For you save humble people, but you bring low the eyes of the arrogant. Yes, you light my lamp, O Lord. My God turns my darkness to light. For with you I can charge against a battalion, and with my God I can jump over a wall.
Psalm 18:27-29 (EHV)
“Need some help?” The question already indicates a willingness to be of assistance and the confidence the effort will be of value.
But that question begs two additional questions. “Do I actually need help?” and “Can this one actually provide the help I need?”
If the answer to either of the two questions is negative, the answer to the first question must also be negative: “No, thanks!”
The writer of this psalm is King David who is near the end of his life. The story of that life details the many acts of deliverance God had provided—from lions and bears, from Goliath and the Philistines, from other enemy nations, and from Saul and Absalom. In this psalm, he shows his confidence that God’s blessings will continue, even after his death.
The verses before us reveal his inner thoughts and convictions. They are strong words of help having been accepted.
Many are the enemies who threatened him with haughty self-confidence. Goliath mocked him by asking, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” Then he cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” (1 Samuel 1:43,44) Bold words. Empty threats.
That time, the Lord delivered David by means of a simple slingshot and one stone.
Afterward, he delivered this shepherd boy who became king from every other enemy that rose up against him.
But not all attacks came from without. An enemy lurked from within. His own sinful nature was deadly. This ally of Satan posed a constant danger. More than once it seemed it would overwhelm him. One time David found himself charged with both adultery and murder—and he had to plead guilty. His crimes were against God as much as against other humans.
That brought a dark and desperate time into his life. In Psalm 130, he wrote, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; O Lord, hear my voice.” In Psalm 32, he revealed the anguish he felt. “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.”
He needed help. It came in the form of a verdict. God’s representative pointed his finger at David and declared, “You are the man!” His sin was exposed.
Guilty David replied, “I have sinned against the Lord.” He was then told, “The Lord has taken away your sin” (2 Samuel 12:13). His sin was covered by the blood of his Redeemer.
This time he was delivered by the repentance the Holy Spirit worked in him. Saving faith shone once again in his heart. He wrote, “Yes, you light my lamp. O Lord. My God turns darkness to light.”
Time after time in the past, the Lord God had stepped in to deliver him from danger to both body and soul. What about the future? He was growing old. His strength was failing. His kingdom was being threatened. His life was being threatened. His faith was being threatened. What chance did he have?
His hope lay with the Lord God who had delivered him all through his life. “For with you,” he wrote, “I can charge against a battalion, and with my God I can jump over a wall.”
This is not haughty self-confidence. This is the very type of faith we ask for. Scripture assures us we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. David’s greatest enemy was not Goliath or Saul. The greatest threat in his life came from the same source as the greatest threat to us: the powers of darkness.
The apostle Paul assures his readers, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20). King David would tell us, “You better believe it!”
Since the Lord has delivered us from the death grip of sin, can we not be certain that he will deliver us from every other threat that might arise? We may stumble and fall, but he will pick us up and carry us across the goal line. Should we doubt that?
Don’t we agree, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) We must.
Since my God is with me, I have nothing to fear.
I am not alone. I am with my God.
“Satan, I defy thee;
death, I now decry thee;
fear, I bid thee cease.
World, thou shalt not harm me
nor thy threats alarm me
while I sing of peace.
God’s great power guards every hour;
earth and all its depths adore him,
Silent bow before him.”
This is my belief. Amen.
(Christian Worship 823:3)
Points to ponder:
- How could David have the courage to stand up to the giant, Goliath?
- What lessons might we learn from David’s life?
- Why is absolute trust in God more than a matter of determination and willpower?
Written and recorded by Rev. Paul Horn, WELS National Civilian Chaplain to the Military, San Diego, California.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.