To the Discouraged Or Glib

“Praise the name of Jesus. He’s my rock, he’s my fortress, He’s my deliverer in Him will I trust.”

This simple heartfelt praise chorus is based on Psalm 18. We are told that David wrote this Psalm when God delivered him from all his enemies, most notably Saul. (David gives thanks to God and the writer of the chorus inserts Jesus’ name for God’s.)

I offer a word for the discouraged and a warning to the glib.

Understanding David’s simple Psalm requires placing it in the context of David’s life. We know his story: young shepherd boy elevated from obscurity to fame by the priest Samuel, slayer of the giant Philistine Goliath, invited to serve in Saul’s court, where he is initially welcomed, and then perceived as a threat.

Saul, a complex character probably given to manic depression, intermittently attempted to kill David, always professing regret, begging forgiveness and then plotting David’s murder again.

Though David is described as a “man after Gods own heart” and deeply loved by God, his life was not easy. Having been singled out for a prestigious post in the king’s palace, David is forced into hiding, spending a few years on the run from Saul and his assassins. Threatened by both Saul and Israel’s enemies, David lives nomadically in caves, feigns insanity in front of his adversaries and surrounds himself with “everyone who is in distress, in debt or discontent.”

Through no fault of his own David’s rise to fame is followed by a descent into homelessness. Though he remains faithful to God, from all outward appearances God has abandoned David. There appears to be no reason for hope and no basis for faith. Remember, we read the story knowing its eventual outcome. David lived the story. When he was down and out there was no guarantee he would see a positive outcome and as already mentioned–this condition lasted for years. The positive resolution when it finally did arrive was a long time in coming.

So to the discouraged: do not give up faith in God, your only reliable source of hope.

As to the glib? I think most of us are guilty of singing these sweet little praise choruses without reference to their bloody, dirty, messy origins. This is a chorus you need to earn the right to sing. Until you’ve trusted God in the valley with no hope in sight and over an extended period of time, it is unlikely you can resonate with David, whose bitter experience gave birth to his praise.

“He’s my rock, he’s my fortress, He’s my deliverer in Him will I trust.”

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in January 19, 2006 by | No Comments »

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