COME TO THE RESCUE
Father God, today by your Holy Spirit, enlighten my mind with your truth and fill my heart with your love.
Read PSALM 144
1 Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.
2 He is my loving God and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples[a] under me.
3 Lord, what are human beings that you care for them,
mere mortals that you think of them?
4 They are like a breath;
their days are like a fleeting shadow.
5 Part your heavens, Lord, and come down;
touch the mountains, so that they smoke.
6 Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy;
shoot your arrows and rout them.
7 Reach down your hand from on high;
deliver me and rescue me
from the mighty waters,
from the hands of foreigners
8 whose mouths are full of lies,
whose right hands are deceitful.
9 I will sing a new song to you, my God;
on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
10 to the One who gives victory to kings,
who delivers his servant David.
From the deadly sword 11 deliver me;
rescue me from the hands of foreigners
whose mouths are full of lies,
whose right hands are deceitful.
12 Then our sons in their youth
will be like well-nurtured plants,
and our daughters will be like pillars
carved to adorn a palace.
13 Our barns will be filled
with every kind of provision.
Our sheep will increase by thousands,
by tens of thousands in our fields;
14 our oxen will draw heavy loads.[b]
There will be no breaching of walls,
no going into captivity,
no cry of distress in our streets.
15 Blessed is the people of whom this is true;
blessed is the people whose God is the Lord.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Come, thou almighty King, / help us thy name to sing, / help us to praise! / Father all glorious, / o’er all victorious, / come and reign over us, / Ancient of Days!’1
This psalm may seem familiar, since two thirds of it is made up of verses from much earlier psalms which have been reworked. Repetition, however, doesn’t indicate a lack of originality. Just as small children enjoy hearing things over again (‘Read it again!’), repetition reinforces our learning. David starts his meditation by rehearsing six characteristics of God (vs 1,2) – and this is not just any God, he says this is my God! There’s a big difference between knowing God and knowing about God. Spend a few minutes focusing on those six aspects of God’s character. How have you experienced God in those ways?
Here David was again under threat from his enemies (v 11). His request to God was clear, ‘Part your heavens, Lord, and come down’ (v 5) – that’s all! That captures how we so often feel when we’re in desperate straits. We know that God is close by, as though hidden by but a thin veil,2 and we want him to act now. David was clear what God could do and he asked him to do it. He didn’t ignore his previous difficulties but built on them. How do our previous experiences build our present faith? ‘Past mercies do not breed a “leave it to the Lord” complacency but a “take it to the Lord” urgency.’3
David’s past experience of God’s faithfulness built a robust hope for the future. This would be no skin-of-the-teeth escape. It would lead to a new era of prosperity (v 13) and security (v 14). What could be a more appropriate response from God’s people than a new song of praise (vs 9,10)? Our blessing is not rooted in our skill, or opportunities, or good fortune but in our God (v 15).
Are you facing any big challenges just now – personally, in your church or in your nation? How has your past experience with God prepared you for this time?
Gracious Lord, through all the ups and downs of life, your Word promises you will never leave me or forsake me. How great and loving you are.
1 Attributed to Charles Wesley, 1707–88 2 E.g. Acts 7:55,56 3 JA Motyer, New Bible Commentary, IVP, 1994, p580
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