Psalm 18 has inspired dozens of hymns and choruses through the years, among them “I Will Call Upon the Lord”, a family favorite, Brooklyn Tabernacle’s “The Name of the Lord”, and dozens of gospel songs drawing on the rock and fortress imagery in verses 1 – 3. This morning several verses further down in Psalm 18 stood out to me:
30 As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield
for all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the LORD ?
And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great.
36 You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn.
After re-reading those lines a few times I reached for my red pen and underlined the passage. In the margin next to verses 31 and 32 I wrote “God is”
Then next to the bracket I drew from verse 32 to the end of 36, “God does”.
I’m thinking about these concepts as I move through the day.
- God is perfect.
- His word is flawless.
- He’s a shield, and “all who take refuge in Him” includes me.
- There’s no one like Him.
- There is no rock like our God.
What He does grows out of who He is.
- He’s the one who gives me strength.
- He’s the one who turns my lifestyle toward perfect (His definition, not mine)
- He give me the agility and speed I need, even on high rocky places where the air is thin, the dangers are real but the views are magnificent.
- He trains me, putting me through the rigors of straining and testing to make me strong.
- He lets me use His shield.
- I can feel his right hand in the small of my back when the battle rages or the storm threatens. (love that image!)
- He bends down, brings his majesty and power to where I live and lives through me.
- He walks in front of me, clears things away and tosses into the underbrush stones He knows could trip me, ruin my ankle and lay me up for a while.
I’m smiling this morning. I feel like a 4th grade kid hanging out with his athlete hero and friend. The strong one is doing all the work, parting the crowd, making sure the way is clear, looking out for his young friend, showing him things he needs to know to do well. Can’t you just see the younger standing tall and straight in his heroe’s shadow, confident as he’s ever been? He should be confident, though his confidence has everything to do with his friend, nothing to do with him. Someone bigger, stronger, wiser is leading the way and clearing the path. All he has to do —all I have to do— is follow.
God is. God does. I’m with him.