Praising God’s power to rescue

Posted Apr 12, 2021

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Daily Scripture

Psalm 18:1-16, 46-50

1 He said: I love you, LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my solid rock,
my fortress, my rescuer.
My God is my rock—
I take refuge in him!—
he’s my shield,
my salvation’s strength,
my place of safety.
3 Because he is praiseworthy,
I cried out to the LORD,
and I was saved from my enemies.
4 Death’s cords were wrapped around me;
rivers of wickedness terrified me.
5 The cords of the grave [or Sheol] surrounded me;
death’s traps held me tight.
6 In my distress I cried out to the LORD;
I called to my God for help.
God heard my voice from his temple;
I called to him for help,
and my call reached his ears.
7 The earth rocked and shook;
the bases of the mountains trembled and reeled
because of God’s anger.
8 Smoke went up from God’s nostrils;
out of his mouth came a devouring fire;
flaming coals blazed out in front of him!
9 God parted the skies and came down;
thick darkness was beneath his feet.
10 God mounted the heavenly creatures and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 God made darkness cloak him;
his covering was dark water and dense cloud.
12 God’s clouds went ahead
of the brightness before him;
hail and coals of fire went too.
13 The LORD thundered in heaven;
the Most High made his voice heard
with hail and coals of fire.
14 God shot his arrows, scattering the enemy;
he sent the lightning and threw them into confusion.
15 The seabeds were exposed;
the earth’s foundations were laid bare
at your rebuke, LORD,
at the angry blast of air coming from your nostrils.
16 From on high God reached down and grabbed me;
he took me out of all that water.

...

46 The LORD lives! Bless God, my rock!
Let the God of my salvation be lifted high!
47 This is the God who avenges on my behalf,
who subdues people before me,
48 who delivers me from my enemies.
Yes, you lifted me high above my adversaries;
you delivered me from violent people.
49 That’s why I thank you, LORD,
in the presence of the nations.
That’s why I sing praises to your name.
50 You are the one who gives great victories to your king,
who shows faithful love to your anointed one—
to David and to his descendants forever.

Reflection Questions

2 Samuel 22, near the end of the story of David’s kingship also recorded Psalm 18, with very minor variations. But before he was fully accepted as Israel’s king, David faced King Saul’s jealous hatred (see 1 Samuel 18:5-18, 23:14-15). Looking back, David compared God’s care over him to a thunderstorm. God’s power awed David, and he praised God for it.

  • Before the more elaborate poetry, David used a simple, straightforward phrase: “I love you, LORD, my strength” (verse 1). Do you ever struggle to pray, alone or with others, because you fear you don’t know the “right” words? How can David, the great poet/king, encourage you to just tell God directly, in language as simple or elaborate as you choose, what is in your heart?
  • God showed David “faithful love” (Hebrew hesed)—but not just him. Galatians 3:26 says we are “all God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus,” and God shows that same unfailing love to everyone who chooses to be his child. What does it mean to your faith to know God values you as much as David? In what ways has God “rescued” his much-loved children from this pandemic whose grip seems to be receding? In what ways has God “rescued” you over the course of life?

Prayer

Lord, thank you for faithfully loving me, “warts and all,” just as you faithfully loved David. Keep deepening my understanding of your ways all my life long. Amen.

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Donna Karlen

Donna Karlen

Donna Karlen serves with the Communications Ministry working on special projects.

What's your covid story? I wish I’d kept a journal in 2020 to capture the suddenness of the changes that happened because of a virus. One week we were working on our usual stuff at our desks, and the next everyone was at home trying to figure out Zoom (wait – did we talk about that in an email, text, chat or messenger?!) Workdays stretched to 12+ hours for some of us and 0 for others. We went from thinking this was going to last a couple weeks and we’d be able to have my daughter’s April wedding in Arizona, to me tearing up one invitation, then another, as we changed dates and locations twice. We met friends for dinner at a crowded restaurant in February, and then didn’t see them in person for months. On March 7, 2020, I was cheering on my Jayhawks basketball team with 15,000+ of my closest friends in a packed Allen Fieldhouse – and six days later postseason tournaments were cancelled (a minor loss, yes, but still so very unexpected and unwanted). And worst of all, that ugly little red virus graphic showing up everywhere you looked as ALL the news outlets focused on the rising numbers of those getting sick – and so many deaths.

I just wanted God to take it all away – no more shutdowns or masks or social distancing! I wanted what David says happened when he called out to God for help:

God parted the skies and came down… From on high God reached down and grabbed me; he took me out of all that water.

Oh me of little faith sometimes…

God came down in Jesus who was, is and always will be with us. We don’t understand why bad things happen – why there can be so much suffering and pain in this world (see Philippian 4:6-7*). But Jesus walked on water, through the wilderness and to the cross to save us from drowning in our mistakes and failures and sins.

The LORD is my solid rock,
my fortress, my rescuer.
My God is my rock—
I take refuge in him!—
he’s my shield,
my salvation’s strength,
my place of safety.

Yes, we want that place of safety to be right here, right now and to be free of global pandemics (taking another quick look at Philippians 4:6-7*). But whatever happens right here, right now, God is our rock in all the places where we stumble, and in all the times when we can barely stand. And knowing this is true no matter what, I echo David’s words:

I love you, LORD, my strength.
And you love me.

This, my friends – no matter our "covid stories" - is our faith story.


*Philippians 4:6-7: Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. 7 Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.

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