Talk given by John MacDiarmid at Poole High School for PCF on Sunday morning 15 August 2016
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We continue our series in the Psalms under the heading “Songs in the Key of life”
In this song David describes in detail a time when he was under vicious attack from his enemies. He cries out to God for deliverance. This is different to last week’s song, when David was looking back on a deliverance he had already experienced. Here, he is right in the middle of it!
1. The Battle We’re in
David is under ferocious and sustained attack. Humanly, the situation looks hopeless. There is no way out. The enemies are ruthless, pitiless, and are those who David has previously befriended and tried to help.
Most of us will not experience such sustained personal attack at the hands of other humans – though of course, for the persecuted church it is a daily occurrence. But we do take part in a battle which is every bit as vicious and sustained. It is the spiritual battle that goes on in the life of every believer: “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6 v 12) Here Paul describes the epic battle in which we are all soldiers.
How will we cope?
2. The Refuge we have
Since we are involved in such a battle, and we are so weak, we have no hope unless we have recourse to a rescuer, a stronghold , a refuge that is stronger than us. David has been with God long enough to know that this is exactly the case.
In the first three verses of the Psalm, even before he describes his battle, he is called out to God to rescue him. He appeals to a God who He knows is able to save him, because the same God rescued him from the lion and bear when he was rescuing his fathers sheep.
3. The Confidence we have
Although David is in the midst of trouble, with no end in sight, because his eyes are on God, he is able to say
“Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord, my whole being will exclaim “who is like you Lord? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them”
David has total confidence that he will be delivered, because his eyes are on God.
4. The Response we make
How do we respond to the intense battle that we are in? David’s song here gives us a number of clues:
- Pour out your heart to God: in the whole of the song we see David doing just that. He holds back nothing, telling God of the pain, of the hurt of the disappointment and the despair that he feels.
- Cry out to God for rescue: there is nothing wrong with asking God to get you out of a situation that you find difficult, as long as you accept his answer. So David calls out: “”rescue me from their ravages, my precious life from these lions”
- Get around the right people: in verse 27, David talks about those who delight in his vindication. There is a strong hint that David does not go through this alone. We are called to carry one anothers’ burdens.
- Cover the situation with praise: David’s cry for help is smothered with praise from beginning to end. We are reminded of the apostles in the jail in Philippi calling out to God in praise, during their captivity and in their pain.