"You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,
and Your right hand has held me up; Your gentleness
and condescension have made me great."
(Psalm 18:35, Amplified Bible)
How beautifully God’s grace is depicted in this verse! Here we see His so-great salvation, freely given by Him and infinitely undeserved by us. It does not only include salvation from sin’s power and its punishment, but gives to us every spiritual blessing for the here and now. He takes this salvation and wraps it lovingly around us like a shield against many arrows from without and within. Picture it, a cloak and a seal of protection and promise.
The world is our enemy. Its attitudes constantly try to convince us that we have no need of the Savior. Or that to trust in Him is folly and our faith will be for nothing in the end. But as we hold up Truth to these notions, they must cower and retreat. Greater is He Who is in us, and Whose Truth steadies us against the barrage of worldly thinking that we face each day.
The enemy of our souls speaks lying accusations to us, telling us that the mess of us is too far gone, that we are useless to God’s great cause. But His Spirit is in us, and He faces down these deceitful thoughts, bringing hope once more to our hearts. When we are tempted to despair, to retreat and give up, this new life in us stirs us to press on.
How do we have victory? Not because of our own puny strength or wisdom. It is God Who undertakes for us. He lifts us up from ourselves and gives us glimpses of His will being worked out around us. We see Him, our King, and we see His Kingdom being birthed, even in the midst of this perverse world. We see His power demonstrated and His purposes being fulfilled. Trusting completely in Him, we are comforted and confident.
The Lord has taken us in to Himself. We are no longer of this world, but are hidden in Him. Because He has included our poor lives in His plans and purposes, our mission is the greatest one possible. Now we have a role in eternity, in the carrying out of what God has ordained from before the foundations of the world. Think of this: our life can make a difference forever! Almighty God has stooped to bring us into His eternal scheme of things, and no earthly endeavour can compare with what He might choose to accomplish through us.
We are inside His greatness, having none of our own. If we see the desire in our heart to have our own greatness, we must squash it. For if we want anything to be about us, then we have tainted His purpose for it. When we grab at glory, the deed will be for nothing, and will be burned up. We must dissolve ourselves in Him; He must increase even as we decrease. By His Spirit, He carries out this mysterious work in us, slowly shaping our mind, will and heart to be as His own.
What peace would be ours if we would truly grasp that there is nothing in us that caused Him to reach down and scoop us up from the miry clay of our self absorbed living. That there is no need for us to try to hold His attention, earn His loyalty or affection, or appease the wrath that we so greatly deserved. It is finished and it is all of grace! He purposed to love us of His own volition, not because we ever did or ever could deserve it. Here is contentment: to know one’s own helplessness, to surrender oneself to God’s mercy and grace, and to be carried along by Him, having no will of one’s own.
"Lord grant us a deepening revelation of the distance that was spanned when You bent down to save us. You are Master of every destiny, and we are Your servants; teach us humility today. For Your Name’s sake, Amen."