Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
Psalm 118: 5-13
“5 When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; He brought me into a spacious place. 6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? 7 The LORD is with me; He is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. 8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. 10 All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the LORD I cut them down. 11 They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the LORD I cut them down. 12 They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them down. 13 I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me.”
In these verses, we see the psalmist giving testimony of how the LORD delivered him in a time of distress. He is reminding people that since the LORD was with him, he didn’t need to fear what others could do to him. Because the LORD was the one who was his helper, he could be assured that he would triumph. The psalmist wants the people to know that it is better to turn to the LORD than to trust in human resources.
And to drive the point home, the psalmist describes how God gave him confidence in the midst of his enemies. He was hard pressed on every side, describing his enemies like a swarm of bees. Think about that description for a moment. I’ve found myself in a swarm of bees before, getting stung multiple times in different places. Just as soon as you swat one away there is another that stings you! But with the LORD’s help, the psalmist found victory over his enemies. He said they were cut off like dry thorns that burn up quickly. The psalmist didn’t loose hope, because his hope was in the LORD.
If you want to see an example of this, you can look no further than King Hezekiah and his encounter with Sennacherib in 2 Chronicles 32. Sennacherib was the mighty Assyrian king; nations fell like dominos when they faced him. His Kingdom was the most powerful in the world at that time. All the people were fearful of what would happen to them, but not Hezekiah. “He appointed military officers over the people. He gathered the officers together in front of him in the open area at the city gate. He gave them words of hope. He said, ‘Be strong. Be brave. Don’t be afraid. Don’t lose hope. The king of Assyria has a huge army with him. But there’s a greater power with us than there is with him. The only thing he has is human strength. But the Lord our God is with us. He will help us. He’ll fight our battles.’”
Sometimes we make the mistake of looking at the battles we face from a human perspective only. It’s easy to look at the material world and loose sight of what the Lord is doing around us. Psalm 118 reminds us to call out to the Lord and remember that He is the one who rescues us. Look back at what the psalmist says “The LORD is with me; He is my helper; take refuge in the Lord; the LORD is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation.”
For the follower of Christ, this is great news! Because of Christ, we can’t lose; the victory has already been won. This is why Paul could write to the Corinthians “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” You know from the human standpoint, Paul often did not know there could possibly be a solution to his difficulties. Yet the Lord never allowed him to reach the place of despair or hopelessness.
Maybe you’re feeling like you’re in a swarm of bees right now. Are you trying to fight the battle on your own? If you are, what would it take for you to let go of it and trust the LORD? Tell Him your thoughts. Trust Him with your deepest fears and worries. Now turn your thoughts to His mighty deeds; offer Him a prayer of thanksgiving because His steadfast love for you endures forever!
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.