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The Lord Gives Us Victory

April 1, 2020 Preacher: Luis A. Cardenas Series: Psalms

Topic: English Passage: Psalm 18:29-50

 

Hi everybody! I’m glad to connect with you again with another midweek message. Our last three message have been on Psalm 18, and now is our chance to finish studying it. Remember, this is a song written by David in order to praise God as he thought back on all the times God had rescued him from his enemies.

In the opening verses of the psalm David describes God as his rock, his shield, and his refuge. Then David continues in verses 4-19 by describing the Lord as his almighty Protector and Savior. In verses 20-28, which we looked at in our last message, David describes God as the righteous Judge. He is going to reward David for his integrity. So, up to this point, David has said that God protects him, God rescues him, and God vindicates him.

Well, now we come to what I think is a very manly portion of this psalm. Not to say that the other parts weren’t manly, but this portion is particularly so. Today, we’re going to see that God strengthens David. God strengthens David.

David understood what it meant to be a soldier. He was involved in many battles. Even before defeating Goliath, David had already fought against a lion and a bear. That’s not the same as scaring away a coyote. Those were serious enemies.

Well, after David defeated Goliath, Saul put him in charge of the soldiers, and God blessed him in battle. God gave him success over his enemies. His success was so great that the people began to sing and dance to a song:  Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands. Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

To Saul, the song was annoying and enraging. To the rest of the people, it was evidence of God’s blessing on David’s life. That blessing, however, didn’t mean an easy life. David ended up having to run from Saul to save his own life. And that wouldn’t be the last enemy to chase after him.

Being hunted by a group of soldiers who wants to kill you would be terrifying. It leads you to hopelessness. You don’t know if you’re going to make it out alive. But David made it. He made it out every time. And looking back on all those times that the Lord rescued him, David didn’t just feel relief; he felt confidence.

From a human perspective, we might say David barely escaped. He made it out by the skin of his teeth. But that’s not how David describes it. David looks back on all this, and rather than say, “I  barely made it out,” he says, “God strengthened me for the battle. I was absolutely victorious.” Because of the strength God had given him, David describes himself as a super soldier.

Look at verse 29—For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.

Imagine one man, trapped in a walled prison, guarded by a band of soldiers. And all by himself, this man makes his way through the soldiers and then leaps over the wall to his freedom. That’s how God makes David feel. That’s how confident David is in God’s power and God’s faithfulness. David knows that God will keep His promise to him.

Look at verse 30—This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

Again, David is saying that God will rescue him. God is going to protect him from his enemies. And his confidence is rooted in the promises of God. God’s word is true.

Let’s keep reading, and we’ll see how David continues this imagery. Verse 31—For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?—the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.

In a battle, especially one in close quarters, one small mistake can cost you your life. But David says, “I didn’t make any mistakes in this battle. I escaped my enemies.” With God’s help, David says, “I have the speed and the agility of a deer whom no hunter can catch. I slipped away out of their grasp.”

Verse 34—He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

Just to make sure we’re clear, David is talking about a bow used to shoot arrows. And they were used for hunting or for battle. Most bows were made out of wood. And if you had a stronger bow, it meant your arrows would fly faster and farther. At the same time, a stronger bow required a stronger man to use it.

Well, a bronze bow is about the strongest, and most prized you could get. David, I believe, is speaking poetically, but that doesn’t mean that bronze bows didn’t exist at that time. There is one reference to them in Job, and there is some historical evidence that the Egyptians and the Hittites had them, but they are very rare.

A bronze bow would have been expensive and difficult to use well. But if anyone had bronze bows, it would have been an elite, trained solider in the service of a rich king. You needed strength and skill to use it. This was the weapon of a super soldier, and David is saying, “God, you enabled me for this battle.”

Verse 35 is a recognition of God’s compassion, God’s gracious support in David’s life—You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.

Again, David isn’t lifting himself up; he’s not patting himself on the back for escaping. He is giving all glory to God. And that’s especially important to remember as we read verses 36-38, in which David talks about himself as an unstoppable, unbeatable force destroying his enemies.

You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip. I pursued my enemies and overtook them, and did not turn back till they were consumed. I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise; they fell under my feet.

In any other context, this would be a man bragging about his skills as a warrior. But again, that’s not what this is. This is David publicly confessing that his skill, his strength, and his victory were all from God. David is not the focal point of this story; God is. God gets the praise. God gets the glory.

Let me read verses 39-45, and listen, not only to how David describes his victory, but to how God is credited for all of it.

For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me. 40You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed. 41They cried for help, but there was none to save; they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them. 42I beat them fine as dust before the wind; I cast them out like the mire of the streets. 43You delivered me from strife with the people; you made me the head of the nations; people whom I had not known served me. 44As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me; foreigners came cringing to me. 45Foreigners lost heart and came trembling out of their fortresses.

I read the closing words of this psalm in our first message, but let me read them again. David ends with doxology, a praise to God for what all He has done and for all He will do.

Verse 46—The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation— 47the God who gave me vengeance and subdued peoples under me, 48who rescued me from my enemies; yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me; you delivered me from the man of violence. 49For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing to your name. 50Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.

This is a psalm of confidence in God. To an Israelite in David’s time, this passage wasn’t a guarantee that they would never suffer. It was a guarantee that, no matter how distressing a situation looked, God was going to be faithful to preserve their nation. David was the king of Israel. So, if David is defeated, Israel is defeated.

But God made David a special promise, which we call the Davidic covenant. God promised David that his line would have an eternal kingship. God promised to preserve Israel and David’s line forever. That’s why the closing verse says, “Great salvation he brings to his king, and show steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.”

Now, we are on the other side of history, and we know how this works out. It’s not that David’s line is going to continue forever with king after king. It’s that a king will come from David’s line who will rule eternally. He will not only be saved form his human enemies; He will be victorious over the greatest enemy—death.

Who is the great Son of David? It’s Jesus Christ. And though He was betrayed by one disciple, abandoned by the rest, and then killed by the Pharisees and the Romans, God was behind all that. It was part of God’s predetermined plan to grant Jesus, God’s Anointed, a complete victory—a victory that would not only extend to the Jews, but to all the nations of the world.

In Romans 15, when Paul is talking about the salvation of the Gentiles and their inclusion in God’s kingdom, he specifically mentions Psalm 18:49, “I will praise you among the Gentiles, among the nations.”

I think that’s Paul recognizing that God’s salvation and preservation of David was a precursor to a greater and more glorious salvation, and that is the salvation of Jesus Christ.

God raised Jesus from the dead. And He sat Him at His right hand. And one day, Jesus will physically return to our planet and demonstrate His power and authority over the living and the dead.

His enemies will be judged and punished eternally, and those who belong to Him will reign with Him forever over an earthly kingdom, and then over a new heavens and a new earth.

That’s the confidence that we should have when we read a psalm like this. This psalm doesn’t mean like won’t be difficult. But it’s a reminder that God is faithful to His promises, and through His Anointed, His Messiah, He will give us an eternal victory, a victory that has already been secured through the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 2 reminds us that the nations will bow before Jesus. The kings and presidents and dictators will come trembling before Him in judgment. And like 1 Corinthians 15 tells us, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you have repented of your sin, and trusted alone in Jesus Christ for salvation, you will have the victory. As Romans 8 says, you are more than a conqueror through Him who loved you.

If you don’t know this Jesus, turn to him today. 

More in Psalms

March 28, 2020

The Lord Rewards His Godly Ones

March 24, 2020

The Most Terrible Storm of All

March 22, 2020

God Is My Rock