Tuesday, July 15, 2008
But God’s deliverance is a mighty deliverance! God doesn’t come quietly to rescue. God doesn’t slip quietly through the back door. David writes, “Then, the earth shook and quaked, the foundations of heavens were trembling and were shaken...God bowed the heavens and came down with thick darkness under his feet....The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered his voice...the foundations of the world were laid bare” (2 Samuel 22:8, 10, 14, 16). God’s deliverance creates a cosmic earthquake on behalf of “the man after his own heart.” Sent from on high, God draws David out of the many waters of despair and destruction. Even though confronted by powerful forces at work against him, David affirms that “The Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me” (Psalm 18:19).
If only God would shake the heavens like this in our day and return our fortunes! If only God would save in a way that shores up our financial collapses, and transforms our economic hardships! If only God would deliver us in the same way God delivered David!
If this is the way we see God’s rescue, only as a return to the “way things were” or to a renewed sense of comfort and ease, then we have missed the point of the song altogether. God’s rescue shakes our foundations; it creates cosmic earthquakes overturning and upending all the things in which we place our hope apart from God. David tells us that The Lord was his stay. And David would come to need God’s earth-shaking deliverance again and again, as he lost focus and put his trust in security, and comfort, and the things of this world.
Ultimately, salvation does not come from the things God does for David, or for us. Salvation comes in the Lord as our stay and our total support. While worry and anxiety choke us and narrow our focus, reliance upon God brings us to that broad and spacious place David describes as God’s deliverance and rescue. This is not to say that God brings us right back to that specific place that once was--the place of comfort, of ease, or safety. But God opens up new worlds in which we can trust no matter what we are experiencing. As one commentator notes, the psalmists’ chief concern to give thanks to God are not chiefly found in regaining “physical health, or adding more years to life, or by enhancing the life they now enjoy with greater comfort or security. That is a modern conception of life, whose emptiness is eventually disclosed. According to Israel’s way of thinking, life is missed when people do not choose it: ‘See, I have set before you life and death....Therefore, choose life.’ Moreover, the life of ‘the righteous’ is eroded in vitality when death works its power.” the rest-Excellent! image(Scripture verses from 2 Samuel 22:19-20 were given to me at a difficult time in my life and their promise and comfort have been fullfilled many times over...thank you Nancy!-PD)