the shield of salvation, and thy right hand hath holden me up,’ and wonderfully here he says, “and thy gentleness hath made me great.” (verse 35c) This is a God that he just said that bowed down the heavens, breathing coals of fire and brimstone out of his nostrils, whose shaking the ground, revealing the paths of waters, uncovering the foundations of the earth…‘and LORD, your gentleness has made me great.’ Think of what he’s saying. And the Hebrew translates it, kind of “your condescension, your stooping down,” it’s a word that’s used six times in the Old Testament, three times it’s translated “humility,” two times it’s translated “meekness,” here it’s translated “gentleness,” and he’s saying to the LORD, ‘You stoop down to me, LORD, you can shake the earth, you can crack the heavens open, you can rain down fire and brimstone on your enemies, you move so that men are terrified and fall down, and LORD, you do all these things in my life, but it’s your gentleness, LORD, that hath made me great.’ That’s true in every one of our lives. And he gave his cheek to the smiters, to those who ripped out his beard, he endured them spitting in his face, the scourging, the beating, the crown of thorns, the crucifixion. It is his gentleness that hath made us great, not his power, not the awesomeness of Creation, not his ability to one day speak and heaven and earth will flee away (cf. Revelation 21:1). His humility, his meekness, his gentleness hath made us great, and he stoops down to us. “Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed. I have wounded them [so] that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me.” this is not New Testament love and forgiveness, by the way, this is Old Testament, David’s talking about a battle as king here, but I kind of like some of this, just once in awhile there’s some enemies that are not visible you’d like to get your feet on their neck once in a while, “They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD. but he answered them not. Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets. Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people;” that’s a wonderful thing when that happens, isn’t it? When the Lord takes you out of the drama, I don’t like drama, “and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me. As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me. The strangers [foreigners] shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places.” (verses 36-45) You know, David finally became so great that when his armies came, foreign cities opened their gates and just came out and surrendered. It’s interesting here, it says ‘they will yield feigned obedience,’ David realizes it’s going to be feigned, it’s not going to be willing, but he says it’s going to come to the point where they’re just going to surrender, they’re going to come out, they’re going to submit themselves. “The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places.” (verse 45”) out of their fortresses and stuff.
Verses 46-50, “The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me. He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.” And at the end now he kind of comes back to where he started, and he gives us this conclusion. He says, “The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.” (verse 46) “liveth” the tense here indicates, in the Hebrew, “and the LORD living.” You know, if you’re going to go through all this you have to have a “living God” not a god that’s in a book or in a theology class, you’ve got to have a living God, “The LORD liveth” he says, he’s alive. And he’s got nine “me’s” here again, and an “I”. He says “let the God of my salvation be exalted.” (verse 46c) Sounds like a good line for a song. “It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me.” (verse 47) what a perspective. We say “amen” because we’re hurt and we like to hear that God avenges us, you know, ‘Vengeance is yours, I know I can’t hit him Lord, you get him, vengeance is yours.’ That’s almost right, that’s like halfway right. “It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me.” he’s sensing now that God had established his kingdom now, Saul was gone, all of his enemies are subdued. Look, we’re going to know that, we’re going to know that. Again, I believe he’s coming for his Church soon, he said his coming would be like a thief in the night. So we’re to be sober, vigilant, watching. The idea is there is going to be an air of an expectancy, it’s going to be pre-emptive, it’s going to be a shock. Again, if he waits a lot longer everybody’s going to be standing around ‘Alright, come on!’ And then we return with him as he comes back down to earth to set up his Kingdom [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm]. And a lot of these emotions will be ours in a genuine way, “let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me. He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.” and he says now “Therefore” because of everything God has done and God is, “Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” (verses 46b-49) He’s going to offer or confess, is the idea, “Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” (verse 49) ‘among the heathen, among the unbelievers,’ great thing for us to do tomorrow when we go to work, when we go to school, unbelieving family. It’s fine for us to give thanks to him amongst unbelievers, “and to sing praises to thy name.” Wonderful, I’m glad we have a musical faith, I’m glad the Hebrew faith and the Christian faith uses a lot of major chords, instead of, you listen to some of the other “quote, unquote,” music in other religious systems, it’s kind of way out. I’m glad we have a musical faith. “I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.” (verses 49-50) “to his anointed” probably looking forward to Jesus the Christ. David, at this point in time, incredible victory, everything’s been settled, he’s very aware that God had made promises in regards to his kingdom, God had made promises in regards to his throne, that God had a plan that was bigger than his own, that God has saved the best for last. This ain’t it. Just like the wedding at Cana, he saves the best wine for last. Again, whatever we enjoy as we come and gather, and we love seeing people saved, love to come to a Communion service and just be worshipping. However wonderful that is, you ain’t seen nothing, yet. Wait till we’re standing around his throne with innumerable, I love that word, innumerable, that’s probably why I didn’t like math in high school, it couldn’t do that job, innumerable angels and saints around his throne, wait till that day comes, then we’re going to know what it’s like to sing his praises (cf. Revelation 4:1-6; 5:9-13). “Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.” (verses 49-50) I’m glad we have a time this evening for one, two, or three songs. Let’s do that, listen, we want to lift our hearts. I would say this, if you feel this evening you’re one of those people seated in darkness, it is just a dark season in your life, don’t look for solutions to the problem to be the thing to release you from that situation, look to the Lord to light the lamp in the middle of all of that, look for the Lord himself to shine in the dark place in your life. Maybe this evening you feel like you’re brutally beaten down, and it’s just gone on way to long, way too long, and you’ve been driven to the point of despair. David says ‘I didn’t act out on mine iniquity,’ you’ve got “mine inquity” cooking right inside and you’d like to act out on it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Get to the place where you look back, David is standing, and this is at least 15 years driven through the mountains, where he’s able to look back and say, You know, LORD, you…’ and if it’s 18 years, he’s here in Jerusalem, he’s got everything, you know, finally, and he’s just saying ‘LORD, I love you, LORD, my strength, my rock, when everything else was moving, you didn’t move, you’re my fortress, every other thing I ran into built by human hands collapsed, you never collapsed LORD, your walls stand strong, you’re my shield, LORD, my buckler, you’re my high tower.’ Maybe that needs to be in our hearts this evening as we come before him. Let’s stand together, and let’s bring our hearts before the Lord. And I really encourage you to cry out in the deepest part of your being, let this be a “he” “me” night, “he” “me…” not Calvary Chapel, not religion, it has to be “he” “me.” Let it be that way as we sing his praise now. ‘Now Father, I know you’ve overheard, Lord, and your Word is sweet to our taste, Lord. But there are times when we are cast down, Lord, and we hear your Word, and it seems out of reach, Lord. We’re so broken and so cast down, Lord, we hear what your Word says, and it just doesn’t seem to apply, it doesn’t seem practical Lord. We find ourselves saying, ‘Why isn’t this true in my life, Lord?’ Be the light, Lord, in our lives this evening, Lord, lift us from the darkness, Lord, as it were, our fortress and our strength, our shield and our buckler, Lord, the rock, Lord, that cannot be moved, Lord. Be all of those things, Lord, hear us, Lord, as individual blood-bought sons and daughters this evening, casting ourselves upon you, Lord, and as it were, moving heaven and earth, Lord, to surround us with yourself, we pray, amen.’ [connective expository sermon on Psalm 18:1-50, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116]
We are to be salt and light in this present world. See,
Coming Kingdom of God. See,
How do we show people the hope that lies within us? that God exists? See,