Psalm 18:30 through Psalm 18:36 (NIV)
30 As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield
for all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the LORD?
And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great.
36 You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn.
A boy's room can be a fearsome place, especially after dark. I recall many nights when I would go into two of my boys' room at night, and it was like walking through a minefield. There would be a shoe left in the middle of the floor to trip over, a Lego waiting to give a sharp pain to the bottom of the foot who found it, a book, a toy; any number of things that would await you in the dark to make it a dangerous, painful passage.
Sometimes, life is like that. Many things can go wrong, and we often feel vulnerable. It is only as we rely on God to see us through that we can have hope of making it. This psalm shows one who is attacked by enemies, finds himself on perilous footing, someone who feels the need of a transcending strength to see him through. There is danger on slippery slopes, and an enemy around every corner. The psalmists sees that if he is going to make it through, it will have to be by the help of one he has found to be up to the task. He can only navigate his night passage successfully with the help of God.
I. We Find Safe Passage Through The Pathway Of Preparation.
A chapter a day keeps Satan at bay.
The Wild Boar and the Fox
A WILD BOAR stood under a tree and rubbed his tusks against the trunk. A Fox passing by asked him why he thus sharpened his tusks when there was no danger threatening from either huntsman or hound. He replied, “I do it advisedly; for it would never do to have to sharpen my weapons just at the time I ought to be using them.”
For this reason, Christians should also rub their spiritual tusks (i.e. praying, Bible reading, going to church, seeking God, etc.) so that their spiritual armor will be sharpened and ready to use at any given notice. Indeed, Satan likes to attack Christians when they are at their weakest.
II. We Find Safe Passage Through The Pathway Of Protection.
A. Where God Shields Us
A Safe Armor
I am told that Emperor Napoleon once went to a very skillful workman, and inquired of him if he could make a bullet-proof jacket or under garment, one that he himself would feel safe to wear as a protection against bullets. The workman assured him he could make just such a garment; one he would feel entirely safe to wear himself. The Emperor engaged him to make the article, requesting him to take time, and see that it was bullet-proof.
The workman took much time and pains in its construction. The jacket was finished, and the Emperor notified that it was ready for him. Napoleon, after carefully examining it, asked the maker if he still felt sure a bullet could not pierce it. The workman said he was sure no bullet could penetrate it; that he himself would feel entirely safe with it on in a shower of bullets. The Emperor asked him to put it on, that he might examine it more fully. The maker put the jacket on himself, that the Emperor might see how finely it fitted and protected the body.
After a careful examination of its make-up and apparent safety, Napoleon stepped back a few feet, and drew his pistol on the man, who cried out:
“Don’t try it on me!”
But the Emperor said:
“You told me it was perfectly safe,” and fired. The armor proved itself bulletproof.
So Christ has made an armor that renders its wearer perfectly safe against all the fiery darts that may be hurled against it. Christ has tried it on. He was led out into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. For forty days and nights, Satan tried to pierce this armor, but broke all his arrows on it. It could not be penetrated. It was thoroughly tested on Christ, that all who put it on might feel safe.
Each soldier of Christ is told, at his start, to “put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” This armor covers the Christian’s loins, his breast, his feet, and is a complete shield to his whole being against any temptation or trial he may encounter. Christ was “tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.”
Let me say, then, to all who feel a little timid about the Christian’s armor, that it has been tested by our “Captain” and thousands of his soldiers, and has never yet been pierced by our enemy’s bullets.
Let us all learn a lesson from this incident of the Emperor, to put on and trust the Christian armor. It has been tested. Trust it in life. Trust it in death. Then you go up, and hear the Master say:
“Well done.”—A. B. Earle, From: “Incidents Used ... In His
Meetings,” published in 1888
B. Where God Sustains Us
One spring a man went on a vacation to Florida. As far as his eye could see, orange trees were loaded with fruit. When he stopped for breakfast, he ordered orange juice with his eggs. “I’m sorry,” said the waitress. “I cannot bring you orange juice. Our machine is broken.” He was speechless. They were surrounded by millions of oranges. He knew they had oranges in the kitchen. Orange slices garnished his plate. What was the problem? No juice in the oranges? Hardly. They were surrounded by thousands of gallons of juice. The problem was they had become dependent on a machine to get it.
Sometimes Christians are like that. They may be surrounded by Bibles in their homes, but if something should happen to the Sunday morning church service, or Sunday School, or the youth group, some of them would have no spiritual nourishment for their souls.
The problem is not the lack of spiritual food. the problem is, many of us haven’t grown enough to know how to get it for oursefves.
· Randy Brantley, “Speaking to Youth” Proclaim, (Nashville: Sunday School Board, Oct.-Dec. 1996) 18
III. We Find Safe Passage Through The Pathway of Perfection.
A. A Perfect Guide
A helicopter was flying toward Seattle when an electrical malfunction disabled all of the aircraft's navigation and communications equipment. Due to the extreme haze that day, the pilot now had no way of determining the course to the airport. All he could make out was a tall building nearby, so he moved closer to it, quickly wrote out a large sign reading "Where am I?" and held it in the chopper's window.
Responding quickly, the people in the building penned a large sign of their own. It read: "You are in a helicopter." The pilot smiled, and within minutes he landed safely at the airport. After they were on the ground, the co-pilot asked how the sign helped him determine their position.
"I knew it had to be the Microsoft building," the pilot replied, "because like any computer company's help staff, they gave me a technically correct but completely useless answer."
- Linda A. Tozer, "Virtual Hilarity," Reader's Digest, (August, 1997) 26
Something Better Ahead
I once saw a drove of sheep looking very tired and weary being hurried on by a shepherd and his dogs, and when they wanted to stop and drink at a brook by the wayside they were not allowed to but driven on. I felt that it was very unkind of that shepherd; but by and by they stopped before a pair of handsome gates and the flocks were turned into beautiful, grass pastures with a clear stream running through them. Then I knew that I had been hasty; that the shepherd had not been unkind but kind in not allowing his sheep to drink from the muddy stream in the road, for he had been saving them and taking them on to something better. So with our heavenly Father, our Shepherd; He is compelled to deny us some times while leading us unto better things.—Moody
B. A Perfect Course
The Right Way, Evil Spoken Of
“You’re just out of date,” said young Pastor Bate to one of our faithful, old preachers who had carried for years, in travail and tears, the Gospel to poor sinful creatures. “You still preach on Hades, and shock cultured ladies, with your barbarous doctrine of blood. You’re so far behind, you will never catch up; you’re a flat tire, stuck in the mud.” For some little while a wee bit of a smile enlightened the old pastor’s face. Being made the butt of ridicule’s cut did not ruffle his sweetness or grace. Then he turned to young Bate, so suave and said, “’Catch up, did you say? Well, I couldn’t succeed if I doubled my speed. My friend, I’m not going your way!”—Christian Victory
Jesus went up into a mountain ... The craggy peaks, the rocky steeps, He intimately knew; The precipice so dangerous, He climbed, and I do too.
He went into a desert place ... The drought, the weary wandering route, The freshets all gone dry, The burning sand, the barren land, He walked, and so must I.
He continued all night ... He knew, as I, the darkening sky, The shadow’s eerie play, The stretching hours, the evil powers, The Spirit’s call to pray.
Why should I fear to follow and obey, when on my path His footprints lead the way