I love you, God — you make me strong. God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. My God — the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout. I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty, and find myself safe and saved. The hangman's noose was tight at my throat; devil waters rushed over me. Hell's ropes cinched me tight; death traps barred every exit. A hostile world! I call to God, I cry to God to help me. From his palace he hears my call; my cry brings me right into his presence — a private audience! (Psalm 18:1-6, The Message)
In a recent sermon, our associate pastor was charging our graduates with some thoughts from Psalm 18. The setup for this offering from David, as Dan put it, is God's view of what David had come through after being pursued by Saul and others before finally finding relief from the constant conflict. David may not have originally viewed his circumstances this way, but God inspires the king to write this reflection from His perspective. The result is an amazing testament to God's provision and sustenance.
As is often the case, my eyes drifted across the columns to Eugene Peterson's rendering of this passage. The word "crag" stuck out immediately. The picture in my mind was of a high, protected space where God brought David to safety. It isn't a large spot – you wouldn't want to camp out there for an extended time, but it has a sense of safety and soundness that can't compare with anything else.
God's rescue and protection for David is so evident in this Psalm. David records his personal plea and God responds in kind. That thought – personal – really struck me as it was presented. God is a VERY personal God and treats us like the individuals He created us to become. It comes as no surprise that David's rescue follows this pattern and the Psalmist acknowledges it that way.
The crag is not a permanent place for David. The verses that follow are basically God's charge for him to "Go get 'em!" It is a powerful response based in a swift and furious love of an awesome God. Refreshed, David strikes out from his place of refuge and becomes the mighty king we read about. And though we know he falters, his place as "a man after God's own heart" was confirmed and his legacy lead to the Christ.
God provides the same comfort for us today as He did for David. We may not be literally running from people who are trying to kill us, but no doubt we feel the same way at times. Life can be very difficult and having a place of refuge and a Gold who will rescue are amazing things. That He does so in a distinctly personal way just amplifies that. The God who personally rescued and refreshed David will do the same for you and me.
The Crooked Path takes many turns as it leads toward our Final Home. Frankly, we just don't know where it is going at times and it gets downright difficult. In the midst of that pain, we have a God who has a specific design for our lives and has promised to pick us up and rescue us. Our perspective might be quite different from His and perhaps we can learn from David in Psalm 18. I'm sure David didn't see it that way when he went through it, but I like the version he wrote better anyway. It's God's perspective on how He loves us and it is ALWAYS the best way.
- Are you in need of rescue right now? Would you like nothing better than to have God swoop in and carry you off to some high crag that feels safe and secure?
- If you've been taken to the crag, do you realize that it isn't a permanent place? Do you find yourself wishing you could stay there instead of heading back out to face life?
- What is God's personal message of refreshment to you? Can you hear His words from His perspective like David wrote?