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4.18.2008

Psalm Friday

Does Prayer Matter?
Psalm Friday
Psalm 18 continued

* Pray. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 18 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.

Last week we began looking at Psalm 18. This psalm is a song of thanksgiving and praise to God for the many times God had delivered David from his enemy. David desired always to keep these memories fresh in his mind and to speak of them often. It was his passion to share with others what God had rescued him from. Psalm 18 is a beautiful Psalm full of poetry and imagery of a God who fights for and protects His people.

Let’s pick up where we left off. Last week we looked at the first six verses of this Psalm, today we’ll being in verse seven and continue through to verse nineteen. But, before we do, let’s briefly review verses one through six. In verses one, two, and three David is praising the Lord because He had heard his cries and rescued him. Verses four through six tell us that God had rescued David from the chains of the enemy. Now, let’s dig in. As you read through these verses keep this question in mind, “does prayer matter?”

Verse 7- “Then the earth shook and trembled.” When God stands to fight for His people even the most solid and immovable things feel the force of His awesome power. Prayer has shaken houses, opened prison doors, and made the hardest of hearts melt. Prayer rings the alarm bells of heaven, and the Master of the house rises to come to the rescue of His people, shaking all things beneath his feet. “The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, because He was angry.” He who set the pillars of the universe in place can make them shake in their holes. The huge roots of the towering mountains are torn up when the Lord rises in anger to defeat the enemies of His people. How will mere man be able to stand against God when the very mountains quake with fear?

Verse 8- “Smoke went up from His nostrils.” To say that smoke went up from His nostrils is an expression used to communicate fierce wrath. Since breath from the nostrils is heated by strong emotion, the figure portrays the Almighty Deliverer as pouring forth smoke in the heat of his wrath. Nothing makes God more angry as an injury inflicted upon His children. The opening of His mouth is enough to destroy His enemies; “and devouring fire from His mouth.” This fire was not temporary, but steady and lasting; “Coals were kindled by it.” The whole passage is intended to depict God's descent to the help of His child, accompanied by an earthquake and storm: at the majesty of His appearing the earth rocks, the clouds gather like smoke, and the lightning as flaming fire devours God’s enemy, setting the world on fire.

Verse 9- In the midst of the terror of the storm Yahweh, the Avenger, descended, causing all of heaven to bow or bend beneath His foot “He bowed the heavens also, and came down.” The thickest gloom concealed his splendor, “with darkness under His feet;” He fought as a warrior in clouds of smoke and dust. Darkness is no hindrance to God; its intense gloom He makes His tent and secret pavilion.

Verse 10- Cherubim are frequently represented as the chariot of God. “And He rode upon a cherub, and flew.” God enlisted nature to be His helper, and even the powers of the air are obedient to His commands: “He flew upon the wings of the wind.” The Lord comes flying when mercy is the task set before Him, but He lingers long when sinners are being wooed to repent. God’s flight to the rescue of His people is majestic and swift like that of the eagle. As the eagle soars in easy splendor with wings outspread, without violent flapping and exertion, so comes the Lord with majesty of omnipotence to the aid His own.

Verse 11- The storm thickened, and the clouds pouring forth torrents of rain combined to form the secret chamber of the invisible but wonder-working God. God hid Himself inside the thickness of the clouds, but David, by faith, knew that He was there; “He made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.” Although we may not see God, by faith, we can know that He is working in secret for our eternal good. It’s easy to see God in the sunshine and the calm, but the wise man and woman can see Him in the midst of the storm.

Verse 12- All at once the artillery of heaven was let loose; the brightness of lightning lit up the clouds as the glory of Him who was hidden in the dark clouds shone forth. Showers of hailstones and coals of fire were thrown upon the enemy. The lightning lit up the clouds and caused them to look as if they were on fire and then hailstones and coals of fire filled with the wrath of God terrified the sons of men.

Verse 13- And then the thunder of the mighty voice of God was heard. “The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered His voice.” There is coming a day when God will render judgment upon the enemy once and for all. Even in the midst of this judgment, just as David found here, the believer will find peace in hearing God’s voice.

Verse 14- The lightnings were shot forth as arrows upon the enemy and “scattered them.” Boastful sinners prove to be great cowards when God Almighty enters the scene and meets them face to face. They despise His words, and “talk big”, but when it comes to hand to hand combat with the All-Powerful creator of the universe, they can’t run away fast enough. The glittering flames, and the fierce bolts of fire “vanquished them”, literally destroyed them. God is never at a loss for weapons. God's arrows never miss their target; in them are sure wrath and everlasting death.

Verse 15- God’s assault was so massive and powerful that the order of nature was changed, and the bottoms of rivers and seas were laid bare. “The channels of sea were seen;” and the depths of the earth were disrupted till “the foundations of the world were uncovered.” Can you see just how powerful God’s wrath is? If “the blast of the breath of Your nostrils,” is so terrible and mighty, can you imagine what the hand of the Lord will do? Just a whisper of the voice of God makes the whole earth quake in fear.

Verse 16- The rescue. The Author is divine, “He sent;” the work is heavenly, “from above;” the deliverance is marvelous, “He drew me out of many waters.” Here David was like another Moses, drawn from the water and saved for a greater purpose. The swiftness of the enemy shall not drown the man whose God sits upon the floods to restrain its fury.

Verse 17- When we have been rescued, we must give Him all praise and glory by confessing our own weakness, and remembering the powers of the conquered enemy. God's power deserves all honor. Our great spiritual adversary is a “strong enemy” indeed, much too strong for poor, weak creatures like ourselves, but we have been delivered from his chains now and forevermore. In our weakness He is strong.

Verse 18- David’s enemy took advantage of his time of oppression and tried to overtake him, but God was his Protector and support; “the Lord was my stay.”

Verse 19- “He also brought me out into a broad place.” David had been confined by the enemy, but now he was free. No longer was he held captive. He now rested in the wide open fields of promise and peace given to him by his Protector. Not only did the Lord defeated David’s enemy, but He lead David into a land of freedom; freedom to be who He had created him to be. As believers in Jesus Christ we possess more than we could ever imagine, a peace without limits and joy beyond measure. “He delivered me, because He delighted in me.” Free grace lies at the foundation. Rest assured, if we go deep enough, sovereign grace is the truth which lies at the bottom of every well of mercy (C.H. Spurgeon). Why God delights in us is a question that has no answer and a mystery even the angels cannot solve; but that He does delight in His beloved child is certain and a promise we can cling to.

See how prayer moves earth and heaven, and raises storms to overthrow in a moment the enemies of God's people. Things were bad for David before he prayed, but they were much worse for his enemies as soon as his petition had gone up to heaven. A trustful heart, by calling upon the divine aid of the Almighty God, turns the tables on its enemies. Prayer moves God and when God moves not only do the mountains quake, the enemy flees.

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
James 4:10

2 Lovely Thoughts Shared:

Peggy said...

Thanks Jenifer! Great insights!

I loved reading your comments with each verse!

Does Prayer matter? Prayer is my life focus! If you have a call to intercession or have learned how vital pray is to keeping your relationship alive with Jesus, or how He sustains everyday, every moment, waiting for you to speak and better yet Listen to His Spirit! The more you pray, the closer He stays! So, when, you really need Him...He doesn't seem so far away!

Love your PRAYER FOCUS for China!
For me, the Olympics being there isn't my focus, but because they are there, perhaps God's spirit will be able to move more freely for people, that have survived as Christians through much persecution! I will pray for China, Jesus' mission and the Christians & missionaries!!!

God bless you and your family, as you press in toward this good endeavor! May the Joshua Project be protected and have a great influence as they spread the GOSPEL! Vaya con Dios! Peggy from Mazatlan, Mexico...

Cheri said...

You have such a beautiful way with words.

I know I need to make prayer a top priority in my life. I know the power of prayer. I know it works. Thanks for the reminder!