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God is our fortress! – Psalm 31

God is our fortress! – Psalm 31
By Pastor Lee Hemen
August 20, 2017

When you hear the word “fortress” what do you think of? Perhaps a castle built high on a cliff made of strong stone, a thick concrete-reinforced bunker deep in the ground bristling with barb wire, or an impenetrable stockade with massive cannons. The word “fortress” conjures up thoughts of safety, security, or protection for those faced with an enemy that seeks to destroy them. The Christian lives in a world where we face such an enemy and where we need to find a strong and secure fortress.

David in his distress seeks to find such a fortress and he does in the arms and strength of the Lord. It is a fortress every believer can reach and find safety in a world of darkness and sin. It is a place of quiet rest in a restless world and shelter from the windswept storms of life. David describes for us such a fortress; therefore let’s find out what he writes concerning the fact that God is our fortress…

READ: Psalm 31

As a boy we built tree houses and dugout bunkers that were strictly for “boys only”. Each had a myriad of alarms and traps just in case some wily girl found her way even near them. Of course this never happened because the girls we defended against never cared a thing in the world about our fortresses. David shares with us the fact that…

I. God is our fortress where we find shelter! (Vv. 1-8)

In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth. I hate those who cling to worthless idols; I trust in the LORD. I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.

1. Here is another one of David’s Psalms sung during a time of being despised, defamed, and persecuted. David desired others know that they too could turn to God during these times. So David sings, “In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.” And notice how often David refers to God as his safe haven or stronghold: “Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.” David does so at least six times using terms such as “refuge, fortress, rock, or rescue”. David wanted God to listen to his prayer; he wanted to be delivered from his sin, and he wanted to be protected and guided through life’s entrapments. It was “Into” God’s protective “hands” that David “committed” his spirit. Sound familiar? It should. Jesus used these words as well when he gave himself up as our Sacrifice. David saw God as his redeemer, the truth in a world full of “worthless idols”, and one he could completely trust. This is why he sang, “I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.” David felt protected: “You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place” where he could see the enemy coming at him from far away and thereby make preparations. David knew that God is our fortress where we find shelter!

EXAMPLE: There was only one place to run to and that was to a huge bunch of blackberry bushes. When you decide to take a shortcut across a farmer’s field and discover that there are several large bulls on the other side of some bushes you run as fast as you can to any shelter you can find. My friend and I had been out shooting, our vehicle got stuck, and we needed to hike back to town. And the shortest distance between us and town was through this field; with a few obstacles (angry bulls) in our way. Scratched, cut, and bleeding we came out of the safety of the blackberries on the other side. God is our fortress where we find shelter!

There was nothing better in the world when things like your big brother picked on you to find comfort in a parent’s understanding and sympathetic arms, which I never did because both of them usually asked immediately, “Now what did you do to provoke your brother?” In this Psalm David shares with us the fact that he found that…

II. God is our fortress of compassion! (Vv. 9-13)

Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak. Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors; I am a dread to my friends– those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life.

1. When David needed understanding, even if he had sinned, he knew he could go to the Lord. This is why he sings, “Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.” In his sin David felt like he was ill and indeed he was sin-sick. And of course when you are caught in sin or you know you are wrong you feel like everyone is against you; whether they are or not. David felt like he was literally a leper and lamented that “Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors; I am a dread to my friends– those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.” Cast aside, dust in the wind, and forgotten David turns to God. He pleaded for grace because his life was in “distress”, in “sorrow, “grief, and anguish”. David was so distressed he was at the point of becoming paranoid, “For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life.” Sin will do that but in God one finds mercy and David reminds us that God is our fortress of compassion!

EXAMPLE: “No one understands me!” is the battle cry of most adolescents. Teenagers over the centuries have lamented the misunderstanding of the adults around them. We find it in the love story of Romeo and Juliet to the selfish demands of Samson demanding his parents do what he wanted done concerning a girl. I am so glad I skipped that in my life, aren’t you? Right? We may think or feel that there is no one who understands us or cares for us but there is. We learn, as we mature, that there is always one who cares no matter how we may feel and David reminds us that God is our fortress of compassion!

Revenge was good but trust is better especially when your big brother is seeking revenge on you and you have to trust him not to punch your lights out like he promised. How good to know then what David realized that…

III. God is our fortress that keeps us safe! (Vv. 14-18)

But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave. Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.

1. In his self-induced sin condition David longed for relief and he finds it in God. “But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’” David realized what many have forgotten in our day and age that his “times”, his entire life was “in” God’s “hands”. God knew David’s life from its beginning to its end and therefore it was God alone who could “deliver [David] from [his] enemies and from those who” pursued him! David had been chased first by Saul and later in his fractured reign by his own son so he understood what it meant to trust in God and sang “Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave. Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.” Wow, he just sang for the death of his enemies and anyone who would “speak arrogantly against the righteous”! In our day where many live politically correct lives instead of what Scripture actually teaches this may seem harsh, old fashioned, or out-of date, but David had come to understand completely that God is our fortress that keeps us safe!

EXAMPLE: Now the reason my brother want to “punch my lights out” was simply over peanut butter. He liked it and I gave him some of mine. Of course what happened was that I had set him up in the first place by making myself a peanut butter sandwich with lots and lots of peanut butter on it. I knew my brother would want it and thereby take it from me so when he came into the kitchen and saw what I was making he demanded that I give it to him. I did this by way of smooshing it into his face. (Yes, “smooshing” is a word; my word.) I had to run like crazy. Unlike David I discovered I had no place to hide. David discovered that God is our fortress that keeps us safe!

Being rescued is a wonderful thing whether it is being rescued from the rocks at the beach by the Coast Guard; being rescued from the bad guys by the police; or being rescued in the midst of life’s struggles and pain. But sometimes, there is no immediate rescue, what then? David teaches us that…

IV. God is our fortress of hope! (Vv. 19-24)

How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues. Praise be to the LORD, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city. In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.

1. In reading David’s Psalms one comes away with a good picture of a man who struggled with his own sin, relationship with God and others, and how he worked through these things. Kind of like us! He comes to the realization that God has his best interests in mind and responds, “How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.” In a world of fear, doubt, and personal struggle he began to understand that those who trusted in God that “In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues.” And this was no esoteric moment for David but a harsh reality a spiritual wake up call for him! David had sometimes doubted God still loved him. I believe it was because like a lot of us he sinned and knew it and knew he did not deserve God’s unfailing love; but God gave it anyway. The word here for “besieged” can also mean “strong”. So David cries out, “Praise be to the LORD, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged (strong) city. In my alarm I said, ‘I am cut off from your sight!’” That was David’s fear and doubt talking. “Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help.” How often has that been true in your life and if not, to whom do you go to for spiritual protection? David learned this life lesson and shouts to anyone who would hear, “Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” God is our fortress of hope!

EXAMPLE: I began this sermon by asking, “When you hear the word ‘fortress’ what do you think of? Perhaps a castle built high on a cliff made of strong stone, a thick concrete-reinforced bunker deep in the ground bristling with barb wire, or an impenetrable stockade with massive cannons.” For me it is none of these things. For me it is a picture of hope. Hope not in the “wish-I-may-wish-I-might” kind of hoping but in the security and certainty faith brings. As Hebrews reminds us, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” (Hebrews 11:1-2 NIV) This is what David reminds us of that God is our fortress of hope!

Conclusion:

God is our fortress where we find shelter! God is our fortress of compassion! God is our fortress that keeps us safe! God is our fortress of hope!
—-
This article is copyrighted © 2017 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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The City of God is great! — Psalm 48

The City of God is great! — Psalm 48
By Pastor Lee Hemen
July 9, 2017

Some of the things man has made can cause one to wonder: “How in the world did they do that?” Such things are Angkor Wat which is a huge temple complex covering 402 acres in Cambodia, the city of Petra that was carved out of the rock in southern Jordan, the huge sky scrapers like the Tokyo Sky Tree or United Arab Emirates’ Burj Khalifa tower. Then there are the Super Tree structures of Singapore that look like massive trees from another planet.

As great as the works of man are, God is greater. The psalmist writes a poem about the City of God, Zion. Some think he is referring to Jerusalem or perhaps a heavenly city yet to be erected. I happen to believe it is both. In a beautiful rendering he gives us a grand picture of the City of God Jerusalem and the future heavenly city we will enjoy as well. He sings of her condition; God’s relation to her; his love of her; the utter terror Zion is to her enemies, while she is the everlasting joy of those who love God! Let’s see how the City of God is great…

READ: Psalm 48

Why would we want to know how great the city of God is anyway? One of the main themes of a lot of end of the world scenarios in movies is there are always a few people trying to get to a place of safety; whether it is an area, island, military base, or city. The Psalmist writes that…

I. The City of God is great because of her protection! (Vv. 1-8)

Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth. Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress. When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together, they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror. Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor. You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind. As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever. Selah

1. The Psalmist begins his poem by relating what a lot of biblical writers do by stating, “Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise”, but why does he write what he does? He tells us not so much why but rather where God is great and the idea is one of rule or reign. We see that God is great and worthy of praise “in the city of our God, his holy mountain”. We learn in another Psalm that God “has set his foundation on the holy mountain” and in fact that “the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.” (Psalm 87:1-2 NIV) God’s city is his holy mountain which is descriptive of his strength and power. But the Psalmist begins to veer away from describing earthly Jerusalem and begins to wax poetic concerning God’s heavenly city. So wonderful is this city of God’s that “It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth.” It was the joy of the world because it is God’s city where he dwells, where his word is expounded and heard, and where his holy temple is! And “Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King.” But here is the key to what the Psalmist wanted his listeners to understand, that when “God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.” God is the one who makes the city great, powerful, and secure. In fact, “When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together, they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror. Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor.” So powerful and mighty is God’s city that her enemies are “destroyed… like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind.” Was this especially true of Jerusalem? Nope, even though it had a continuous fresh water supply from the Gihon Spring which flowed along Hezekiah’s Tunnel to the Siloam Pool. Jerusalem had been overthrown quite a few times. But God’s enemies could never overthrow what his city stood for: his presence and power. And this truth is reflected in his stanza, “As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever.” The City of God is great because of her protection!

EXAMPLE: Now God is not a genie or good fairy who grants our wishes. He is not a wizard with a staff who stands in front of an oncoming demon declaring, “You shall not pass!” The Psalmist makes it plain that God is great because of whom he is and because of who he is he protects those he loves even in our darkest moments. King David would sing, “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest–I would flee far away and stay in the desert; Selah I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.’” (Psalms 55:4-8 NIV) Like the Psalmist we can find rest in the shelter of God. The City of God is great because of her protection!

Few things in life last. Warrantees expire, guarantees fail, and promises are sometimes unkept. Is it any wonder then that so many are skeptical of God who promises protection in a world full of broken promises? And yet his promise of protection never fails those who trust him. We discover that…

II. The City of God is great because God is always there! (Vv. 9-14)

Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness. Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments. Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels that you may tell of them to the next generation. For this God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

1. Right away the Psalmist affirms that the Lord Almighty (the Lord of armies) had made his city secure. And interestingly it isn’t because of some vast army or military strength; it was due to something else entirely. The Psalmist did not think the city could withstand any physical attack but rather it could withstand anything man could throw at it because it was where God dwelled with his people! Being close to the Lord and in his presence is the source of comfort for God’s people. John in his final book writes of his vision of the City of God that, “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. (Revelation 21:22-23 NIV) The Psalmist understood this and sang, “Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.” God’s city was beautiful and powerful and caused his people to think on his presence and to speak with him daily because God is there it is his temple! And like God’s name is known in the land, his “praise reaches to the ends of the earth” as well. It reminds me of the angels the Prophet Isaiah saw who sang together, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3 NIV) Therefore everyone knows that God’s “right hand is filled with righteousness” and for the reason of who God is! He always judges correctly without prejudice. In the light of this glorious truth we learn that “Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of [God’s] judgments.” Few, if any, cities of man can boast of the same greatness simply because of the impartial judgments that are enacted within its boundaries. As David would sing, “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.” (Psalms 19:7-10 NIV) Therefore one could feel safe and secure within the City of God. In fact the writer challenges his readers to “Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels that you may tell of them to the next generation.” The City of God is great because God is always there!

EXAMPLE: As a child I would find comfort in the arms of my mother or in the steady hands of my Dad. And so it isn’t surprising that we find in the words of King David his relationship with God was comforting too. He would sing, “You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalms 139:5-10 NIV) He understood what this Psalmist did as well, that the City of God is great because God is always there!

Conclusion:

The City of God is great because of her protection! The City of God is great because God is always there!
—-
This article is copyrighted © 2017 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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God leads us! – Psalm 18:1-6, 16-21, 32-36

God leads us! – Psalm 18:1-6, 16-21, 32-36
May 21, 2017
By Pastor Lee Hemen

When life smacks you in the head what do you do, to whom do you go to for advice, or for comfort? For some of us it is family, others it is a good friend, and yet as believers we are to first and foremost go to the Lord who is our help in times of trouble. It is during these times that God leads us.

David was not favored by God because he served him but David served him because God had appointed David in his sovereign mercy. After David praises and tells of his confidence in God for the future, David gives a beautiful description of God’s deliverance, which he described as an illustration of God’s justice to the innocent. God’s own might and success are celebrated as the results of divine aid and the confidence it will continue. Let’s learn how through our lives God leads us!

READ: Psalm 18:1-6, 16-21, 32-36

David knew about trouble in life. He had been given the kingdom of Israel while the still sitting king Saul was alive and now sought to kill him. In his struggle as he ran from Saul there were times David had felt pathetic yet now he reminds us that…

I. God is where we go when we are weak! (Vv. 1-6)

I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.

1. David had an intimate relationship with God and was unafraid to declare it to anyone who would listen, “I love you, O LORD” he cries out! David then continues by making a list of names by which he had come to know God. He was “my strength” or help. David knew God as his “rock” which was a lofty place to hide. He knew God as his “fortress” or we would say castle, and his “deliverer” meaning a way to escape, and again David emphasizes God being his “rock” or boulder in this case. However also being a fighting man David also knew God as his “shield” and his “horn of… salvation”. Therefore David could “call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise”, and know that “I am saved from my enemies.” As grand as all of this sounds David had also experienced and faced his own death at the hands of his enemies and so he relates “The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary states that “Being in the cords of death means that he was in such difficult distress that without divine intervention he would have died. Destruction overwhelmed him like a flood (torrents). The trappings of death were before him, and he was without human resources to save him.” I do not know about you but there have been times in my life when I felt just like David! Rather than being stuck between a rock and a hard place, David goes directly to his rock and hard place – God! David rejoices, “From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” We must never despair at life’s trouble or when we feel like giving up; God is where we go when we are weak!

EXAMPLE: One of the concerns for senior adults is maintaining muscle mass as they get older. This is why diets that are high in protein and getting active are very important. Muscle mass degenerates as we get older and is why senior adults become weaker with age. In order to maintain good spiritual muscles we must maintain a good diet and exercise program as well. Daily prayer and reading the Bible are important in order to strengthen spiritually atrophied muscles. The great news in what David teaches us in the fact that God is where we go when we are weak!

With all the flooding go on back East it seems someone is getting rescued from rising water all the time! Life can begins to seem like it is a flood ready to engulf us however David teaches us that…

II. God is the one who rescues us!  (Vv. 16-21)

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who 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 spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I have not done evil by turning from my God.

1. For many people even in our day and age God is a spiritual construct we have made up, a mythos to live by, but certainly he isn’t personal. Their argument at first seems logical: “If God were real why hasn’t he done something about the evil that exists in the world?” Yet what this fails to understand is the fact he did do something; he gave us himself in Jesus! David knew God personally and this is why he could write “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.” God had personally “rescued” David from a “powerful enemy, from foes, who were to strong” for him to face alone. These ungodly folks, king Saul being the chief one, had “confronted” him in David’s “day of disaster” yet even then the “Lord was my support” David boldly declares. David had felt that he had been drowning in his troubles, but God reached down and pulled him out of the “deep waters” and placed him “out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” As a Hebrew David hated open water like the ocean, most could not swim, and as a military man he would want to be able to defend himself in the open and not in some enclosed space. For the ancient Jew their relationship with God was kind of a tit-for-tat kind of thing. If you stayed within God’s gracious will you were safe and yet if you did not you suffered from your choices. However, David could gladly sing that “The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I have not done evil by turning from my God.” Like David we should know that “God is the one who rescues us!”

EXAMPLE: Growing up during the Cold War era I find it kind of humorous that so many millennials are concerned about North Korea. Don’t get me wrong, nuclear weapons in the hands of a madman are a dangerous thing. But it seems as if only now with a real threat are people once again worried about what to do in case of a nuclear attack. It also proves the point that even if we got rid of our entire nuclear arsenal; the crazies of the world are not about to. Isn’t it therefore good to know that in times of crisis God is the one who rescues us!

With the cold wet winter we have had and the good days of sunshine ahead authorities are worried that too many people will go swimming in water that is not just ice-cold but way higher and faster than normal. The rivers may look easy to navigate but it is easy to be swept away. Is a spiritual climate where folks are easily swept away into things they should not be David teaches us anew that…

III. God enables us to stand in him! (Vv. 32-36)

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.

1. Unlike a lot of his compatriots of his day David knew that “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” Many do not recognize that it is God who has given them everything in life. God had removed every impediment and obstacle out of David’s way, and made it plain and easy; David’s success was because of God! If only the world would acknowledge him God would delight to show them just as he did David! In fact when it felt like he could not get a foothold in life David related “He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.” The Prophet Habakkuk would write, “The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:19 NIV) Now we see David singing that God gave him the higher ground in battle and David acknowledged “He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” A bronze bow depicts strength. We may be feeble but God is mighty and David acknowledges this fact. In fact he sings, “You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.” It was under the cover of God’s own shield that David found victory and it was God alone who sustained him. How wonderful to know that God still hold us in the palms of his hands and he lifts us up! And having been a shepherd who had to scramble over many a rocky crag to try to find the hoof prints of lost sheep David rejoiced in that it was God who “broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.” The main idea throughout this Psalm is that David recognized every ability and victory of his to the Lord. Everything he had done and everything he now enjoyed was due to God. God enables us to stand in him!

EXAMPLE: I enjoy hiking and going places. One of my favorite places to explore is the Ape Caves outside of Cougar, WA. It is the longest lava tube yet discovered in North America. Now admittedly with my age I can no longer scramble over some of the rack falls inside the cave. And in fact some of the track on the “easy” side is difficult to stand in because of the way the lava flowed and left behind sharp ridges like train tracks. When our lives become tough and it can get hard to stand alone in the trials that come our way, David teaches us that God enables us to stand in him!

Conclusion:

God is where we go when we are weak! God is the one who rescues us!  God enables us to stand in him!
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This article is copyrighted © 2017 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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