The power of story to celebrate and communicate God’s goodness

Psalm 18

I sat next to a man I didn’t know at a church lunch. It quickly became apparent that we had a mutual good friend and they had met some ten years earlier.  He told me how it was this friend who introduced him to Jesus at a time in his life when he had an alcohol problem.  Shortly after our friend asked him if he would tell his story about finding faith in Jesus in a church service and he initially agreed.  However, in the week before the service he visited our friend at his home in tears, saying he could not stand up in church as he was still drinking very heavily.  Our friend did what he usually does, he prayed with him for victory over drink.  He then turned to me and said, from that moment he had not touched a drop of drink and he was able to be honest and stand up in front of the church and tell his story.

Psalm 18 is fascinating, it is a narrative psalm, a celebration song, a messianic psalm, a royal psalm and a historical psalm.  It is recorded in 2 Samuel Chp 22 almost word for word as well as in Psalms.  It records David’s eventual deliverance from the hand of Saul in the most dramatic terms.  The Lord’s protection is described in a stream of metaphors, ‘The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer … my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.’ v2  This in response to David’s prayer, ‘In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help.’ v6 

‘He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.’ v17  Doesn’t that sound like victory over addiction?  David then experiences the capacity to walk righteously, ‘I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin.’ v23  The psalm then culminates in praise for God.  ‘The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!  Exalted be God my Saviour!’ v46

God’s deliverance of David was the military victory and spiritual victory of his anointed successor to Saul.  In Christ God has delivered victory over sin and the consequences of sin.  In Samuel the victory was recorded for instruction, in Psalms it was recorded for sung praise.  Contemporary stories of God’s victory over sin both encourage us and induce praise in our times of worship.  ‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.’ Eph2.10

Jesus is mighty to save. 

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