(For those keeping track of the days, I know Monday is supposed to be our Springboard for Your Spiritual Life. I spent half of yesterday at the tire store getting tires and alignment on the Suburban. Despite being told I was on the network, I couldn’t access the internet. Then, just when I was going to get to make it to the office and put up my posts, Ryan, my seven-year-old, had a bike accident and I had to get him to the ER for stitches. He’s fine, just scraped up, thanks for asking. So, I’m putting up yesterday’s post now and will add in today’s Springboard for Your Family Life later today.)
If you are stumbling across this for the first time, you may want to start at the beginning of the series and work your way through the links at the end of each post. Or check out the index for this entire series of posts. We’ve learned so much about the psalmists and their relationship with God. I hope today’s is no exception.
Believing in the God of the Psalmists: God Is My Rock
Psalm 18:1-3 portrays it perfectly:
I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and 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,
and I am saved from my enemies.
This is, perhaps, the most important aspect of the Psalmists’ belief in God. God was not simply an ethereal being out in the obscure heavens. He was a very real presence.
They viewed life as a battle. They were at war. The enemy pressed around on all sides. But they had a refuge, a place where they could find comfort, protection, strength. That place was God. They did not rely on their own strength. They did not rely on the strength of men. They relied on God.
The heading of Psalm 18 claims it was written on the day when David was delivered from his enemies, including Saul. What a great story that was. David refused to lift a finger against Saul because he was God’s anointed. Yet, God brought David the victory. David may have fled to other kingdoms. He may have hidden in caves. He may have gathered soldiers. But he knew none of this was his real strength and protection, God was. Without God, the kings, caves, and soldiers would have done him on good.
Letting God be Our Rock
If God is our rock, we trust Him. We do what He says just because He said it, even when we don’t understand why. If He is our protection, we just rely on Him.
If we will ever pray as the psalmists did, we must surrender ourselves to God as they did. When David refused to strike Saul, he did so against what seemed wise. He did so against the advice of his friends and supporters. They even tried to get David to see it was a sign from God to strike down Saul. But David surrendered to God’s word. He would not strike God’s anointed. That meant his enemy would live and hunt him longer. What great faith David demonstrated there.
Who is your enemy? What is your oppression? Take your eyes off of those things and focus them on God. What is God’s will for you today? What has He said in His word about your life? Do that. Just do that. Trust God to protect you. He is the your rock, your redeemer, your deliverer, your strong and mighty tower.
Certainly, to the world you will look foolish. Certainly, they will mock you and claim what you are doing is useless. In the end, God’s way works, even if it doesn’t work the way we expected. Let God be your protector. Quit relying on your own strength and start relying on God’s. Let go in faith and put your hand in His. He will take care of you.
Our Rock and Our Prayer
Whoever we rely on is who we’ll pray to. If we simply rely on ourselves, prayer will always be a struggle. It will never be anything more than a checklist to-do item that we intend to get to but keep putting off. If we rely on parents, we will constantly be appealing to them. If we rely on government, they will receive our constant requests. If we rely on friends, we will latch ourselves on to them and not let go. However, when we see God as the source of our protection, comfort, and victory, prayer will just happen.
How can we not pray when we believe God is the only way we’ll make it through the day victorious? As long as we think we’ve got our lives under control or could if we just tried harder, we’ll struggle with prayer. The days we see God as our only hope, we’ll pray like the psalmists.
Maybe you’re struggling with that. Then let me give you the one piece of advice that has really helped me–“Act as if.” If you can’t quite say it is completely true that you can only truly survive if you rely on God today, then act as if you believed that. How would you pray then? How would you act? How would you treat others? Do that and see if the real faith doesn’t start growing.
If we want to pray like the psalmists, we have to believe in their God. Their God was their rock. He must be ours as well.
(Don’t forget to come back next week when we talk about the psalmists view of God as the shepherd.)