Love Came Down with Training

2014-10-10 07.44.26I will love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies. (Psalm 18:1-3)

I will love You.  Not exactly words you expect from a warrior king.

Indeed, King David was a famous man of war. When he was turfed out of the palace, David used what he had, his battle skills and supernatural strength, to raid Israel’s enemies, guerrilla-style and weaken the Philistine forces who were terrifying the nation of Israel.

Ruled an outlaw by King Saul, David lived on the run, fleeing Saul’s forces and the greedy men who wished to collect the price for his head. Like an Old West warrant poster, David was wanted, Dead or Alive, and in Saul’s distorted view, dead was better.

An ordinary man would have moved away, shaken the dust of Israel from his feet and set up a quiet pasture in a nation far away from the bloodthirsty grasp of his father-in-law, the king. In Jordan or perhaps Egypt.

Not David. David had this secret weapon, his love life with God, that directed him far above reason, ration or logic.

For years David remained in Judah, living life on the run. As the indebted, disenfranchised and embittered of the nation fled to his side, David avoided the temptation to retaliate against Saul’s injustice.  Instead he lead his band of mighty men to defend Israel from his wilderness vantage point. Roaming the countryside and hills, David protected his people and their livestock (see Nabal and Abigail), waging war against invaders. Later, David moved to Philistia and offensively, systematically destroyed settlements within Philistia, leaving none alive to point any fingers, while he maintained the false identity as a friend of Philistine.

Considering the losses David had already endured, his choice is surprising.

Why stay to defend a country which wouldn’t defend David to Saul?  David lost his wife, his position, his home, and his freedom, yet still chose to war against the enemies of Israel, waiting until God did what He promised and established David as King over Israel.

From the psalms, as we read David’s words, we see his choice was based on one important fact: David lived for God, not for himself because David powerfully knew God’s love. God’s love held David through difficulties, disappointments, disasters and dangers; God’s love sustained David all his life.

In Psalm 18, David celebrated God’s passion for David, testifying how God had saved David from many tragedies and circumstances:

He sent from above, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
From those who hated me,
For they were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my support.
He also brought me out into a broad place;
He delivered me because He delighted in me [1]2014-08-22 18.12.09

God delights in you too.

David was in love with God who loved him. Just as God has delivered David from countless life and death situations, David knew God would be gracious to give David the ability to rule as king:

You have delivered me from the strivings of the people;
You have made me the head of the nations;
A people I have not known shall serve me.
As soon as they hear of me they obey me;
The foreigners submit to me.
The foreigners fade away,
And come frightened from their hideouts [2]

David experienced the power of God through many overwhelming and long-suffering circumstances, God’s custom sized preparation for David to rule with integrity and dependence upon his God as King.

Yet David didn’t live for justice. David lived for God. God fathered David, tutored, instructed and let life circumstance mold David into the great king of Israel.  Despite the mess, the agony and the failings, David lived as a true son, intent to bring glory to God, led by the Holy Spirit and certain of the goodness of his God.

God called him a man after His own heart.

They had a deep vibrant relationship and heartache, pain, sufferings and victory were all part of that same God and David dynamic.

Hear David’s passion, his shout of victory as one of God’s overcomers:

The Lord lives!
Blessed be my Rock!
Let the God of my salvation be exalted.
It is God who avenges me,
And subdues the peoples under me;
He delivers me from my enemies.
You also lift me up above those who rise against me;
You have delivered me from the violent man.
Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles,
And sing praises to Your name.
Great deliverance He gives to His king,
And shows mercy to His anointed,
To David and his descendants forevermore. [3]

bushLet’s Pray:  Lord God, as your anointed children, we confess we have longed for Your Power but chafed at the difficult and painful circumstances which demonstrate Your mighty gracious power. We have wanted the relationship David enjoyed with you,  with none of the caves, the spears, the jeers or the trials and suffering.  Lord Jesus, we confess  we have pleaded to use your Power tools, wanted every position you have promised, without the tutelage of suffering where Your Hands hold and guide and teach us how to trust and wait for You. O Holy Spirit, lead us! You deliver and save and heal and help day after day. When we face trials, help us, like David, to expect Love to come down with Your salvation. Only You establish, Lord God, and through You, we, Your children can do amazing things. Therefore like David, we ask for the grace to wait in the Land In Between of pleas and provision, and we place our hope fully in You, our Rock and our Lord. Amen.

[1]The New King James Version. 1982 (Ps 18:16-19). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.[2]The New King James Version. 1982 (Ps 18:43-50). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.[3]The New King James Version. 1982 (Ps 18:46-50). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Study Questions:

  1. The Psalms express many emotions.  Which Psalm has revealed your heart this week?
  2. David fought in broken circumstances for many years.  How do you handle long delays in justice or deliverance?  Do you keep hoping or do you shut down your heart and quit talking to God?
  3. David had real conversations with God and the psalms record his songs. David shared heartache, depression, sorrow, fury, longing, desperation, to name just a few feelings he expressed.  Try writing a psalm to God to express where you are at with God or life or people. See how the hard work of expressing your heart reaps intimacy with your God.
This Week’s Readings:  Psalm 1-23
Next Week’s Reading Psalm 24-45