God Is Mighty And Is Able To Rescue Us Out Of Difficulty
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
Sometimes when we read scripture, it can convict us, comfort us, instruct us, and even confuse us. God is able to use even the simplest of things to bring about understanding and growth in our lives if we are open to His leading. In this passage, God has given us six simple, yet powerful, things to think about when we are in distress.
Our help does not come from man, but from God. We don’t trust in horses or chariots, but we trust in the name (character) of our God. God’s rightful place is above us, in Heaven. Even here on Earth, the desired position of living is on high. People build their estates in high areas, where they are (somewhat) protected and can survey the areas around their domicile’s dominion.
Jesus, in providing a prayer to His disciples on how to have a more powerful prayer life, starts the prayer out like this:
This, then, is how you should pray:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name…”
The very first thing that Jesus acknowledges is that God is our Father. He then acknowledges the position that the Father has in our lives. He then acknowledges the character of the Father. Just behind relationship is where God is located. Our help comes from above, as does every good giving and every perfect gift. We need to always remember our position with God, and that God is on high, in His rightful place of leadership and authority over all that He has created.
Matthew Henry, a great man of God, had this to say about the deep waters of our distress in his commentary:
The greater the difficulties are that lie in the way of deliverance the more glorious the deliverance is. For the rescuing of David, the waters were to be divided till the very channels were seen; the earth was to be cloven till the very foundations of it were discovered, Psalm 18:15. There were waters deep and many, waters out of which he was to be drawn (Psalm 18:16), as Moses, who had his name from being drawn out of the water literally, as David was figuratively. His enemies were strong, and they hated him; had he been left to himself, they would have been too strong for him, Psalm 18:17. And they were too quick for him; for they prevented him in the day of his calamity, Psalm 18:18. But, in the midst of his troubles, the Lord was his stay, so that he did not sink. Note, God will not only deliver his people out of their troubles in due time, but he will sustain them and bear them up under their troubles in the mean time.
One of the aspects of God that we fail to grasp in our time of emotional distress under fire from the enemy is that God is Omnipotent. God, by His very nature, is all-powerful. Regardless of the power and strength of our enemies, God is the one who has sovereignly provided them with what little strength they do have. And while our enemy’s strength may seem considerable and formidable, it is The Lord God Almighty who has the final say in what our enemies can and cannot do to us and among us:
6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
As we see from the life of Job, the enemy can do nothing without the express prior knowledge AND approval from The Lord God Almighty. If we keep that in mind, we might be able to better respond to the attacks of our enemies.
Mankind is always in an arms race. We develop new weapons to threaten, protect, and to intimidate our enemies, and sometimes even our own people. And because of the fall of Adam, we have the curse of sin upon our lives. And what is worse, because of the freedom God has given us as His image-bearers through free will, as well as the aspect of creativity (after all, God DID create everything…), we have perverted that which God has intended for good, and we even now invent new ways to sin.
But we can take heart! For the Lord our God is our superior support. We don’t need to fear anymore. The God of Heaven and Earth is for us, to work out all things to good, so who can be against us? Since no weapon formed against us shall prosper, we can take comfort in knowing that it is the Lord who will deliver us by supporting us through our trials.
God does more than just deliver us through our trials. He places us where He wants us both before, during, and after He delivers us:
- God placed Moses where He wanted him
- He placed him in the Pharaoh’s daughter’s arms
- He placed him in the arms of his mother to be raised
- He placed him in charge of his people in Egypt
- He placed him in at the side of Jesus at the mount of transfiguration
- God placed Joseph where He wanted him
- He placed him in the hands of slave traders to keep his brothers from killing him
- He placed him in the house of Potiphar to prosper his master
- He placed him in jail to talk to the cup-bearer and the bread maker
- He placed him second in command of all the known world to deliver it from famine
- He placed him in a position to be reunited with his family
- God placed Daniel where He wanted him
- He placed him with the right person to honor God with the food he ate
- He placed him in a position of authority to speak to the rulers of the known world, one whom who later gave glory and honor to God
- He placed him in a place where he could prophesy about what was to come
In all things, when we are willing (and sometimes when we are not), God will place us where He wants us to be. And when we are delivered from our enemies, God will often place us somewhere other than where we started so that we can be used more effectively by Him for His purposes in His timing for His glory.
David, the author of this Psalm, recognizes something important that each of us should recognize and acknowledge – God delights in us. He loves us with an everlasting love. He created each of us to be a blessing to one another and a blessing to Him. He loves us with an everlasting love, and the only reason He delivers us is because He delights in us.
Don’t listen to the enemy, whether it is men (or women) belittling you, or Satan trying to rob you of your joy of the Lord (which is your strength). God delights in YOU. He delights in delivering you out of your troubles so that you will remember just how much He delights in you. And as we take time to honor, glorify, and worship Almighty God, remember that even when you fail, even when you are outnumbered and all seems lost, even (and especially!) when God is doing the opposite of what you would expect of Him in your life, God’s underlying view of you is of a Father who absolutely adores and delights in the child He created. It is for this reason:
…he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: When I am in difficulty, who or what do I rely upon to be rescued?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, I know that You delight in me. Rescue me out of my troubles. Walk with me through my trials. Grant me strength to continue on when I have lost even the ability to desire to go on. Lift me up, and carry me through my pain and sorrow. Vanquish my enemies who attack me for no reason, and have mercy upon them, Father, for they know not what they do. Guard my heart until the day of my ultimate redemption when Your Son, Jesus Christ, appears in the sky and gathers His people to Him, with the dead rising first, and we who are still alive joining Him in His triumphal appearance. Father, please remember my loved ones who do not know You. Send kind, loving disciples to them, and I pray that the soil of their hearts would be plowed and ready for Your seeds to grow deep roots and bear much fruit for You when they won’t listen to me. This I ask in the name of Your Most Precious Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.