Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils. He reached down from on high, he took me; he drew me out of mighty waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity; but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his ordinances were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me. I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from guilt. Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. Psalm 18:15-24
Again we hear the impassioned plea of the psalmist for the deliverance from his enemies, from those who hated him, from those before whom he was powerless.
He says that his enemies “confronted him in the day of his calamity” but the “Lord was his support.” We can count on both sides of that sentence.
There will always be much in life against which we stand powerless, frustrated with, confounded by. The troubled or sick child, the job offer that isn’t coming quickly enough, the disease that threatens to take a life too young, the culture that doesn’t work the way we want it to. Don’t we always have at least something ringing in our ears, some subtle voice threatening gloom and doom, some real life challenge that we have no choice but to face?
And isn’t it the case that those “enemies”, those things that feel like they are stealing the joy of our lives, always seem to gang up on us? Just when we think it couldn’t get worse, we realize it can. When one trouble comes in the door, another sneaks in the window. I know that is how life often feels for me.
Yet, says the psalmist, and yet do I cling, to the good news that “The Lord is my support.” God is bigger than anything that would trouble us. God is stronger than anything that would assail us. God, at the end of the day, always gets the last word. God holds the trump cards of the cosmos. And this God, says the psalmist, “delivered me, because he delighted in me.”
Isn’t that a beautiful thought? That God delights in us.
But then the psalmist and I have to part ways. In the next passage, he attributes God’s deliverance to the psalmist’s own righteousness, cleanliness, and blamelessness. I can’t go there. If my deliverance is conditional upon my own righteousness, cleanliness, and blamelessness then I am sunk. Because I just don’t have enough, and will never have enough, of any of that stuff in me.
But here is what I can do, and so can you – we can trust that God takes delight in us, regardless of how delightless we are. We can do the next right thing in our life. We can take one moment at a time, doing only what we can in that moment, to do what we can with what we have. And we can trust that to be enough.
Let us pray: Gracious Lord, it is a beautiful thing to hear that you take delight in us. A beautiful thing to know that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that you come and dwell within and among us. May our identity in you, and your presence in us, see us through the calamities which threaten us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.