The Psalms: Salvation Leads to Renewal

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been 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.

– Psalm 18:1–5 (Read more…)

Wow! This is the longest Psalm so far, David has a lot to say. He begins with some powerful words describing our God – rock, fortress, deliverer, shield, horn (slightly more obscure!) but they are words worth meditating upon. Whatever circumstances we find ourselves in we can have confidence that God will protect us from ultimate harm.

David’s words were born from his own experience of desperate need. We might not know his exact circumstances but we can have the same confidence that when we cry out that God hears our prayers.

In verses 7-13 David piles up a rhetoric that is impressive but far from empty. A lot of David’s imagery is martial but reminds us that in Christ, God has defeated our enemies (v14) and rescued us from the deep waters of sin and death (v14), delivered us from a powerful enemy (v16) and brought us into his kingdom (v19).

David suggests that God has rescued him because of his righteousness (v20) but even more astoundingly we know that God has rescued us in spite of our unrighteousness.

This experience of God’s salvation leads to renewal. David is armed with strength (v32), he is ready for whatever struggles lie ahead (v34). St Paul reminds that our struggle is not with flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12) and sometimes our enemy is the sinner looking back at us from the mirror but we know that in Christ we have the victory. As another New Testament writer puts it, ‘he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world’ (1 John 4.4).  In Christ God has delivered us from our enemies, liberated us from our own ‘demons’ and given us his Spirit, equipping us to be part of his mission to change the world for good.