Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Psalm 18:1-6, 43-50 (NRSV)
I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
so I shall be saved from my enemies.
The cords of death encompassed me;
the torrents of perdition assailed me;
the cords of Sheol entangled me;
the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the LORD;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
You delivered me from strife with the peoples;
you made me head of the nations;
people whom I had not known served me.
As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me;
foreigners came cringing to me.
Foreigners lost heart,
and came trembling out of their strongholds.
The LORD lives! Blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation,
the God who gave me vengeance
and subdued peoples under me;
who delivered me from my enemies;
indeed, you exalted me above my adversaries;
you delivered me from the violent.
For this I will extol you, O LORD, among the nations,
and sing praises to your name.
Great triumphs he gives to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his descendants forever.
David praised God for saving him from his enemies, including King Saul. David’s best friend was Saul’s son Jonathan. The battle must have been fierce, since David recognized God as his rock, fortress, deliverer, shield, and stronghold. Saul, Israel’s first king, became too impressed with his own position and power, forgetting that he was dependent upon God. Because of Saul’s sin, God chose David to be the next king; Saul’s son would not succeed him.
Understandably Saul was extremely disappointed that his son would not succeed him. Apparently he “forgot” that his own actions precipitated the situation. Do we not often cause many of our own problems? Disappointment turned to rage, and Saul wanted to kill David. From Saul, we learn two main lessons: we bear the responsibility of recognizing God’s gift to us when we succeed; and second, we must accept responsibility for our own actions, reactions, and feelings, which sometimes may be inappropriate or just plain wrong. How many wars being fought today are fed by egotism and greed? From David we are reminded to be thankful and give God the credit for what we are able to accomplish.
O Lord, we thank you for all you have given us, and we ask you to keep us ever mindful that it comes from you. We are grateful for individual abilities that provide us ways to be of service. Help us always to use them for your purpose. Help us to accept our mistakes and failures and learn from them. It’s so easy and tempting to try to share the blame and rationalize our thinking. For those actions, we’re thankful we can ask forgiveness. Help us to do our best for you each day. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
Go with God.