“Faith deals with invisibles, but God hates that love which is invisible.” –Thomas Watson
The praises of the saints captured in the Scripture become for us the promises by which we may enjoy a sure peace and a quiet confidence. A promise for strength is found in this psalm. Its root is in David’s opening verse of praise, “I love you, O Lord, my strength.” (18:1) Let the believer note that when hearts are filled with love, mouths are filled with praise. As Thomas Manton noted, “Self-love may lead us to prayers, but love to God excites us to praises.” [Puritan Golden Treasury, 209]
David praises God for his strength. He employs several metaphors to convey the powerful, personal protection that God provides. David calls the Lord, “my rock, my fortress and my deliverer,” and again, “my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (18:2-3) These are not general terms ascribed to a cold and distant deity rather they are particular terms given to a personal God. David uses different symbols to capture the expansive character of God. However, the personal possessive pronoun “my” remains unchanged. This is the language of faith.
David sang this psalm to God after his deliverance from Saul and all his enemies. (see 2 Samuel 22, some minor variations) David stood on the mountaintop of victory and proclaimed:
For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?—
32 the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.
33 He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. (Psalm 18:31-33)
This is David’s song from the mountaintop, but what if you find yourself in the valley?
Faith calls you to make the same response. The prophet Habakkuk found himself in the valley. He had seen Judah rise in material prosperity and decline in spiritual receptivity. He prophesied the coming destruction of Judah by the Babylonians. (586 BC) In the midst of such sorrow and desolation listen to the prayer of Habakkuk:
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
Whether we are on the mountaintop or in the valley, God still wants to be our strength, our shield, and most importantly, our salvation. May the Lord bless you and Lord willing, we will see you on Sunday.
Don’t forget about our Thanksgiving Banquet on Sunday evening!
Privileged to serve,