The single most characteristic thing about David is his relationship to God. David believes in God, thinks about God, imagines God, addresses God, and prays to God. He also forgets God, disobeys God, sins against God, and ignore God. But God is the reality that accounts for and defines all that David does and says. The largest part of David’s existence is not David, it is God.
The evidence for David’s pervasive, saturated awareness of God is in his profusion of metaphor: rock, fortress, deliverer, refuge, shield, horn of salvation, stronghold, saviour. David is immersed in God. Every visibility reveals an invisibility. David names God by metaphor. Metaphor is the witness of language that is comprehensive interconnectedness to life invisible and visible, that is “heaven and earth”. Everything seen and heard, tasted, touched, and experienced, if only followed far enough and deeply enough, brings us into the presence of God. Even rocks. Rock is the lead-off metaphor as this prayer begins. It is frequent in David’s praying vocabulary, arguably his favourite metaphor for God (it will occur five more times in this prayer). But a rock is the farthest thing possible from God. Is there anything lower on the scale of creation than rock? Yet the extreme unlikeness provokes in David an awareness of likeness. David notices what is everywhere around him, and the more he notices, the more he notices God. David is a poet, a theological poet – a God noticer, a God namer of the best kind, noticing and naming God in the immediacy of revelation and experience.
And virtually everything David notices and names about God, he prays. Nothing in or about God is left on the shelf to be considered at a later time and brought up for discussion when there is leisure for it. God is personal and present and requires responses. The first person pronouns “my” and “I” are spoken twenty one times in this opening salvo of prayer. There is not much that David knows of God that he does not pray.
David prays. David prays the metaphors, prays the experience, prays the revelation. Everything that happens to him becomes, through prayer, God’s salvation within him.
David sang the words of this song to the Lord. He sang them when the Lord saved him from the powerful hand of all of his enemies and of Saul. 2 He said,
“The Lord is my rock and my fort. He is the One who saves me.
3 My God is my rock. I go to him for safety.
He is like a shield to me. He’s the power that saves me.
He’s my place of safety. I go to him for help. He’s my Savior.
He saves me from those who want to hurt me.
4 I call out to the Lord. He is worthy of praise.
He saves me from my enemies.
5 “The waves of death were all around me.
A destroying flood swept over me.
6 The ropes of the grave were tight around me.
Death set its trap in front of me.
7 When I was in trouble I called out to the Lord.
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice.
My cry for help reached his ears.
That’s what I am doing, and will be doing, what else is more effective and powerful and anchoring, knowing that our God is our Rock!! We long to live a life that is God-affirming and God-affirmed, large and expansive, what Jesus named as having “life … abundantly” and what Apostle Paul calls the “immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe.” If we are not obeying, adoring, and believing, we miss out on most what is right before our eyes. Ignoring or denying Him does not, first of all, makes us bad; it makes us small – puny and stringy, like the sculptures one gave to the 20th century to show what a century of secularizing godlessness has done to men and women.
The Holy Spirit who gives exposition to the life of Jesus through the shifting conditions of the centuries of the church’s life, is always at work in conditions. It is not that the conditions limit the Spirit’s work; rather, our Lord the Spirit choose to work within the limits. By working within these limits, the Spirit does not baptise the conditions. There are virtually no conditions that preclude the Spirit’s work, and the Spirit never works apart from the conditions. God uses any conditions at hand in the making of the Kingdom, and that includes David stamping down his enemies “like the mire of the streets”!! (Eugene Petersen, Westminster Bible Companion Series)
Lord, may our lives be opened to Your powerful hands to work in, in whatever circumstances and conditions, may the Spirit of God breathes in us, to us, through us. Give us strength to endure what comes our ways. I pray, in the powerful name of Your Son Jesus. Amen.