Asking God to Be God

Today’s reading is Psalm 35.

The first few verses of Psalm 35 seem odd to us. They picture God as lawyer and warrior. Someone is contending against me (and that is actually a legal term), contend against them for me. Someone is fighting against me, rise up and fight them for me. He really digs into the warrior metaphor in vss. 2-3, asking God to take up shields and weapons, and saying to David, “I will be your salvation!”

Then there are vss. 5-6 asking the Lord to have His angel chase the enemies away like chaff before the wind (yes, you should remember Psalm 1:4 here). What is going on here?

Let’s not read this in a vacuum. Look in Exodus 23:20-33. I’ll provide some excerpts.

Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared for you…But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries…I will send my terror before you and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you…

David didn’t just make up his prayer on the spot. He wasn’t just thinking of all the things he could say and created these ideas. David knew the Torah.

What is he doing in these prayers? He is asking God to be God. He is asking God to be for him, what He promised to be for Israel. He is asking God to be what God has already said He would be for His people.

Do you want to pray more effectively? Take a page out of David’s book and ask God to be in your life what God has declared He is.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 35.


Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post!

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Take Refuge in Your Real King

Today’s reading is Psalm 5.

Have you ever seen the awful pictures of refugees in foreign lands? Have you seen on the news the horrible images of the survivors of genocide in one nation trying to escape to a neighboring land, seeking asylum and protection from their enemies? In those pictures, did you see bright eyes and wide smiles? Did you see peace and joy as they carried only the bare essentials on their backs, leaving their homes, sometimes abandoning family, marching for miles in ragged clothes, only to be herded into camps and live on rations in nations that often can’t afford to care for them or won’t spend the money to adequately do so? Of course not. There is no joy and peace there. Why would anyone choose that life? Because that is the only choice they have if they are going to live. But look at David’s plea and proclamation. David talks about happy refugees, blessed refugees, protected refugees, shielded refugees. David recognizes that if he follows the counsel of the enemies, all that awaits him is death. His only choice is to flee as a refugee. But his refuge is God. And refuge with God isn’t like living in a concentration camp. It isn’t like being a prisoner of war while being protected. It is joy. It is peace. It is life. The Lord is our refuge when the world starts to attack. Run to Him. Yes, we will be refugees, but not like any refugees the world has ever seen. We will be in protected peace, sheltered under the mighty wing of God.

Next week’s reading is Psalm 6.

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A Shield About Me

Today’s reading is Psalm 3.

It’s one of my favorite songs: “Thou, O Lord, art a shield about me. You’re my glory. You’re the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3 is the basis of that song. But think about when David is writing that. The heading doesn’t say “When David was marching back into Jerusalem after Absalom’s rebellion.” It doesn’t say, “When David mourned Absalom’s death.” It doesn’t say, “When God defeated Absalom.” The heading says, “A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.” David is on the retreat. Shimei is cursing him. In fact, many “Shimeis” are cursing David. David seems to have no defense. Remember, he isn’t digging in and fighting. He’s fleeing Jerusalem. He’s giving up the ship. But even in that moment, what does David believe. “You, O Lord, are my shield.” It’s one thing to say that while sitting safely in your palace. Its one thing to sing that after the victory has been won. It is truly a different thing to claim that while the battle is raging and you are fleeing for your life. “God, I don’t know how You are going to do it. To everyone else in the world, it looks like I’m defeated. Honestly, right now, I kind of feel defeated. But I know this. You are my shield. You are my salvation. I’m just going to do what You say.” That is when we need to sing this song. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 3.

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