For you will light my lamp, O Yahweh.
My God will illuminate my darkness.
For by you, I advance through a troop.
By my God, I leap over a wall.
Psalm 18 is one of my absolute favorite psalms of all time (actually it’s #2 on the list, but we might get to the other one later!). I discovered this psalm at a difficult time in my life when it felt like God was far away and disinterested with the personal afflictions I was facing. I’d bought into the lie that God is distant and uninvolved in the plights of His people—that all our recourse and joy would be found in the next life, while in this one things just played out.
In the midst of this self-pity party, I stumbled across Psalm 18. I’m sure I’d read it before—reading Psalms and Proverbs was kind of a go-to for a kid who had to read her Bible every morning growing up but didn’t exactly want to have to get involved in, like, Jeremiah, you know? Yet it wasn’t until that day in my late teens that the heart and soul of this psalm leaped off the page at me—reading it at just the right time, as so often happens.
During my time of affliction, this psalm—attributed to David during a time when many enemies, including King Saul, were hot on his heels—echoed not only my heart’s cry, but gave me such deep encouragement that it has remained a favorite to this day. I deeply encourage you to sit with and read it, really meditate on its words; the praises toward God abound, as often is the case in David’s psalms, but just as prevalent in verses 6-19 is an account of God hearing the cry from His servant…and acting.
Here the notion of the idle, disinterested God falls apart. For thirteen verses, David describes the fierce, mighty, awesome and dramatic deliverance God brings. This account of how God interceded on David’s behalf is rife with breathtaking descriptions of fire and storm, thunder and darkness, swiftness and determination. We see God, not prying Himself off His throne to saunter over and sprinkle a bit of help to a needy David; instead there is flying and hail and thundering. God is actively, drastically involved in David’s wellbeing here. Through David’s eyes, we see deliverance from God not as incidental, but intentional, with a huge spiritual wallop behind it. God was not playing around then—and He isn’t now!
So what can we expect when we cry out to God, who is the same God now as in David’s time? We can expect that He hears, that our cries go out to Him in His holy temple; that He cares and is not ignoring us. We can anticipate that there is a spiritual-battle aspect to this, as with all things; yet our prayers, like David’s, are a war-cry. And our God wants to fight for us!
Let’s not be tempted to forsake praying and petitioning God because we think He doesn’t hear or care! Meditate on the account of Psalm 18; let Yahweh’s fierce passion for His servant in need take root in your heart. Then, when you make supplication to Him, remember just Who you’re calling out to—what He has proven Himself faithful to do.
God rescued David in fire and wind, in fury and passion, in love and might. He will rescue us, too!