“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.” Psalm 18.2
What is it that you need God to be for you today? In this verse David enumerates all that God is to him.Observe: (1) my rock, (2) my fortress, (3) my deliverer, (4) my God, (5) my strength, in whom I will trust, (6) my buckler (shield), (7) the horn of my salvation, and (8) my high tower.
I don’t have time or space to cover all of these today, so let’s examine a few. What is the significance of the LORD being his “rock”? When I think of the word rock used in this context, I think of the “rock of Gibraltar.” That is a rock that cannot be moved or shaken, no matter how hard the waves beat upon it. That is a good image to remember when we think of God as our “rock”. “Fortress” … this is a place where one hides when trouble comes. Remember building snow fortresses in the winter? They were to protect us from the other neighborhood kids’ snowballs. Satan’s incessant attacks on God’s people means we NEED a fortress where we can hide. “My Deliverer” – WOW, not only doesHe protect me in the fortress but He delivers me from the enemy wherever I may be. “My God” – David doesn’t just stand on God as his rock, but he also worships Him. God is the object of his worship. This next phrase is powerful: “my strength, in whom I will trust.” David was not afraid to tap into God’s strength. We must learn to do the same. Trust was built on his past experience with God. He KNEW God could be trusted.
A buckler is a shield. It protects one from the darts and arrows of the enemy. It is not for retreat but for advance. David’s confidence in God’s defense of him and his family was based on God doing His part – and He always does. This next phrase is noteworthy: “the horn of my salvation” – it speaks of the power God used to save him and to sustain him in his daily life experiences. “My high tower” is a reference to a place to hide. Oft times a farmer would take the stones he cleared from his field and put them in the middle of the field and when he was finished, he would build a stone tower that would protect him if some enemy approached – whether man or animal. David said, God is “my strong tower. Let’s meditate on these various descriptions of God and draw on what we need. Just my thoughts …
“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” Hebrews 6.10
The writer of Hebrews makes a remarkable statement about God: “For God is not unrighteous … “ I wonder why he would find such a statement necessary? If the recipients of this letter were anything like some of us today, I might have an idea. I encounter so many people who say they are Christ followers who entertain in their mind the possibility that God could somehow be “unrighteous.” We don’t say that out loud, but some believe that God “made a mistake” when He did ____________ (you fill in the blank). That would be declaring that God is unrighteous.
But what else do we find here? “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love … “ Since God does NOT forget, that means He remembers our “work and labour of love, which (we) have showed toward His name …” How do we show our “work and labour of love” toward His name? He gives us the answer in the next phrase: “you have ministered to the saints and do minister.” God is saying, “When YOU choose to minister to my children, then I will REMEMBER what you have done and I will consider that a work and labour of love.” So, can we set as a goal for today to seek to “minister” to one of the saints of God in such a way that God will notice and add that to our account? We will be blessed and so will the one to whom we minister. Just my thoughts …
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1.7
This verse starts with “But …” We need to go back to the two preceding verses to get the context: “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (6) If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:” Remember now that John is writing to believers – those who have said, “We are Christ-followers.” I believe this begs the question, “What does it mean to walk in the light?” If we go back to John’s words, this is what we discover: (1) God IS light; (2) there is NO darkness in Him. We have somewhat of an advantage over those early Christians. We have the completed Word of God at our disposal all the time. They had some of the Word, but some of it had not been written and it had not yet been assembled. So they needed to note carefully what the Apostles said and live their lives accordingly.
But for us, since God is light, and since we have His Word to fill in the blanks for us, walking in the light means acknowledging that God is right in whatever He says to us in His Word and also in whatever He does to us and ultimately through us. I am grieved when I hear someone say, “Well, I’m saved. I’m going to heaven. Isn’t that enough?” They simply want to use God as a fire escape and not a guide for daily living. The words in v. 7 tell us: “we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” I long to have fellowship with other believers. I rejoice every day that my sin has been cleansed and I am on the road to heaven. You and I need to live our lives every minute of every day so that the world can see that we are walking “in the light.” Just my thoughts …
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16.33
In John chapters 14-16, Jesus was giving His disciples some words of encouragement because He would be leaving them soon. You and I can take encouragement from these words as well. What do we learn from these words? (1) Jesus wants us to have peace while we live in this world. (2) The only thing this world has to offer us is tribulation. (3) Our response to the world must be one of good cheer. (4) The reason for us to follow His instructions is simple … He has overcome the world.
When we read that He wants us to have peace, and are not experiencing peace, we need to realize that the problem is on our side, not on God’s side. He WANTS us to have peace – it is clearly stated here. Next, we need to realize that the ONLY thing this world has to offer us is TRIBULATION. To expect anything else is to be disappointed every day. We must be aware of anything the world may offer us that SEEMS good, because we know there is a catch in there somewhere, because “in the world you WILL have tribulation.” The instruction to “be of good cheer” means that we are to take the Lord at His word – go ahead and CLAIM the good cheer that He has offered. It is there waiting for us to appropriate it. In order to be of good cheer, I must RELEASE my incessant desire to control everything.
Finally, Jesus says the words that we need to hear and apply to our lives today: “I HAVE overcome the world.” I can BE an overcomer because Jesus has already overcome the world FOR me. Folks, let’s not give in to the seductions of the world just because they are offered. Let’s believe the words of Jesus that He has “overcome the world” and live each day in the light of that glorious truth.
“I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. (2) Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.” Psalm 116.1-2
How many reasons can you list for loving the LORD? David probably had more than one, but the one he records here is at the top of his list. Look at these words: (1) He has heard my voice, (2) He has heard my supplication, (3) he has inclined His ear unto me. I am going to state the obvious here but I am doing it for emphasis sake: (1) God HEARD David’s voice. David was confident that whether he was hiding in a cave, or dwelling among the Philistines, or leading his troops in battle, God HEARD him when he prayed. (2) God HEARD David when he prayed for others. I am relatively sure David had a prayer list of others for whom he prayed regularly. (3) He INCLINED His ear to David. Can you envision that – God bending down and cupping His ear so as not to miss a word of what David was saying? I know that is figurative language but the image is a powerful one. David concludes with: “therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.” David’s “therefore” is an extension of his confidence in God to keep on doing what He had always done.
After I read verses like this, I have a tendency to want to be jealous of David, but then I think, “Wait a minute! The same God Who hears David hears me!” Think about this with me … the same God who heard David’s voice hears your voice and my voice! The same God who heard David’s supplications hears your supplications and my supplications. The same God who inclined His ear to David inclines His ear to you and me. I just about want to clear off a space and have a Baptist shouting time! God HAS NOT CHANGED! His desire to hear you is as great as His desire was to hear David. Carry that simple truth with you today! Just my thoughts …
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” John 6.35
Jesus is EVERYTHING that we will ever need. He told His disciples, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall NEVER hunger … “ He is not simply the bread for a meal. He is THE bread of life. Whatever it takes to sustain the life of Christ within us, Jesus says that He is that whatever. How many times have you sat down for a meal and you looked around on the table and said to no one in particular, “Where’s the bread?” A meal just doesn’t seem complete without some kind of bread. How many times have you worked yourself half way through a day and suddenly realized you were not in close connection with the Bread of life? I hope most of us don’t intentionally start the day without some time alone with God, but we may find ourselves pressed by the busyness of the day and simply got away without our God time. If He IS the bread of life, then we NEED Him every day.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” When you find something that quenches your thirst, you have found something that is a real source of help when you are thirsty. When you find in Jesus the One who can satisfy your spiritual thirst, that thirst is quenched forever. The ability to have your spiritual life full to overflowing is such a valuable asset. Don’t live beneath your privileges as one of God’s children. Just my thoughts …
“But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.” Psalm 59.16
I recall the words of a song I heard some time ago. They went something like this: “You can have a song in your heart in the night … “ The psalmist said, “I will sing of thy power … I will sing aloud of thy mercy … “ When your heart breaks out in song, what is the theme of your song? Is it about God’s power? Is it about God’s mercy? Those were the themes that resonated in the heart of the psalmist David. David had witnessed God’s power and he had been the recipient of God’s mercy. Truth be known, all of us have experienced God’s power at work in our lives and we have seen God act in mercy toward rather than execute justice.
David’s words in the last half of this verse speak volumes about God’s care of His children. “thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.” One of God’s purposes for His children is to defend us – that is where His power comes into play. There is no need for us to try to defend ourselves when God has the power to do it and the will to do. Then David speaks of God being his ‘refuge” in the day of trouble. Trouble invades the life of every believer. Some times we create it for ourselves and sometimes it comes from a source completely outside of us. No matter where it originates, God’s mercy provides the perfect refuge for us. We could ask for nothing more. God really is good all the time. Just my thoughts …
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. (3) He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23.2-3
I have read these verses hundreds of times; used them at the graveside, preached from them … but … God showed me something new today – not new truth, but new truth to me. We have been told over and over that sheep are stupid. The Bible refers to us as sheep. Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10.28) Why did the shepherd have to MAKE the sheep lie down in green pastures? The sheep did not KNOW that he needed to lie down, but the shepherd knew. Why did the shepherd lead the sheep “beside the still waters”? Sheep are frightened of rapid running water. They will only drink from still water. The shepherd lead them PAST everything that would frighten them to a place of calm. The reason sheep need a shepherd is because they don’t always know WHAT they need or what is BEST for them.
V 3: “He restoreth my soul:” One thing a sheep needed from the shepherd every day was a personal touch. If the shepherd is walking through a field, sometime during that walk each of the sheep try to find a way to get to the shepherd and be able to walk under his hand so he can simply scratch the sheep’s head. Once that is accomplished, the sheep feels “restored” or refreshed. Do you think WE need a touch from the Chief Shepherd every day? I know I do. The path of righteousness on which He leads me is important because it is “for his name’s sake.” The purpose of life for us is not to glorify ourselves, but to bring glory to the One who redeemed us. I pray that we will allow the shepherd to make us lie dow when we need it and that he will bring me to a place of calm that I cannot find for myself. I pray that we will seek His touch and follow the path He chooses. Just my thoughts …
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3.36
The other day I was talking to my doctor about his relationship with the Lord. I asked where he went to church and he told me. I said, “Aren’t you glad when we get to heaven God is not going to be checking labels but relationships?” and he said yes. He spoke about his relationship with Jesus and how that enabled him to do what he does as a doctor. The sad thing today is that so many people think they are going to heaven because they go to the __________________ church (you fill in the blank). The church I attend has never taken anyone to heaven and neither has any other church, no matter what the religious world proclaims.
Here it is in a nutshell: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life … “ Pretty simple … we don’t have to DO anything except believe. Have you ever watched someone come into your church and walk up to a pew or a seat and just sit down without checking to see if it would hold them? We all have. That is the idea contained in believe. We don’t believe simply in an historical Jesus but in a real Savior whose name is Jesus. We roll our lives over onto Him, knowing that He can already paid for our sin and we have absolute confidence in what He HAS done and what He will do.
A belief about Jesus puts one in the category described in the last half of the verse: “he that believeth not the Son shall not see life … “ I believe George Washington and Abraham Lincoln existed, but I don’t KNOW them. I only know ABOUT them. Our responsibility to this lost world is to help them KNOW Jesus so that “the wrath of God (does not) abide on *them).” Just my thoughts …
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth (weighs) the hearts.” Proverbs 21.2
When I read the Old Testament and I see the words, “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” I remind myself that I don’t want to do what Israel did, get my focus off God and onto myself. I don’t know that we make a conscious decision to do this, but I do know that we are guilty. Solomon says it well in the verse above: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes … “ We are quick to condemn Israel for making such decisions, but we have a difficult time condemning the same sin in our own lives. If anyone had a right to pen these words, it was Solomon. Not only was he wealthy and could do whatever money could buy, as king no one dared question anything he did for fear of losing their life. Solomon DID whatever he pleased – whatever seemed “right in his own eyes.”
But look at this last phrase: “but the LORD pondereth (weighs) the hearts.” We don’t use the word “ponder” very much, so I put in the word “weigh” that we can grasp easier. God doesn’t just look at what we “do”, He examines our heart and what we WANT to do also. When we read Psalm 51 where David is confessing his sin with Bathsheba to God, we get a vivid picture of David’s heart. Everyone knows what David DID, but in this Psalm we see his change of heart, and that is what God was looking for in David and that is what God is looking for in us. Beginning in Genesis 3, man started doing what was “right in his own eyes” and look where we are today. God condemned it them and He is still condemning it today. Get alone with God today and confess that which is contradictory to what God wants and watch what He can do through then. Just my thoughts …