Photo credit: Squidonius on stock.xchng
“He makes my feet like hinds’ feet,
And sets me upon my high places. He trains my hands for battle,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze…
I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
And I did not turn back until they were consumed.” Psalm 18:33-34, 37 NASB
Saw this as a friend’s facebook status update recently, and I realized something-I don’t feel like a warrior. More often than I would like to admit, when times get tough I wish I could just keep my head down, do my job, and wait for the storm to pass me by. That’s not how life works, and I know it, believe me. Yet oh how fervently I sometimes wish I didn’t have to struggle and fight in certain areas.
Sometimes people put those “in ministry” or “in missions” on a pedestal. I don’t know if anyone has ever done that when they’ve looked at me, but I hope not, because goodness knows I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, have my own weaknesses just like anyone, and have even had those times where I’ve cried myself to sleep for one reason or another. (Note, that last one doesn’t happen often, but for the sake of being honest I will admit that it has indeed happened at times in the past, and could very well happen again in the future. Just a part of real life.)
I decided to look the rest of this psalm up for greater context, since it can be so easy to just see a few lines and get the wrong idea of what is being communicated in scripture. I don’t feel like I can “bend a bow of bronze” right now, much less pursue my enemies until they are wiped out. Turns out the bigger picture is that this psalm was written by King David after he was finally triumphant over Saul and other enemies who had been trying to hunt him down and kill him for years.
The ultimate focus of the psalm is not so much on David’s situation, or David’s strength, but rather on God’s help and salvation when David couldn’t do it himself. Was David a successful warrior? Yes, but only because God helped him, and indeed trained him to his task.
“For You light my lamp; The LORD my God illumines my darkness. For by You I can run upon 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 tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God, The God who girds me with strength And makes my way blameless?”
Psalm 18:28-32 NASB (emphasis added)
This psalm gives me a lot of hope with my own current struggles, not in myself but in the God who gives strength and teaches us to overcome, and rescues us when we are in need.
The psalm also gives us several glimpses of how God works, which I love. If we want to know what our God is truly like, we really need to look no further than the scriptures.
“With the kind 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 people, But haughty eyes You abase.”
Psalm 18:25-27 NASB
All this to say, this psalm gives me great hope today. I don’t feel like a warrior, but I can trust that God is training me for the battles I must face, and even more than that, I can trust that He will fight for me and overcome the enemies that I can’t face alone. I’m never alone in the battle. Never. Hope renewed, I will go on with my day with a new focus on the one who teaches me to bend bronze bows and strengthens my arms for battle, my hands for war.
What battles are you facing today? How could God work in them? Feel free to drop me a line
Theme song of the day: “The Battle Belongs to the Lord” by Petra