Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Love For God

Psalm 18:1-24

“To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said, I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.” (Psalm 18:1)

This Psalm was written soon after David became King, rejoicing in the way the Lord had protected him.  He committed to loving God.  One thing the world often forgets is that love is a choice, not a feeling, although it produces powerful feelings.  

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.  I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” (Psalm 18:2-3)

David is describing his relationship with the Lord.  God is everything to him and deserves all the praise and glory for everything that had happened in David’s life.  David knows he will be saved as a result of God’s actions.  Once again we look at Titus 3:5-7.  “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  Our salvation and our victory is all the result of what God has done.

“The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.  The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.  In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.  Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.” (Psalm 18:4-7)

There had been times when David’s death was only a few seconds away, such as the time when he was hiding in the cave and Saul went into the same cave to take a nap, or David was on one side of the hill and Saul and his army were on the other side following them.  David prayed and God intervened, forcing Saul to go fight the Philistines and giving David respite. 

“There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.  He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.  And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.  He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.

At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.  The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.  Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.  Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

“He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.  He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.  They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.  He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:8-19)

David starts by describing, in fanciful terms, God’s reaction to the attacks on him.  It was like somebody had attacked a fire breathing dragon’s baby.  God got really upset and came rushing to his rescue, but this was God and not a dragon.  He sent out lightning and thunder, and a flood of water so there was no place for the enemies to hide.  Despite their efforts to destroy David, God rescued him, protecting him from every attack and protecting him from the flood that destroyed his enemies, giving him a great deal of freedom, simply because he was pleased with David. 

David had made a commitment to love the Lord.  As I stated earlier, love is not just a feeling, but a choice.    I John 4:19 tells us, “We love him, because he first loved us.”    Even at its best human love is self-centered, focusing on what we get from the relationship.  God’s love is totally altruistic, loving us even when we don’t show love in return.   Romans 5:7-8 contrasts our love with God’s.   “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.   But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”     Because he was aware of what God had done for him. David loved God, making the effort to please him. 

“The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he 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 upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.  Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.” (Psalm 18:20-24)

In John, 14:23-24, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.   He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.”  If we love the Lord, we will make changes in our lives, obeying him.    The biggest changes will be in our attitude as I Peter 1:5-9 states. 

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 2pe 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” (I Peter 1:5-9)

A person whose attitude doesn’t change has either never known or has forgotten what Christ has done for them.  If we are to maintain that proper love for Christ, it crucial that we be reminded of what Christ has done for us.  Like the church at Ephesus, as Revelation 2:1-5 describes, we can become so caught up in what we are doing for him we forget what he has done for us and leave that first love.  It is probably the biggest reason people turn away from the Lord.  

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