(Today, I would like to feature a new friend of mine, Pastor Mark. He’s Interim Association Pastor of North Shore Assembly of God in Skokie. He was kind enough to write his reflection of PEACE. It is much more than a personal definition! Well thought out, and heartfelt. Thanks so much, Pastor Mark. Peace be with you and your family. #PursuePEACE)
Psalm 18 records a difficult time in David’s life. It also records God’s provision of peace in the midst of a life-storm. In verses four and five David describes his crisis with such vivid imagery. He writes,
The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me;
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
The picture is clear – David was suffocating from the stresses of life. The physical, emotional, and spiritual attack was so smothering that he could barely breath. It was as though he were caught in a rip tide and every time he came up for a gasp of air, the undertow pulled him back under for another beating. He was tethered to death and gasping for life. However, the shepherd boy turned king knew where to turn, or better, WHO to turn to for help. In verse 6 one reads,
“In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
Have you have uttered a prayer like that before? I certainly have. So as David cried and called out to God for help, something amazing happened. First, God heard him. Verse six continues, “From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” Secondly, we’re told that God responded by pulling him out. The psalmist recounts,
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support (16-18).
Our Heavenly Father heard and responded to David’s plea for help. Notice the verbiage used to describe God’s response: “reached down,” “took hold of,” “drew me out,” “rescued me,” and “was my support.” Sounds like a God who cares and who is active in the lives of His creation. He can do the same for you and me today.
Finally, we’re told that God went the extra mile and not only removed David from the crisis he was trapped within but gave him freedom and liberty. Verse nineteen states,
He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
God heard. God responded. And God placed David in a “spacious place.” For you and I it would be easy to glance over verse nineteen and think nothing of it. However for a Hebrew audience living at that time, it was a profound statement. Constantly assaulted by enemy forces, the Israelite would have valued a spacious place free from foe pressing in and ready to attack at moments notice. A spacious place was a place of rest, safety, and security. Like being rescued from a raging river, David was not resting on the banks where he was susceptible to being swept back into the flowing waters. Rather he was place far from the chaos and allowed to rest and renew his strength. God can do the same for us today.
As we cry out to the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, he desire to place us in a spacious place where we might freely breath again as well as renew our strength (Isa. 40:31). So call out. Cry out. He will hear you and respond. And He will place you in a spacious, peaceful place – His loving arms.
Rev. Dr. Mark T. Andreson
June 3, 2015
(Thanks, Mark! Much appreciated. @chaplaineliza )