549: The Problem is We Make Our God Too Small
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The Problem is Not the Growing Darkness…
As we shared last time, the problem today in our culture is not the increasing darkness, but the ever-diminishing light that is found in believers. And this seems to be a problem that has stalked believers since the beginning of time, both in the Old and New Testament.
It’s not that our enemy is too big, but that our God is too small. And we make Him that way through our doubt, fear, insecurity, and lack of faith. So how can that change? Simple, we just have to see God for who He is and not who we think He is after we’ve stuffed Him in a box of our own understanding and left Him there. And we allow our lack of faith to do that all the time.
Today we are going to look at David in Psalm 18, just the first 3 verses, and see how David encouraged himself in the reality of who God is and not who our culture wants us to believe He is, which is impotent, distant, not caring, and apathetic to the cries of His children. And nothing could be further from the truth.
If you will note, Psalm 18 is also repeated in 2 Samuel 22, written at the close of David’s life, with just a few differences. So let’s look at the first three verses combined from Psalm 18 and 2 Samuel 22 in order to see exactly what David said. But first, notice how the Psalm begins.
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD (not king of Israel), who spoke to the LORD the words of this song (when) on the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said:
Now we’ll look at Psalm 18:1-3 and 2 Samuel 22:2-4 combined.
(PS) I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, (2 Sam) the God of my strength, (PS) in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold (2 Sam) and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence. (PS) I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.
But this is only reading these words on the surface. There is more to discover when we dig a little deeper.
…But the Diminishing Light in Believers
Let’s see if we can understand what David is saying by looking into the specific words he used. Maybe there is some hidden revelation of God found in these Hebrew phrases.
O Lord (yehōwāh – the proper name of the God of Israel, particularly the name by which He revealed Himself to Moses. The “I AM THAT I AM,” the Ever Present One)
my strength (ḥēzeq – used only once in the Old Testament, means to fortify, be strong and courageous, to make firm and steadfast)
my rock (selaʿ – stronghold, cliff, stone)
my fortress (meṣûḏāh – a fortified defensive structure, a place of hiding in the wilderness)
and my deliverer (pālaṯ – one who delivers others from pain, suffering, hardship, death, to bring to safety, to help escape, to rescue, to save)
the God of my strength (ṣûrʿ – refers to a large rock, a boulder, cliff, or rock wall, a mountain),
in whom I will trust (ḥāsāh – to take / seek refuge, seeking the shade of a tree, to find a safe location);
my shield (māg̱ēn – a defensive piece of armor used to block blows or other forms of attack, means protection, or the scales of a crocodile)
and the horn (qarnayim – represents strength and power, like that of an animal)
of my salvation (yeša – the act of deliverance, to rescue from harm and deliver to safety, liberty),
my stronghold (miśgāḇ – a strongly fortified military structure, a place naturally fortified and secure, a high hill or cliff, rock, a high tower)
and my refuge (mānôs – place of escape, flight, a shelter from danger or hardship, a retreat);
my Savior (mô·šîaʿ – one who delivers and rescues from danger to a point of safety),
You save (yāšaʿ – to save or deliver from ruin, destruction, or harm) me from violence (ḥāmās – implies cruelty, damage, a wrong, and injustice).
I will call (q̣ārāʾ – summon, invite, declare, invoke) upon the Lord (yehōwāh – the proper name of the God of Israel, particularly the name by which He revealed Himself to Moses. The “I AM THAT I AM,” the Ever-Present One),
[who is worthy] to be praised (hālal – to be extolled of the greatness of His works, to commend, shine, shout, exclaim Hallelujah);
so shall I be saved (yāšaʿʾ – to save or deliver from ruin, destruction, or harm)
from my enemies (ʾōyēḇ – all kinds of enemies, personal, national, or an enemy of God, foe, adversary, to be hostile to).
Did you get that? And do you feel better? I sure do. But there is so much more to discover from these three small passages is Psalm. So keep listening as we learn to see God for who He is and not who we think He is.