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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Psalm 144 - What God Can Do

David is describing a situation in which he was under attack by foreigners (v. 11). Whoever these opponents were, it is clear that David felt in great danger. It is interesting that he felt this danger despite previous successes. He refers to them at the close of verse 2 as part of his praise of God and acknowledges that the Lord has already given him victories. Yet David knew that previous victories do not automatically give present victory. He was aware that he could take nothing for granted, therefore he prayed to his God for help.
In this prayer, David first focuses on God before considering his enemy, and that is a wise way to approach a problem. If we first focus on the enemy, we tend to assess God’s abilities in light of what the enemy can do. But if we look first at God and his abilities, then we will consider the enemy from what God can do to them.
David, under attack by an enemy, thinks about God in military terms. As he thinks about God in this way, David realises that the Lord is his instructor and his defender. Regarding God as his instructor on the use of weapons does not mean that he did not receive instruction from others. Instead his words are a reminder that everything he learned about using those weapons was under the overseeing eye of God.
At the same time as being willing to serve his God David was also conscious of his security in God. He uses a wide variety of pictures to illustrate the safety of which he was conscious – fortress, stronghold, deliverer, shield and refuge. All of them are expressions of God’s steadfast love and all of them will bring about God’s purpose for him. So although he was under attack and in need of constant protection David also realised and affirmed that the Lord would fulfil his purpose, which for David involved extending the bounds of the kingdom of God as it existed in his day. We too can have this perspective when our enemies attack us – we can rejoice in his security and anticipate spiritual victories because of who our God is.

Tomorrow we will think about how David prayed for help from God.

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