You cannot submit to evil without allowing evil to grow. Each time the good are defeated, or each time they yield, they only cause the forces of evil to grow stronger. Greed feeds greed, and crime grows with success. Our giving up what is ours merely to escape trouble would only create the greater trouble for someone else.”
–Louis L’Amour (A Man Called Noon)
“This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: there is one fate for everyone. In addition, the hearts of people are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live—after that they go to the dead.”
–Ecclesiastes 9:3 (HCSB)
Let me ask a question before we look at today’s Psalm. What does the Lord mean to you/me now compared to ten years ago? Through his life David had come to know the Lord personally in many ways. How well do you know Him? We should know Him in our weakness and we should know Him in our strength. We should see Him as Creator and the Almighty God, but also as the true Friend that sticks closer than a brother. Robert Grant put it this way:
“Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In thee do we trust, nor find thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Make, Defender, Redeemer and Friend.”
Here is another thought. Imagine, if you can, some of your ancestors. How good was God to them? Some of them you may know, but what about a generation earlier or further back? Were they scoundrels or followers of the Lord? Now, back to the present; would your children and grandchildren rejoice in how you know the Lord? Can they see, do they know how good He has been to you?
1 I love You, Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies.
4 The ropes of death were wrapped around me; the torrents of destruction terrified me.
5 The ropes of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.
6 I called to the Lord in my distress, and I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry to Him reached His ears.
Back in the silent era of movies there was a move called “The Perils of Pauline.” Poor Pauline, she is a beauty, but she is always being chased by a dastardly man who captures her and ties her up. Maybe you would do better thinking of the cartoon, “Dudley Do-Right” who is there to untie the fair maiden before death comes to her. This is the situation David writes about.
He knows where he is safe, but he ventures a way and is “roped” and hog-tied. Death, destruction, Sheol (Hell) were wrapped around him; there was no escape. The RSV puts verse 4 this way, “the torrents of perdition.” Perdition, here, means Belial. The sons of Belial were local, violent, evil-minded gangster types who were willing to assault or murder for kicks or for cash. David had a rope around his neck and was being pulled to the depths by these thugs. But then… He cried out to the Lord and his cry reached the Lord’s ears. It wasn’t Dudley Do-Right to the rescue, but the Lord God Almighty.
This is a dangerous world in which we live. There is danger all around us, much of which we ignore or don’t think about (such as driving on a freeway). Physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual dangers are there. However, we have security in the dangerous world. Look at the following thoughts from George A.F. Knight.
1) The Lord is my strength–He enables me to live a live of love to others in my turn.
2) God is my Rock.
3) A fortress was a place where one regained one’s breath and initiative to continue on as a soldier should. (Remember, David was a soldier, a warrior).
4) His Deliver had saved him from enemies in the past and that gave him peace.
5) Notice: “My God”, this is no human savior.
6) Rock, another term, a cleft, a place to take refuge.
7) A shield that provided full bodily protection.
8) David knows what it is to grasp hold of the altar–there is safety there.
9) The stronghold was a giant fortress on top of a mountain or precipice.
David had a good grasp of who the Lord was. He had seen Him in action before. He took comfort and sought solace in the Rock of his salvation, and received deliverance and peace.
This day in the Texas Revolution: Houston arrives in Gonzales, takes command and begins his retreat. This precipitates the Runaway Scrape. Houston orders Fannin to fall back from Goliad.