Mulling over Psalm 18 this morning. A song of David. A song of victory. The words of the song addressed to the LORD on the day the LORD rescued David from the hand of all his enemies.
Seems to me that if ever there was an example of what it looks like to give glory to God, this song is it. The song begins with praise and ends with praise. In the middle it recounts desperate cries for help and a God who not only hears in His heavenly temple, but descends to aid in the battle on earth. A God who rides on cherub above while David engages in hand-to-hand combat below. One who thunders in the heavens while David pursues his enemies.
But it seems to me it also speaks of a partnership. Not equal partners by any stretch of the imagination, but co-warriors nevertheless.
David prays, God answers. David enters into battle and God gives him a “wide place” for him to firmly plant his feet. David wages war as God equips him with strength. David pursues his opposition because God makes David’s enemies turn their backs and flee.
True also when the battle isn’t going so well. When drowning in “many waters”, it was God who pulled David out. When confronted with a foe “too mighty for me”, it was God who rescued him. When seemingly unending, daily calamity was the norm, it was God who supported him. And how come? “Because He delighted in me.”
Yeah, not an equal partnership. But, to be sure, a partnership. David determinedly did his part. God graciously did His part. Evident in this mid-song bridge which summarizes the dynamics at play:
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.
(Psalm 18:29-30 ESV)
It’s that last phrase I’m chewing on this morning. God is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him. Thinking that’s the essence of the divine partnership available to the people of God.
Thinking that what makes a shield a shield is someone taking refuge behind it. If no one engages a shield for protection isn’t it just an inert chunk of metal?
But David’s well-tested conclusion is that for those who take refuge in God–for ALL THOSE who take refuge in God–He is a shield. A shield for those who trust in Him. For those who believe He hears when they call; acts when the situation is desperate; and provides and enables when strength and ability are needed.
That’s the divine partnership. My God is a shield. But He is only my shield when I take refuge in Him.
He is my shield when, by faith, I look to Him for protection, and when I truly believe what I say I believe and seek Him as my shelter. He is my rock only when I resolve to stand on Him. He is my fortress as I place myself within His gates. I trust in Him and, beyond comprehension, He delights in me.
In this divine partnership I can’t really bring a lot to the table. But He asks me to do my small part . . . to take refuge . . . for “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6).
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.
(Psalm 18:1-2 ESV)
In whom I take refuge.
By His grace. For His glory.