One of the all-time great old movies I really love is The Sound of Music – have you seen it? (If you’re like me, how many times?)
There is a brilliant scene when the Von Trapp children come at night, one by one, to seek refuge with their governess, Maria, while a storm rages outside. Their fears increase with every crash and flash of the thunder and lightning, so Maria comes up with a great idea to calm their distress, take their mind off the storm, and lift their spirits! They are to remember, and then sing about, a few of their favorite things.
This is a light-hearted analogy, but the principle and practice of “singing in the storm” came to mind as I read Psalm 18.
We are told the context before we even start reading King David’s psalm of praise – it was written and sung by him when the Lord rescued him from the power of all his enemies, including Saul. It’s a great psalm of celebration and declaration of who God is and all He has done. David acknowledges that his strength and victory comes from God alone, not just in this specific instance, but in every moment – past, present and future.
Although this psalm was written to praise God for deliverance from the enemy and triumph in battle, when we look at all of David’s life we can see that he was frequently faced with challenge and opposition.
From his early days as a shepherd boy when he fought Goliath with his sling and five stones, to the struggle with Saul and his murderous attempts, to the threat of war from surrounding nations, the rebellion and betrayal by his very own son, and his own moral failure with Bathsheba.
David was no stranger to battle from without and within.
It is all the more encouraging for us that David was able to sing of who God is, in spite of his current circumstances or his own personal struggle with sin. David was sure of God’s faithfulness and could rely on Him being a covenant keeping God, no matter what happened.
Look at some of the wonderful, powerful names and descriptions of God in David’s psalm of praise. This is still who God is for us today!
Thank you, Lord. You are my…
- Source of strength
- The One who hears my cry
- My lamp, illuminating the darkness
David rejoiced because his vindication and victory came from God alone. Several times throughout the psalm, David refers to God as his shield.
As we study the armor God gives His people (Ephesians 6) we read that one of items we are told to take up is the shield of faith. It is helpful to have a physical image of that shield in our minds. The shield of the Roman soldier wasn’t a flimsy hand-held piece of metal the size of a dinner plate. Rather, it was a large rectangular wooden shield, almost like a door!
Approximately 4 feet high, it was covered in leather, which the soldier would have soaked before battle so it could extinguish fiery arrows.
What a picture of impenetrable protection when all the soldiers would have stood shoulder to shoulder, their shields forming a wall and even with some lifted up overhead, covering them from above.
If this is the image we have of a human piece of equipment, how much more does it strengthen our hearts to think of and know God Himself as our Shield, Shelter, Fortress, Refuge and Protector?
When we trust Him for salvation, God gives the gift of faith so we can stand firm on the gospel to shield us from Satan’s lies and attacks. No matter how fiercely the battle may rage, or how intense the attack may seem, we can have confidence that, ultimately, the enemy will not take us out.
Take a few minutes today to read Romans 8:31-39 and be strengthened and encouraged, because no danger or sword, trouble, distress or persecution can ever separate us from the love of God and the victory we have in Jesus. We can rejoice in this unshakeable truth!
If there are times when, like me, your faith falters, remember: We are not doing battle alone. Of course, the Holy Spirit is with us, but, remember that image of the soldiers together, their shields forming a wall? How important for us, how necessary, and what a blessing it is to have fellow soldiers from God’s family standing with us, spurring us on, strengthening our faith, praying for us and with us, pointing us to Jesus the conqueror who has won the victory.
This is why, along with David, we really can sing in the battle and proclaim with confidence,
“The one true God acts in a faithful manner; the Lord’s promise is reliable; he is a shield to all who take shelter in him.”
– Psalm 18:18
Standing with you today dear friend,
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