Book 1 – Psalm 18 of 41: Jesus, Lover of our souls

What a powerful start to Psalm 18: “I love you”. These are the words of the Shulammite woman to Solomon – “I love you, my sweet, my tender, my Bridegroom, my Husband”. Such words of affection seem to no longer belong in the church. What shame, what sorrow, that today we have descended to mere discussion of distant and calculative theology, to debates over Christian morality and ethics, when we do not do so on the basis of that love which Jesus had for Mary and Martha (John 11), that love which transcends all understanding, that love in which Jesus would weep for us. Can we say “I love you”, without being entangled by the chains of methodical Christianity, but to dance like a madman before Him?

Let us look to Him as our rock, our fortress, our deliverer (v.2), Jesus the Rock of Ages; let us look to the cords between the Father and the Son (Psalm 2) and let that cord destroy the cords of unrighteousness, the chains of injustice (c.f. Isaiah 58), the cords of death, the cords of Sheol (v.4-5) – let us not rely on our strength to destroy these bonds but by petitioner and spiritual healing turn to LORD in our distress (v.6). He is not a LORD to be browbeaten, but the same LORD who can breathe fire from his mouth, more fearsome than the Leviathan and the beast of Job. How dare we compartmentalise Him and control Him as some inanimate object of worship – He is the Living God, He is the One who engages us and loves us in the midst of our sin and formula! He is the One who must first descend to exalt us before we can ascend to meet Him face to face (v.10-15), He is the Judge and Redeemer, He promotes Justice and Mercy (v.18-19; v.25-26) – all are at His behest but all is laid down in His love for us so that we may love Him (v.1). I am but weak and frail, yet He dealt with me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands (v.20-24). How am I righteous but in Christ Jesus, my Rock, the Father’s right hand, the word of the LORD Who proves true (v.30-31, 35)? Are you terrifying to me because of my sins, or lovely because I am humble (v.27)? It is only by You that I have the strength to do all things (Philippians 4:13), it is only by Your Light that I can walk in the darkness without fear (v.28). Make our feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights that I may ascend by You alone (v.33), that I may fight in spiritual warfare with Your armoury (v.34-35; c.f. Ephesians 6).

Let us therefore claim His power and victory that we can presently pursue our enemies and overtake them (v.37), thrust them through that they are not able to rise (v.38), sink them (v.39) and destroy them (v.40) that their cries are not built on faith but on desperation to be restored just so they can return to their wicked ways (v.41). So David, the author of this chapter, proclaims the LORD as the One who established David’s headship over Israel and neighbouring nations (chapter 43-45). Is this not the same as Jesus, the King of kings, who was and is the King of all nations in this world with people of all kinds losing heart in their own plans and ways to submit to the One who will straighten our paths if we acknowledge Him in all our ways (Proverbs 3:5-6)?

I love you God, I sing praises to Jesus, your Name (v.49). So David ends this chapter, recognising that he is but a shadow of the Father bringing salvation to Christ, showing steadfast love to the Anointed Messiah, as well as to David himself and to his offspring (Genesis 3:15) forever.

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Book 1 – Psalm 18 of 41: Jesus, Lover of our souls

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