I was a senior at Wofford College when I got carried away at a basketball game and made some parents of the opposing team angry–really angry. I tried to leave the game and they cornered me and insisted that we “take it outside.” I knew immediately I was no match for them. Out of the corner of my eye I saw some football players; they knew me well enough to recognize that this wasn’t a friendly conversation. They nodded toward me and I must have pleaded with my eyes. They rushed over.
“Is there a problem here Jerry?” they asked. “They want to take it outside,” I answered, already feeling my confidence grow. “Well, you go on and we will take whatever they want to take outside and take care of it” they answered! I walked off, literally leaving them to handle it. I didn’t even bother to look back.
While I probably deserved what those parents wanted to do to me (I was a pretty rowdy basketball fan), sometimes you have to face down enemies that you didn’t make, situations you didn’t create.
David had to.
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who addressed the words of this song to the LORD on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said:
I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies. (Psalm 18:1-3, ESV)
Saul pursued David because he was jealous, furiously jealous. David did nothing to provoke Saul’s jealousy, nothing to cause Saul to muster his troops and come after him. In Psalm 18 it is as if David feels the need to introduce his enemies to his God. Some of you need to do the same. Now I am convinced that, for most of us, our enemies aren’t real people with skin on. Most of us fight enemies within and the enemy of our soul (Satan) without.
Let me go on record by saying that Satan is furiously jealous of you. If you belong to Christ, Satan thought he had won the battle…til Jesus came out of the grave. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that Satan knows the future. He does not!
For three days he celebrated while the angels wept. But when Jesus came out of the tomb, he winced, he wiggled, he writhed in ego-devastating pain.
And he is insanely jealous of you and will do whatever it takes to take you down, or to make you down and out. Introduce him to your God. Here David uses nine words to describe his God. Let me paraphrase:
My weakness, meet my Strength. My instability, meet my Rock. My vulnerability, meet my Fortress. My addiction, meet my Deliverer. My flesh, meet my God. My insecurity, meet my Refuge. My doubts, meet my Shield. My lostness, meet my Salvation. My strongholds with a little “s”, meet my Stronghold with a big “S.”
My “I can’t” meet my “I will.” I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
Like me in that basketball arena at Wofford, you need to nod toward God. I promise you he can read your fearful face (and your troubled mind too), and He will come. Even if it was your fault.