God in the Psalms No.34 – God who gives victories
Psa 21:1 O LORD, the king rejoices in your strength. How great is his joy in the victories you give!
Victories are all about battles. The battle may be one football team against another, one basketball team against another, one fencer against another but in every case there is a victor and a loser after a battle. Historically, depending where we come from in the world, we can look back to days gone by of great battles in wars. At the present time we look back to the past hundred years and, seeing two wars that engulfed the globe, hope we will never have such things again. Yet David still lived in a time when there were those who sought to fight against him to bring him down. In the face of this he turned to the Lord and the Lord gave him victories, and it was in this he now rejoiced.
Many Christians don’t realize this dimension in their lives. The apostle Paul spoke about this in Ephesians 6 when he started speaking about our ‘armour’. He said, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph 6:12). Yes, this is the truth; we don’t fight a physical battle but a spiritual one. This battle is waged at two levels. First there is the obvious external battle, then there is the internal one.
The external battle is people who, under the enemy’s prompting, come against us. It may be with words, it may be with actions. Whichever it is, it comes as hostility and it’s probably because we are Christians. Hopefully we did nothing to bring it on; we were just targeted by the enemy. It happens. It’s a battle where he seeks to wear us down and bring us down. But there will also be an inward battle going on whereby the enemy tries to make us give up, tries to get us to respond badly, tries to get us to respond using the same ungodly and unrighteous methods that he uses. If he can do that we are no longer representing Jesus. The battle on the Cross was Satan trying to get Jesus to rail out against humanity, to curse us – be he remained sinless, he had the victory!
So how does God give us victory? When temptations come, He shows us a way out (1 Cor 10:13). Sometimes he gives us the wisdom to know how to act in the face of it, the knowledge of what to speak (Acts 7:10), but sometimes that wisdom is just simply to flee the thing (Gen 39:12). In any and every situation God’s grace is there for us (2 Cor 9:8). Grace, that thing that Paul wanted for his readers in every letter he wrote, is simply the divine ability in us to overcome, to handle the situation like Jesus, with the goodness of Jesus or the kindness or gentleness or truth or love of Jesus. These are the things we use to overcome because ours is not a physical battle but a spiritual one.
There was something else that Paul wrote in Eph 6 that is pertinent here: “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then” (v.13,14). Do you see that? Three times he says stand. You see the truth is that we have been given a position to hold, ground to hold onto. Our role in this battle is to hold on to what we’ve been given. What is that? Sonship! We are children of God, temples of the Holy Spirit and therefore holy people. Satan will try to get us to forget that and think and act just any unbeliever. The battle is to hold onto that, and you know what? God is working to give us the victory by His Spirit within and by sovereign acts without! Let’s rejoice in that!