Psalm 18:30 This God—his way is perfect; the promise of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all who take refuge in him. 31 For who is God except the Lord? And who is a rock besides our God?— 32 the God who girded me with strength, and made my way safe. 33 He made my feet like the feet of a deer, and set me secure on the heights. 34 He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35 You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand has supported me; your help has made me great. 36 You gave me a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.
This is a psalm written by King David, honoring God for his faithfulness in battle. To “take refuge” in the Lord (v.30) is to follow his commands and ordinances – which create for us important boundaries for life. Below is a note I found in one of my bible resources:
“We are taught to recognize the moral rectitude of our God and deliberately to put ourselves in the way of blessing by doing that which pleases him. This is not salvation by works, for David is already the Lord’s, but blessing through obedience, which is still the position of the redeemed.”
This is a powerful reminder for me this morning. Often times we Christians tend to ignore or dismiss the commands and ordinances of God as if they are no longer applicable after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Yes, we are claimed as children of God as an act of grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not through works of the law. However, Jesus himself warned against de-valuing the law:
Matthew 5:17 Jesus said “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Note Jesus does not suggest in v.19 that one who breaks the commandments will be excluded from the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is available by Jesus’ actions alone, not our own. However, when we “break” the commandments we are “least” in the Kingdom. In other words, violating the commands and ordinances of God (what we call “sin”) makes much of the power of the Kingdom of God unavailable to us. Sin puts distance between us and a holy God. When we are distant from God we cannot hear him speaking and giving us direction. We cannot hear the Lord call us beloved. We cannot discern his guidance or wisdom for life. We do not hear his words of forgiveness and mercy.
When we violate God’s commandments we are declaring independence from God. We are choosing to live as orphans, who have no heavenly Father.
This poses some important questions for us this morning:
(1) In what specific areas of life do we need the Lord to act today?
(2) Where in life are we choosing to ignore or violate the ways of God?
(3) What would it look like for us to bring our lives more closely into alignment with the Kingdom?
(4) What would it look like to see God’s Kingdom come in the situation we just named?
Heavenly Father, we tend to be a rebellious people going our own ways rather than following after you. We ask this morning that you would give us grace to surrender to your will and your ways – which give life. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.