Psalm 18 is a “testimony” spoken word. In my childhood church, we’d have a midweek service and part of it involved the “brothers and sisters”, los Hermanos y Hermanas, sharing how God had been good. People talked about being healed. Others would share about how they were struggling but that God helped them get through the difficulties. I always admired hearing the stories. It was uplifting and encouraging. If God did it for them, He might just do it for me.
Psalm 18 starts by testifying to WHO God is:
1He said: I love you, LORD, my strength.2The LORD is my solid rock,my fortress, my rescuer.My God is my rock—I take refuge in him!—he’s my shield,my salvation’s strength,my place of safety.
This morning, as I was waking up, I took a moment to prayerfully listen before I got up. The phrase that came to my mind and heart was, “My Grounding Presence”. It turned into a prayer: “Lord, you are my Grounding Presence. Lord, you ground me when things feel uncertain and scary.” For David, God was a rock, a rescuer. For me, God is the Rock that becomes my Grounding Presence in times of uncertainty.
The writer goes on to say:
‘Because he is praiseworthy, I cried out to the LORD , and I was saved from my enemies. In my distress I cried out to the LORD ; I called to my God for help. God heard my voice from his temple; I called to him for help, and my call reached his ears.Psalms 18:3,6
I love how John Goldingay puts it:
The psalm functions to encourage the whole community to turn to Yahweh as one who can be our refuge and fortress…So the psalm can go on to give a testimony to God’s rescue. It gives a dramatic picture of God’s acting. It was so extraordinary that it was as if God had swooped down dramatically from the heavens.Goldingay, John. Psalms for Everyone, Part 1: Psalms 1-72 (Old Testament for Everyone) (p. 57).
We have felt so many threats these last two years: pandemic, school shutdowns, political wars, US vs THEM outbreaks (vax vs unvaxxed, what’s the truth). There seems to be so much uncertainty that causes distress. Who can you trust? What can you trust?
In the midst of it all, I cry out like the Psalmist: “Save us from the enemy of distortion, power grabbing, greed. Save us from ourselves.”
So what do we do in times of uncertainty? We cry out to God and pray to be rescued. We share our distress in hopes that God will act on our behalf according to His will–his loving, gracious, and redemptive will. We turn to our spiritual community and listen to how God is acting on other’s behalf as well, being encouraged that if He does it for them, He’ll do it for us.
Lord, we cry out to you in our distress. Be our grounding presence, our rock and refuge, in our times of trouble. Heal where there is sickness and disease. Restore where this is lack. Provide your peace and rest for the anxious and brokenhearted. According to your loving kindness, hear our prayers and act on our behalf. Amen