I was reading Psalm 18 last week and couldn’t get past verse 2. The more I read it the more I realized just how important it is to understand what David was saying and what it meant to him. And it began with the first words out of his mouth, which are probably the most important for they set the tone for everything he says in verse 2. He makes the entire psalm personal… I “will” love thee O Lord. The Hebrew word for love in this instance is like the love one receives from a mother’s care; it communicates intimacy in a relationship based on experience.
In these first two verses he uses the word “my” nine times in referring to God in addressing seven protections that God has given him; protections that he has “experienced:”
- My Rock – God is his lofty stronghold, a place of safety that is immovable; a strong foundation.
- My Fortress – God is his place of defense and protection against the attacks of the enemy.
- My Deliverer – God is the one who carried him away, helping him to escape by being his living protector.
- My God – God is almighty and powerful on his behalf.
- My Strength – God is his fountain of immovable firmness and immutable faith.
- My Buckler – God is his protector and defender.
- My Horn/Salvation – God has given him a powerful and efficient salvation.
- My High Tower – God is his inaccessible high place from which he can see danger as it approaches.
And here’s the key the Lord showed me for us. God has proven Himself to be these protections because David chose to let Him do so. Think about that for a moment. God responded because David “allowed” Him. David was only able to derive those benefits because he claimed them in his prayers. All those long lonely days running from Saul he continually looked to God… “my God.” There’s a lesson in there for the bride of Christ.
We will grow stronger in our faith and be able to face more difficult challenges by following David’s lead. And in the process something awesome happens. The more earnest we are with God and the more direct our prayers are, the more we are obliged to be thankful as we understand and are blessed with His protections. We are safe in Christ, especially when we are surrounded by confusion, chaos, struggles, challenges and all those unanswered questions. But when we get away and seek His presence we suddenly begin to see things differently; we get perspective.
The message of these two verses is clear. David had all he needed in God for life’s tough battles. All he needed to do was make the decision… I will love thee. Those four words sum up the foundation of our relationship with our bridegroom. Our relationship with Jesus is a personal one because He is a personal God. And because of that relationship we, like David, can stand firm in our faith and confidence that He will protect us and see us through to the end.
I think Paul had that in mind when he wrote to the Corinthians:
2 Cor 12:9-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
When the challenges of life come our way we need to reflect on the pattern that David set for us… He is my God and I will love Him. That’s the foundation of our relationship with Jesus and that is the decision that will lead to true discipleship. We just need to remember that It’s Personal Because He is Personal.