Daily Archives: June 6, 2012

In My (spiritual) Distress

Psalm 18

What a glory this Psalm is! Consider verse 6

In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.

The Psalmist is in distress and he calls upon God to help him. We do not know exactly what the distress is although there are hints in verses 17, 39, 43. He has real people who really oppose him and his life is really physically threatened. But do we need to have the same type of calamity to have this Psalm relate to us?

Paul tells us that the Christian warfare is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12) and that our weapons are not physical (II Corinthians 10:4). Allow this Psalm to be talking about the temptations that assault us on a daily basis for it certainly applies to such things.

Verse 6 reads “In my distress I called upon the Lord”. This could indeed be a spiritual stress brought on in a spiritual battle and which will be won with spiritual weaponry. The writer of this Psalm calls out to God for help in his distress. When tempted we pray for help and power and victory.

After he prays the author says “From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears”. In other words, God heard his prayer and came to answer him. We are tempted and we call out to God for help and He hears and comes to answer us. Now note very carefully what is said about God in verses 7-15 of this Psalm.

Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
[8] Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
[9] He bowed the heavens and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
[10] He rode on a cherub and flew;
he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
[11] He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
thick clouds dark with water.
[12]  Out of the brightness before him
hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
[13] The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
and the Most High uttered his voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
[14]  And he sent out his arrows and scattered them;
he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
[15] Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at your rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.

In answer to His beloved child’s prayer for help against his enemy God rocks the earth, shakes the mountains, because He is angry. He is angry that His greatly loved child has been attacked by a foe. He leaves heaven and comes to his defense (v.9). He comes swiftly (v. 10). He rains down hail and coals of fire (v. 12) He comes thunderously. God is enraged against His child’s foes.

We are tempted. The temptation causes us great distress and in our distress we call upon God to rescue us. And God, who hates sin and all that it has done and continues to do, rends the heavens and comes to the rescue of His child. He thunders against the sin that seeks to steal his child away. He rains down hail and coals of fire. God is furious.

Now go to verses 16-19

[16] He sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.
[17] He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
[18]  They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
[19] He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

The reason God comes down is to rescue from the foe and that is what He does. He draws us up out of the water (V.16). He rescues us from the temptation because the temptation was too strong for us (V.17). He supports us even while the temptation rages (v.18). He does all this because He delights in us (v. 19).

Words cannot express what such truth does for the believer’s heart. What is your story with the temptations that come at you? Call out to God in your distress and turn to this text and see there that God is enraged against the things that invite you to forsake Him. He will lift you up. He will rescue you. He will support you. He will bring you out to a safe place. And He will do all that because dear child of God – He delights in you. He delights in you for the sake of the glory of His name. He delights in you for the glory of His Son. He delights in you because He loves you. Sin shall not be your master. You have a Master who uses His power for your protection.

1 Cor. 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Cor. 3:16-17 – Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  [17] If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

What a great incentive to resist temptation. What a wonder that God views me as one for whom He will shake the mountains and rain down coals of fire to protect. This is our God.