Psalm 18:20-24 (NASB)
20 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
And have not wickedly departed from my God.
22 For all His ordinances were before me,
And I did not put away His statutes from me.
23 I was also blameless with Him,
And I kept myself from my iniquity.
24 Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes.
I have been reading The Crucified Life, by A.W. Tozer, for the second time. If you haven’t read it, I would highly recommend it. I won’t go into a book report here, but only mention it, because his discussion of what a sold out life, a crucified life, in Christ can and should look like, puts one in a certain frame of mind. It is that frame of mind that directed my study on Psalm 18 and what I feel I am supposed to write about today.
Psalm 18 is a reflection of David’s personal expression of gratitude to the Lord found in 2 Samuel 22. David adapts that expression into this psalm for the whole of the people to sing, as their security is now tied to David’s line, the ultimate culmination of which is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Psalm 18 is a beautiful expression of the power and protection wrought by God on David’s behalf. However, what I want to draw attention to is who (David) and why (his righteousness) God’s intercession and protection was provided.
Tozer talks, in depth, in his book about the lack of desire for the Lord in today’s christian. He talks about the willingness of those to gladly accept the freely given gift of salvation bestowed upon us by our Lord and Savior, but our unwillingness to give all that we have and are over to Jesus, a refusal to “crucify” ourselves, to be born aain into the new life that He promises. We want the best that He has to offer, we want peace, protection and prosperity, but we so seldom are willing to pay the price.
In Psalm 18 God intercedes on David’s behalf, because he has faithfully pursued God. He has tried to honor God, follow His statutes, obey His commands. In the onslaught cast upon David, God sees him as righteous, blameless, his hands are clean. Now, do not mistake my meaning here. I am not saying that David’s works saved him, but they did shine favorable light on him in God’s eyes. He made faithful conscious decisions and for that God rewarded him.
32 The God who girds me with strength
And makes my way blameless?
33 He makes my feet like hinds’ feet,
And sets me upon my high places.
34 He trains my hands for battle,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,
And Your right hand upholds me;
And Your gentleness makes me great.
Now, God didn’t just snap His fingers and obliterate David’s enemies. He equipped David with righteous instruments, He empowered Him to prevail over the evil that plagued him. How often do we ask for God’s intercession, expect Him to just sweep in and save the day, but then miss the tools and means He equips us with to handle the hardship that plagues us? What would we gain, in what way would we grow and mature, if every time we find ourselves in a tight spot, God just wiped it all away?
David is an example, certainly, of bad things happening to a faithful, God fearing person. He was persecuted, hunted, starved, unsheltered. He had it rough, despite being a faithful servant, but he remained faithful. Bad things do not only happen to “bad” people. But God hears the cries of the righteous, as He did David’s. When David was ready, God pulled Him from the grips of his enemies, equipped him to battle back and earn the monarchy God had established for him.
Another question, is the only time you come to God when you need something? David was consistently desiring to know God intimately, to follow His statutes, to obey Him. David sought righteousness, knowing to do so draws him closer to the Lord. God was merciful and provisional, because David was humble, hungry for righteousness, and faithful. Have a blessed weekend.
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,