Salvation Comes from God Alone

O Lord, how many are my foes!  Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah  

But you, O Lord, you are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.  I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah

 Psalm 3:1-4 ESV

Have you fought a battle where the odds seem to be against you? Josh fought a war against cancer.  His body was brutally overcome by it, but his soul persevered to glory.  Soon after his death, someone close to my heart told me to stop praying to God since He didn’t keep Josh alive.  “There is no salvation for him in God.”  These were the same mocking words David heard during a desperate time when he needed to be encouraged in his faith.  He would have to find solace from God alone as he poured his raw emotions to the Lord in prayer.

David opens the psalm with an exclamation mark, which should draw us to feel his intense desperation.  We get a picture of him surrounded by enemies on all sides, and the opposition growing steadily.  He insists we take notice of just how many by his repetition of the word.  The fearless leader of an evil rebellion opposing his rightful authority is not from a foreign army but from within his people. The war is not from afar—it hit close to home. It came from his own house. We can verbally hear the mockery from others.  William S. Plumer in his commentary suggests the ones mocking him were David’s supposed friends.  The cruse is not just hurled at his poor soul, but at God himself and His people.  The distress would be insurmountable by human strength.  Pause and think about being in a situation like that…

The words “But you, O Lord” break the silence.  David turns to behold the Lord.  We get a picture of the king of Israel humbly broken to tears, bowed before the Lord who is lifted high above the heavens.  David does not see the Lord as far off but sitting on His glorious throne hearing His child’s cries.  Thus, he was sure of his deliverance.  “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain, that a man could strike his life on it a thousand times.” Martin Luther

I wonder in amazement at David’s confidence.  Especially since the unraveling of his kingdom was at least in part of his own doing, as a consequence of his sin with Beersheba.  His confidence did not come in himself.  His faith was on God alone for his salvation.  It was not based on his own power, but on his position before God.  David heroically trusted hinged on the Lord choosing him to be His anointed.  His position anchors his faith to pray with boldness. “…he trusted God to restore his crumbling life and grant deliverance in the midst of his humbling experience.  Confidently, he claimed that the Lord would lift his head with courage and peace that only God could provide (Ps 9:13).” (Dr. Steve Lawson) If we walk by faith in Christ, we too, can have full confidence that the Lord will lift our head with joy.  He may not deliver us in this life, but ultimate deliverance will one day be won for His people.

Kiss the Son

27770168-7894-4bec-9980-e5124c3243b2“‘I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” Psalm 2:7-12 ESV

A father with his new baby is the sweetest thing to watch. Josh was present at the birth of our youngest son. He cried the minute Nathan entered our world. There was a gleam in his eyes.  If I could read his mind, it would probably be filled with all that he wanted to give his son. The first order of business was to give him a bath. However, Josh would have provided anything for his beloved children. It makes me wonder how much more a Heavenly Father would want to give to His divine Son. Not only is God merely desirous to give His Son whatever He asks, God is also able to grant any request. Josh was just a man plagued with his mortality. Although his heart was to give our son all his love for all his days, he was sadly unable to do so for long.

God the Father is all-powerful and everlasting. His supreme authority points us to the loftiness of His Son—the anticipated Messiah. The Father is capable of giving His Son all the nations of the world for all eternity. Ultimately, redemption from His enemies will be gloriously given to Christ along with the title deed to the earth. “Here he declares that his very enemies are his inheritance. To their face, he declares this decree, and ‘Lo! here,’ cries the Anointed One, as he holds aloft in that once pierced hand the scepter of his power, ‘He hath given me this, not only the right to be a king, but the power to conquer.’” Charles H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David.

Before pride swells up and we, like the Pharisees, think we Jesus comes to right all our wrongs and set our enemies straight, let us remember where we come from, and make sure of where we are heading. Who are Jesus’ enemies that will be dashed to pieces? We are. Without God’s choosing to take us from the kingdom of darkness into His kingdom of light, we are doomed. We are not natural born heirs like Jesus. We first stand as his enemies, deserving death and torment for our rebellion. Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8.) You and I must kiss the Son to be pardoned freely. He has every right to be angry at us.  Even toward us who have been saved if we trample the Son of God and take lightly His blood shed with our persistent sin (Hebrews 10:29.)

Our whole-hearted adoration is the only acceptable response. When we are tempted to abandon ship due to the weight of our problems, may we repent of our unbelief. Let us hold fast to Jesus as our refuge. When life seems full of scars and raging wars, he is our healing resting place. When our circumstances are utterly contrary to our hearts deepest longings, we can look beyond it, to a satisfying reward—Christ himself. All who find Him to be our consolation are promised a blessing in this passage. Friend, I pray we would not harden our hearts, but serve Him with fear and rejoicing.