My daughter and I love to run. We love 1 mile sprints; we love running 5k's; we even love running 10k's. We both aspire to work up to a half marathon as our next goal. When we visit the States, we hope to enter into some races... not that we would win anything, but it would just be fun.
I can just see us now. We enter into a 5k race. On the day of the race, everyone lines up at the starting line except us. We decide we will line up twenty yards ahead of everyone else. (After all, how important is that starting line anyway?) Then I can see the race official approaching us and making us go back to the beginning.
"You cannot run this race unless you start at the right place."
What does this have to do with Psalm 18?
I almost messed up this morning. I almost missed a great treasure. By the grace of God, the Spirit drew me back to the beginning.
I sat down to read the Psalm and quickly brushed past the introduction to the Psalm.
"To the chief musician... blah blah blah... David wrote it... that's good to know... during the time of Saul chasing him... ok, got it. Now on to the meat of the Psalm."
I read the whole Psalm. There was good stuff in it, but it was like there was something missing. The Psalm spoke of God's power and His provision in times of trouble. Those things are all good and true, but I missed the most important part and didn't even realize it.
Do you realize that every word of God is pure and that all scripture is inspired by God?
2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
It's all important and valuable. Even the introductory titles in Psalms matter. I had tried to skip the starting line and jump straight into the race. The race Official, the Holy Spirit, brought me back to the beginning and showed me that the starting line matters. In this Psalm, everything that follows is based on some facts revealed in the title and description. In my haste and in my devaluing of God's Word I flew past the source from which the rest of the Psalm flows.
Psalm 18:1 "To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said, I will love thee, O LORD, my strength."
A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD.
Why did David get to experience such intimacy with the Lord? Why did God so tenderly protect David? Why did God deliver David from the hand of his enemies time after time?
David was the servant of the LORD. David had laid his life down on the altar before God. David didn't live life for himself. He died to self.
Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
1 Corinthians 6:19 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
Romans 12:1 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
Luke 9:23 "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
What about me?
How did I plan my day today? Did it look like a servant following, or did it look like a master leading? Did I plan to serve self today, or did I lay my life on the altar today?
"... I will love thee, O LORD..."
David's Protector was also David's love. David was devoted to His God because he loved the Lord. They had a rich intimacy.
Do I have that rich intimacy and devotion? Am I pursuing it daily? Am I settling for less?
"... my strength."
David acknowledged he was nothing without God. He needed the Lord. Without the Lord, David could do nothing. He was completely dependent. David didn't rely on his cunning or his battle skills. He didn't rely on himself. God was his strength.
Do I try to do things in my own power and strength? Do I realize just how desperately I need the Lord every minute of the day?
The heart of a servant, love and devotion, and a total dependency upon His God. That is the source from which everything in the rest of this Psalm flows. Those are also the things that are needed in order for me to experience the level of closeness David had with his Rock, his Fortress, his Deliverer.
I almost missed it.
Note to self: The starting line matters.