November 11 2022
Today, Friday November 11
What Kind of God Do You Have?
“The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, And have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments were before me, And I did not put away His statutes from me. I was also blameless before Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to the cleanness of my hands in His sight. With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; With the pure You will show Yourself pure; And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd. For You will save the humble people, But will bring down haughty looks.”
Psalm 18 is a great song and Psalm of praise and victory! In verses 1-3, David begins this Psalm with an expression of his devotion and love for Jehovah. After expressing his devotion, David described his distress (vv. 4-6). Then in verses 7-19, David described how God delivered him from his distress!
Now in verses 20-27, David wants us to know that God rewards and blesses us when we live a life of integrity and obedience. The word "distress" in verse 6 means "to be in a tight place, in a corner, hemmed in," but when the storm was over, David found himself in "a large place" where he could take "large steps" of faith in serving, the Lord (v. 36).
God enlarged David's trials (25:17) and used them to enlarge David! (4:1). David wasn't perfect. We are not perfect, but we can be like David who was "a man after God's own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14, and see 15:28). David was also a man with a shepherd's heart (Ps. 78:70-72; 2 Sam. 24:17). He genuinely cared for others. God delighted in David the way parents delight in the maturing of their children in character, obedience, and service.
David was faithful to the Lord (vv. 20-24; 17:3-5), so the Lord faithfully cared for David (vv. 25-29). David knew God's law (v. 22) and obeyed it, in spite of the difficult circumstances of his exile. In the spirit of Samuel (1 Sam. 12:3) and Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:3), his affirmation of righteousness was an evidence of humility and honesty, not pride and deception. Notice how often David uses words like righteousness and cleanness (vv. 20, 24), upright (blameless, vv. 23, 25), and pure (v. 26). David had clean hands (vv. 20, 24) as well as skillful hands (v. 34; 78:72).
We also learn from verses 25-27, that the way we relate to the Lord determines how the Lord relates to us (vv. 25-27). David was merciful to Saul, and God was merciful to David (Matt. 5:9). David was loyal ("blameless"), and God was faithful to him and kept His promises to bless him. David wasn't sinless, but he was blameless in his motives. The "pure in heart" (Matt. 5:8) are those whose hearts are wholly dedicated to God.
Saul had been devious in his dealings with God, David and the people, but David was honest and straightforward. It's true that early in his exile, David lied to Ahimelech the priest and to Achish, king of Gath (1 Sam. 21), but he soon learned that faith is living without scheming. Read verse 26 in the New American Standard Bible or the New International Version to see that God meets our "perverseness and crookedness" with His own shrewdness. The word translated "astute" or "shrewd" means "to wrestle," which reminds us of the way God dealt with Jacob (Gen. 32). God's character and covenants never change, but His dealings with us are determined by the condition of our hearts.
As I have read these verses over the years, I have always thought that they told me why God appears to us in different ways. In a sense, we make God into what we are. If you are a merciful and kind person, you will think that God is merciful and kind. If you are pure, you will think that God is pure. If you are a generous and giving person, you will think God is a generous and giving God. But if you are harsh and cold toward others, you will think that God is a harsh and cold God!
What you think of God could be a good way of revealing what kind of person you really are!