Curtis Simonson | The Voice of Zion February 2022 --
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. – Psalms 18:1–6
When we reflect on our past, we can see the course we have traveled and what we have experienced. We see through eyes of faith how our experiences have directed us to where we are today. By faith, we can also look forward to the future with confidence. This, however, is not a confidence that comes through one’s own will or merits, but as trust in the omnipotent God.
In our Psalm text, David in the eve of his life reflects on his experiences in battles and in struggles as a king and as a believer. He saw the will and promises of God to be unshakeable and sure, and all that that came from carnal strength and desire he saw to be of little value. David could have promoted himself and all he accomplished as king. Instead, he turns his attention to what God was able to do through him when he desired to seek strength and wisdom from God.
Trust in God’s Will
This 18th Psalm is also recorded in the second book of Samuel, chapter 22. Samuel records many challenging and difficult situations in David’s life in which David could have acted in a way that pleased his pride, but instead he desired to travel and lead God’s chosen nation according to God’s Word.
If we are writing to others of facing an uncertain future, would we have the same confidence to write of how we should proceed? We see that David writes in our text very assuredly of who his rock is. His confidence and assuredness have been tested and tempered by life experiences. When God directed Samuel to the house of Jesse to choose a king from Jesse’s eight sons, David was not even considered to be brought before the prophet because of his young age. Yet to the surprise of his own father Jesse and his seven brothers, David was chosen by God to be the second king of Israel. As a shepherd, David was led to understand that it was God who gave strength and power to kill a lion and a bear. He had the same trust when he went to fight Goliath, though as King Saul said, “thou art but a youth” (1 Sam. 17:33).
Endeavor to Be Obedient
When David was anointed king of Israel, King Saul continued to direct the chosen nation of Israel for some years. By faith David understood that he was chosen to reign in Saul’s place, but he was also given wisdom to understand to wait until it was God’s time for David to lead God’s people. He would have had opportunity to take things into his own hands and fight against Saul. He was even encouraged by some close to him to take Saul’s life when Saul came to rest from war in a cave, not knowing David was deeper in the same cave (1 Sam. 24). David went as far as cutting a piece from the king’s skirt as Saul slept, after which the Bible says his “heart smote him,” (v. 5) for doing this was against the Lord’s anointed. It shows us that the conscience of David was bothered by wrong actions.
So there were times in David’s life when he had done wrong and those deeds did not end well. But when he was able to confess his sins and hear absolution, he could continue to put his trust in God. David also realizes that when he endeavored to be obedient, God was able to do His work through him and those efforts were blessed by God.
It is not boasting to recognize that if we through faith put our trust in God, we cannot be defeated; God is our rock and our fortress.
Let Us Submit Our Will to God
In the eve of life, David writes with the same conviction as Apostle Paul wrote as his end drew nigh: “For I am now ready to be offered, and my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness” (2 Tim. 4:6–8). Our Psalm text reminds us that no matter what we face, if we submit our will to that of God, we cannot fail, but will make it to heaven. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It does not come to us through our merit, but from heaven in the name and blood of Jesus.
David did not choose to be a king, nor did he choose when he would be king. He did not choose any of the things that are of God. David realizes the order of God’s grace: God chose him to do God’s work and it is David’s duty and calling to endeavor by faith to be obedient to the order and will of God. David realizes that God expects him to do that which he is called to do.
Jesus reminds us, “When you have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable Servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10). If we can be so fortunate to see this grace order, we too can say in the midst of blessings or under tribulations: I will love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.