A few months back Dave started building a workshop at the back of our property. The first step was to get the foundation level. This was time consuming. He worked for days in the hard ground, breaking it up, adding sand under the concrete pilings, every thing had to be level and on square. If it was out of level the rest of the building wouldn’t come together right.
That’s how it is for us. Our building of life must be on a true foundation. Built square and level.
“Treat me with kindness, Lord, so that I may live and do what you say. 18 Open my mind and let me discover the wonders of your Law.
19 I live here as a stranger. Don’t keep me from knowing your commands. 20 What I want most of all and at all times is to honor your laws.
21 You punish those boastful, worthless nobodies who turn from your command 22 Don’t let them sneer and insult me for following you.
23 I keep thinking about your teachings, Lord, even if rulers plot against me. 24 Your laws are my greatest joy! I follow their advice.” Psalm 119:17-24 CEV
Once again we must remember who wrote this Psalm, David, and what he had experienced in his walk with the Lord. Time and again, David faced adversaries greater in number or stature than he was. He needed to see God’s goodness each day for his survival. When he went to battle against Goliath, the odds were staggering but David was successful in the fight because he depended on the promises of God to bring the battle to a successful end.
I think we often forget that the people in the Bible were “real” people just like you and me. They had families, went out each day to do specific tasks and faced obstacles as great as any of the ones we face. David was underestimated and underappreciated by his family and those around him. They saw a boy who was curious about the battle, they saw a cocky teenager who was overly confident and thought he was bragging when he said he would fight the giant.
Seasoned soldiers were afraid to face down Goliath as he blasphemed God each day. The whole army trembled and here was this “kid” who jumped and said let me go fight him. “I’ll stop him from speaking against our God”. David wasn’t out for his own glory or elevate his family’s standing in the community. He just knew, deep in his heart, that he couldn’t allow this “uncircumcised Philistine” to defy the army of the living God. (I Samuel 17:26)
Now that may seem like an insignificant phrase at first glance but it has great meaning. The Israelites had practiced circumcision since the Lord made a vow or covenant with Abraham hundreds of years earlier. It was a sign that God had made a promise that He would protect and provide for them. He would fight their battles and keep them safe. God promised and that was good enough for David. What he saw when he looked at Goliath was a man who had no promise from God but he did and that gave him the confidence to put his life on the line. God would go with him – he would succeed.
David knew he had a covenant, a contract, with God. That same covenant holds true for us and has even been expanded to greater depth because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Hebrews says we have a great covenant built on better promises!
I pray verses 18 and 19 all the time. Open my eyes to see your wonderful promises. Each time I read the word there are new discoveries that God brings out. It’s so great to read a book and have the author “in residence” to teach me exactly what was meant by what He wrote.
Verse 20 might need a little explanation. When Moses was giving instruction to the Israelites before they went in to the “Promised Land”, he gave them this admonition. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, choose life”. Folks aren’t cursed because God is angry with them or because “fate” wasn’t on their side. There are two sides to the coin – living blessed or living cursed – and we are the ones who get to choose. The proud made a choice; they chose to live dependent in their own intellect and independent of God’s guidance and direction. Just like our friend Goliath, depending on your own strength and knowledge will prove disastrous.
David knew doing things God’s way, following His laws and commands would look foolish to outsiders. Even his own brothers thought he was being arrogant and foolish when he said that he would fight Goliath. People are doing the same today; shaking their heads saying we’re old fashioned, our ideas and stand for godliness is antiquated. But GOD… I will follow God any day – His word has never failed.
Following God’s word, obeying His leading brings us to a place of rest and yes, joy. It feels so good to know that we don’t have to depend on our own efforts but that He is there to protect and provide.
Homework today. I would like you to read Deuteronomy 28 – find out what blessings God has for you to choose and what curses you can avoid. Get to know what God has promised so that in time of battle you know that you have been promised victory.