It’s Over And We Won!
“I love You [fervently and devotedly], O Lord, my strength.” The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and the One who rescues me;My God, my rock and strength in whom I trust and take refuge;My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower—my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;And I am saved from my enemies. The cords of death surrounded me,And the streams of ungodliness and torrents of destruction terrified me. The cords of Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) surrounded me;The snares of death confronted me. In my distress [when I seemed surrounded] I called upon the LordAnd cried to my God for help;He heard my voice from His temple,And my cry for help came before Him, into His very ears. Then the earth shook and quaked,The foundations of the mountains trembled;They were shaken because He was indignant and angry. Smoke went up from His nostrils,And fire from His mouth devoured;Coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also and came down;And thick darkness was under His feet. And He rode upon a cherub (storm) and flew;And He sped on the wings of the wind. He made darkness His hiding place (covering); His pavilion (canopy) around Him,The darkness of the waters, the thick clouds of the skies. Out of the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds,Hailstones and coals of fire. The Lord also thundered in the heavens,And the Most High uttered His voice,Hailstones and coals of fire. He sent out His arrows and scattered them;And He sent an abundance of lightning flashes and confused and routed them [in defeat]. Then the stream beds of the waters appeared,And the foundations of the world were laid bareAt Your rebuke, O Lord,At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils. He reached from on high, He took me;He drew me out of many waters. He rescued me from my strong enemy,And from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster,But the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a broad place;He rescued me because He was pleased with me and delighted in me. The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness (moral character, spiritual integrity);According to the cleanness of my hands He has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord,And have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His ordinances were before me,And I did not put away His statutes from me. I was blameless before Him,And I kept myself free from my sin. Therefore the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness (moral character, spiritual integrity),According to the cleanness of my hands in His sight. With the kind (merciful, faithful, loyal) You show Yourself kind,With the blameless You show Yourself blameless, With the pure You show Yourself pure,And with the crooked You show Yourself astute. For You save an afflicted and humble people,But bring down those [arrogant fools] with haughty eyes. For You cause my lamp to be lighted and to shine;The Lord my God illumines my darkness. For by You I can crush a troop,And by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is blameless.The word of the Lord is tested [it is perfect, it is faultless];He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but the Lord?Or who is a rock, except our God, The God who encircles me with strengthAnd makes my way blameless? He makes my feet like hinds’ feet [able to stand firmly and tread safely on paths of testing and trouble];He sets me [securely] upon my high places. He trains my hands for war,So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,And Your right hand upholds and sustains me;Your gentleness [Your gracious response when I pray] makes me great. You enlarge the path beneath me and make my steps secure,So that my feet will not slip. I pursued my enemies and overtook them;And I did not turn back until they were consumed. I shattered them so that they were not able to rise;They fell [wounded] under my feet. For You have encircled me with strength for the battle;You have subdued under me those who rose up against me. You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me [in defeat],And I silenced and destroyed those who hated me. They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—Even to the Lord [they cried], but He did not answer them. Then I beat them fine as the dust before the wind;I emptied them out as the dirt of the streets. You have rescued me from the contentions of the people;You have placed me as the head of the nations;A people whom I have not known serve me. As soon as they hear me, they respond and obey me;Foreigners feign obedience to me. Foreigners lose heart,And come trembling out of their strongholds. The Lord lives, blessed be my rock;And may the God of my salvation be exalted, The God who avenges me,And subdues peoples (nations) under me. He rescues me from my enemies;Yes, You lift me up above those who rise up against me;You deliver me from the man of violence. Therefore will I give thanks and praise You, O Lord, among the nations,And sing praises to Your name. He gives great triumphs to His king,And shows steadfast love and mercy to His anointed,To David and his descendants forever.
Early in the 1994 college football season, the highly branded Colorado Buffaloes played an away game against perennial powerhouse Michigan.
With six seconds left and down 26-21, Colorado regained possession of the ball on their own 34 yard line. Coach Bill McCartney called time out. His quarterback, Kordell Stewart, came over to the sidelines for last-minute instruction. With time left for only one play, all 105,000 Michigan fans knew Colorado’s sole hope was a desperation pass. For a brief moment, the roaring stadium fell silent. A fan, seated on the 50 yard line, a number of rows in back of McCartney and the Colorado bench, yelled: “Hey Coach, where’s your God now?” The fan evidently knew of McCartney’s Christian witness as a co-founder of Promise Keepers.
McCartney confided later to a friend that, when he heard that taunt, he knew his team would win. Quarterback Stewart threw the football 74 yards on the fly to the goal line where it was tipped and then grabbed by a Colorado Buffalo who fell into the end zone as the gun sounded to end the game. McCartney’s team had won by a point.
What a thrill to win at the last moment. Pandemonium!
Psalm 18 is David’s touchdown celebration following the defeat of all those who asked him, “Where is your God now?” The psalm is so long because he can’t stop cheering.
What can we learn from this psalm about our own life struggle and the final outcome for those who trust in Jesus?
In Psalm 18 David reflects on how he leaned hard on God during difficulty. In the intensity of conflict, he experienced God personally and intimately. He recalls that as a fugitive he needed a rock, a fortress, a deliverance, a shield, and a stronghold. However, he never confused the physical site with the source of real security for it was God who provided his defenses.
In great detail David describes his deep distress: “cords of death entangled me…cords of the grave coiled around me…the snares of death confronted me.”
George Wood says, “God can save us from destruction when we cry to Him. Terrifying natural phenomena pictorialize God’s deliverance. When our cry for help reaches God, He doesn’t just sit there listening passively. He acts.”
David records, “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.” David was brought out “into a spacious place” and “rescued because he delights in me.” Troubles and strife may bind us in tight places but God brings us into spacious places.
David thinks that God has “rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. But the fact is that our victory isn’t rooted in us at all but in the fact that the Lord has dealt with us according to His own steadfast love, mercy, and righteousness. George Wood says, “Taking credit for the win is like saying ‘We won.’ They didn’t win at all- they just watched and cheered. To Him belongs the praise.”
It is through Christ’s victory we receive strength to endure and conquer. God never allows darkness or difficulty or depression put out the light of our lives. Instead He gives us power to live- not to run from hardship but to engage it; not to hit the wall defeated but to leap over it.
In verses 33-36, David recounts his journey to victory. Bouncing between retreating into God as a refuge and advancing against his enemies, David focuses on how God helped him. From God he received swiftness(like hinds feet), strength(he enables me to stand on heights), with protection(you give me your shield of victory), and removal of hindrances(you broaden the path beneath me).
But it might be that you are not actually in a place of victory right now. Maybe like Colorado you’re facing a powerful opposition and time is running out and the enemy is taunting you with, “Where’s your God now?” Remind yourself that this place won’t keep you forever. The clock may be running but it isn’t running out against you but for you for it is counting the moments until that day when Christ is presented. Paul, in Philippians tells of that day:
“For this reason also [because He obeyed and so completely humbled Himself], God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow [in submission], of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess and openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord (sovereign God), to the glory of God the Father.”
So until the moment of victory- now or yet to come, put your trust in the Rock, the Strong Tower, and the Refuge- Jesus Christ.