Sunday, April 1, 2018

Against All Odds

By you I can crush a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God—his way is perfect; the promise of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
For who is God except the Lord? And who is a rock besides our God?—the God who girded me with strength, and made my way safe.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer, and set me secure on the heights.
He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand has supported me; your help has made me great.
You gave me a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.
I pursued my enemies and overtook them; and did not turn back until they were consumed.
I struck them down, so that they were not able to rise; they fell under my feet.
For you girded me with strength for the battle; you made my assailants sink under me.
You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed.
They cried for help, but there was no one to save them; they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
I beat them fine, like dust before the wind; I cast them out like the mire of the streets.
 
—Psalm 18:29-42

This passage from the psalter falls this year on Easter Sunday. So I am led to think of it in the context of the Resurrection. And what better example of the victory of God against all odds (such as the one recounted above) do we have than Christ's victory over death?

When I view Psalm 18 theologically, I cannot concentrate on the battle itself, but on the trust I must place in God when in dire straits. In his commentary on this passage, John Calvin said that "we will never have any nearness to God, unless he first come near to us by his word." And so, when I am led to despair because the odds are against me, I am assured that I can yet rest in God, and God's will will be done.

Draw near to me, O God, not only in the difficulties of life, but even in the extremity of death, that in life and in death, I may rest in you to whom I belong. Amen.

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