When we pray for strength, we often pray for release or endurance to get through a difficult experience, or we pray for an ability to do something really difficult. Then when things seem to get worse, or we don’t feel stronger, we doubt God’s love for us and question if prayer works.
But the strength God wants to give us is not endurance, release or ability. The strength God wants to impart to us, is an increased ability to trust Him. God wants us to find our strength in Him, He does not expect us to be strong. He wants us to declare, just like David did:
“The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in Him and He helps me.” (Psalm 28:7)
It is precisely when we are NOT strong, that God wants us to call on Him. David, described as a man after God’s own heart, writes a song at the end of his life, described to us in 2 Samuel 22. It is almost exactly the same as Psalm 18.
From this we see that David relied on God in everything, He was totally dependent on God. He confesses that God is His strength, his help and his victory over enemies. Even though He was King, he acknowledges that it is God who strengthened Him. It would have been easy at the end of his life to take credit for himself, but David clearly understood where his strength andhelp came from.
Not just did he overcome Saul with God’s help, but the enemies of God’s people during his reign, as well as the rebellion of Absalom. There were many times that he was weak, and we get to read his many Psalms where he seeks out the Lord in moments of weakness.
Looking at Psalm 18:1-3, David declares his love for the Lord and His descriptions of God as His strength, note how they are war related descriptions:
I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.
Note the “my” as David declares possessively that:
- God is my strength, picture a body builder
- My rock – a steady unmovable foundation
- My fortress – Usually a high, secure place to guard against enemies
- My deliverer – saves those who are in distress
- My God in whom I take refuge
- My shield – to protect from enemy arrows
- The horn of my salvation – speaks of protection and strength
- My stronghold – place to hide where enemy cannot access
- The Lord who is worthy to be praised.
He confirms that God gets these titles, because of the following characteristics (Psalm 18:30-36)
- His way is blameless
- His Word is tried and tested
- He is capable of shielding
- He is as steady as a rock
- Girds me with strength
- He makes my way blameless
- He makes my feet secure
- He trains, equips and teaches me for battle
- Given me the shield of His salvation
- His right hand upholds me
- His gentleness, humility makes me great
- He enlarges my steps
- He enables my feet not to slip.
David knows that God is sovereign and in control. He knows that God is good. He knows that God does not change.
David has a clear picture of God’s love, His faithfulness and His sovereignty. From this clear picture of God, David has found His strength.
“The righteous cry out to the Lord and He hears then and delivers them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)
What is your idea of God? Do you think He expects you to be strong and do it all on your own? Do you think He is irritated by your weakness? God wants us to find our strength in Him as we trust Him. We get stronger, as we practice trusting Him.
Are you willing to trust Him?
You are my strength Lord. Thank you that I do not have to be strong because You are strong enough for me. Thank you that on the days that I am weak, Your strength is available to me, because You love me. Thank you that You are tried and tested, steady, faithful, gentle. Thank you that you keep me steady, strengthen me, train me, equip me, teach me and enlarge me. Thank you that Your right hand holds me strong, and that I will not slip because You are with me.