The Preservation of the Righteous

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament poetic book of the Psalms which features a collection of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. More specifically, today’s selected is found in chapters sixteen through nineteen of this Old Testament book. PRESERVE ME! IN THEE DO I PUT MY TRUST! O MY SOUL, THOU HAST SAID UNTO THE LORD, THOU ART MY LORD! THEIR SORROWS SHALL BE MULTIPLIED THAT HASTEN AFTER ANOTHER GOD! THE LORD IS THE PORTION OF MINE INHERITANCE AND OF MY CUP! THOU MAINTAINEST MY LOT! THE LINES ARE FALLEN ME IN PLEASANT PLACES! I HAVE A GOODLY HERITAGE! I WILL BLESS THE LORD, WHO HATH GIVEN ME COUNSEL! I HAVE SET THE LORD ALWAYS BEFORE ME! BECAUSE HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, I SHALL NOT BE MOVED! THOU WILT SHEW ME THE PATH OF LIFE! IN THY PRESENCE IS FULNESS OF JOY! AT THY RIGHT HAND THERE ARE PLEASURES FOREVERMORE! HEAR THE RIGHT, O LORD! ATTEND UNTO MY CRY! GIVE EAR UNTO MY PRAYER! THAT GOETH N OT OUT OF FEIGNED LIPS! THOU HAST PROVED MINE HEART! THOU HAST VISITED ME IN THE NIGHT! THOU HAST TRIED ME, AND SHALT FIND NOTHING! I AM PURPOSED THAT MY MOUTH SHALL NOT TRANSGRESS! (I HAVE MADE A COVENANT WITH MY EYES) BY THE WORD OF THY LIPS I HAVE KEPT ME FROM THE PATHS OF THE DESTROYER! HOLD UP MY GOINGS IN THY PATHS, THAT MY FOOTSTEPS SLIP NOT! I HAVE CALLED UPON THEE, FOR THOU WILT HEAR ME! SHEW THY MARVELLOUS LOVINGKINDESS, O THOU THAT SAVEST BY THY RIGHT HAND THEM WHICH PUT THEIR TRUST IN THEE FROM THOSE THAT RISE UP AGAINST THEM! KEEP ME AS THE APPLE OF THE EYE! HIDE ME UNDER THE SHADOW OF THY WINGS! AS FOR ME, I WILL BEHOLD THY FACE IN RIGHTEOUSNESS! I SHALL BE SATISFIED, WHEN I AWAKE, WITH THY LIKENESS!

A PSALM OF DAVID, THE SERVANT OF THE LORD, WHO SPAKE UNTO THE L ORD THE WORDS OF THIS SONG IN THE DAY THAT THE LORD DELIVERED HIM FROM THE HAND OF ALL HIS ENEMIES, AND FROM THE HAND OF SAUL! I WILL LOVE THEE, O LORD, MY STRENGTH! THE LORD IS MY ROCK, AND MY FORTRESS, AND MY DELIVERER! MY GOD, MY STRENGTH, IN WHOM I WILL TRUST! MY BUCKLER, AND THE HORN OF MY SALVATION, AND MY HIGH TOWER! I WILL CALL UPON THE LORD, WHO IS WORTHY TO BE PRAISED! SO SHALL I BE SAVED FROM MINE ENEMIES! IN MY DISTRESS I CALLED UPON THE LORD, AND CRIED UNTO MY GOD! HE HEARD MY VOICE OUT OF HIS TEMPLE, AND MY CRY CAME BEFORE HIM, EVEN INTO HIS EARS! HE SENT FROM ABOVE, HE TOOK ME, HE DREW ME OUT OF MANY WATERS! HE DELIVERED ME FROM MY STRONG ENEMN, AND FROM THEM WHICH HATED ME: FOR THEY WERE TOO STRONG FOR ME! THEY PREVENTED ME IN THE DAY OF MY CALAMITY! THE LORD WAS MY STAY! HE BROUGHT ME FORTH ALSO INTO A LARGE PLACE! HE DELIVERED ME BECAUSE HE DELIGHTED IN ME! FOR BY THEE I HAVE RUN THROUGH A TROOP! BY MY GOD HAVE I LEAPED OVER A WALL! FOR WHO IS GOD SAVE THE LORD? WHO IS A ROCK SAVE OUR GOD? IT IS GOD! IT IS GOD THAT GIRDETH ME WITH STRENGTH, AND MAKETH MY WAY PERFECT! HE MAKETH MY FEET LIKE HINDS’ FEET, AND SETTETH ME UPON MY HIGH PLACES! HE TEACHETH MY HANDS TO WAR, SO THAT A BOW OF STEEL IS BROKEN BY MINE ARMS! THOU HAST ALSO GIVEN ME THE SHIELD OF THY SALVATION! THY RIGHT HAND HATH HOLDEN ME UP! THOU HAST ENLARGED MY STEPS UNDER ME, THAT MY FEET DID NOT SLIP! I HAVE PURSUED MY ENEMIES, AND OVERTAKEN THEM! NEITHER DID I TURN AGAIN TILL THEY WERE CONSUMED! THOU HAST GIRDED ME WITH STRENGTH UNTO THE BATTLE! THOU HAST SUBDUED UNDER ME THOSE THAT ROSE UP AGAINST ME! THOU HAST ALSO GIVEN ME THE NECKS OF MINE ENEMIES; THAT I MIGHT DESTROY THEM THAT HATE ME! THEN DID I BEAT THEM SMALL AS THE DUST BEFORE THE WIND! I DID CAST THEM OUT AS THE DIRT IN THE STREETS! THE LORD LIVETH; AND BLESSED BE MY ROCK; AND LET THE GOD OF MY SALVATION BE EXALTED! THOU LIFTEST ME UP ABOVE THOSE THAT RISE UP AGAINST ME! THOU HAST DELIVERED ME FROM THE VIOLENT MAN! THEREFORE WILL I GIVE THANKS UNTO THEE, O LORD, AMONG THE HEATHEN, AND SING PRAISES UNTO THY NAME!

THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD; AND THE FIRMAMENT SHEWETH HIS HANDYWORK! DAY UNTO DAY UTTERETH SPEECH, AND NIGHT UNTO NIGHT SHEWETH KNOWLEDGE! THERE IS NOT SPEECH NOR LANGUAGE WHERE THEIR VOICE IS NOT HEARD! THERE LINE IS GONE OUT THROUGH ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE END OF THE WORLD! THE LAW OF THE LORD IS PERFECT, CONVERTING THE SOUL! THE TESTIMONY OF THE LORD IS SURE, MAKING WISE THE SIMPLE! THE STATUTES OF THE LORD ARE RIGHT, REJOICING THE HEART! THE COMMANDMENT OF THE LORD, IS PURE, ENLIGHTENING THE EYES! THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS CLEAN, ENDURING FOR EVER! THE JUDGMENTS OFO THE LORD ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS ALTOGETHER! MOREVOER BY THEM IS THY SERVANT WARNED! AND IN KEEPING OF THEM THERE IS GREAT REWARD! WHO CAN UNDERSTAND HIS ERRORS? CLEANSE THOU ME FROM SECRET FAULTS! KEEP BACK THY SERVANT ALSO FROM PRESUMPTUOUS SINS! LET THEM NOT HAVE DOMINION OVER ME! THEN SHALL I BE UPRIGHT, AND I SHALL BE INNOCENT FROM THE GREAT TRANSGRESSION! LET THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH, AND THE MEDITATION OF MY HEART, BE ACCEPTABLE IN THY SIGHT, O LORD, MY STRENGTH, AND MY REDEEMER!

As you read the words which are written within this particular portion of the Old Testament book of the Psalms you will encounter the eighteenth chapter of the book, which is without a doubt one of my favorite chapters within the entire book. There is such a great sense of triumph, such a great sense of victory, such a great sense of overcoming found and contained within this particular psalm that it provides all who read and believe the words contained therein with a tremendous level of confidence and assurance in the LORD. Before I get into the words which are found within that chapter, I feel a great need to examine chapters sixteen, seventeen, and nineteen beforehand. In all reality, I would dare say that Psalm 18 might very well completely and utterly fall apart without and apart from the words and truth that is contained within these chapters. In fact, when you read the words which are found and contained within the eighteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms you will notice that at the very heart and core of it is something which I think we more often than not forget. I am absolutely and completely convinced that everything that is found and contained within the eighteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms hinges directly and completely upon the words which are found in verses twenty through twenty-six. It would be very easy to allow yourself to focus entirely on the deliverance and salvation of the LORD within the life of David, and even the LORD teaching and training David to fight and to wage war, however, the deliverance of the LORD, and the instruction of the LORD in war completely and utterly fall apart without the underlying truth and foundation of what is found in these seven verses. If we are going to truly understand—not only the path to victory, but also the process of walking in victory, we must recognize and understand the condition of our own heart and soul. We cannot, we dare not, we must not miss and lose sight of this particular reality, for to do so would be to miss out on that which the living and eternal God desires to speak and reveal unto us. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we find written and recorded within these seven verses is a powerful foundation upon which we are to build our lives—not only if we want to walk in victory, triumph and overcoming within this life, but if we want to walk in the same revelation David himself walked in. There is something truly powerful to be said about the condition of our heart and soul in the sight and presence of the living God that warrants strong consideration, and must be carefully understood if we wish and desire to walk in true, full and complete victory before and in the sight of the living God. Consider if you will the words which are found in verses twenty through twenty-six of the eighteenth chapter, for these verses help set the stage and foundation for what not only precedes the eighteenth chapter, but also what proceeds it. Beginning with the twentieth verse of this chapter you will find the following words written by David:

“The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright before Him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight. With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself upright; with the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward” (Psalm 18:20-26). .

There is without a doubt a strong and powerful call to personal integrity and walking in uprightness of heart before and in the sight of the LORD found and contained within this passage of Scripture, and it completely sets the stage for what is found in the chapters which precede the eighteenth chapter, as well as the chapter which proceeds it. If you turn and direct your attention to the sixteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms you will find the first two words of the psalm being David’s cry for preservation, as David prayed and cried out to the LORD, saying, “Preserve me.” The first four words of this particular chapter are “Preserve me, O God,” and it is absolutely imperative we pay attention to the words which are found within the opening verse of the sixteenth chapter, for there is a great and tremendous need contained within it which we must recognize and understand within our hearts and lives. I sit here this morning, and I am absolutely and completely convinced that one of the single greatest prayers we can pray in this life before and in the sight of the living God is that the LORD would indeed preserve us. It is very easy to allow ourselves to get caught up in praying and asking the LORD to bless us, and yet completely miss the point and fail to realize that perhaps one of the greatest needs and desires within our hearts and lives is for the LORD to preserve and uphold us. I firmly believe that one of the single greatest prayers we can pray within and in the midst of the course of our lives is for the LORD to preserve us—to preserve us when we sleep, to preserve us when we wake, to preserve our coming and our going, to preserve us wherever we find ourselves within the midst of the day we find ourselves in. In fact, if you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found within the seventeenth chapter of this Old Testament book you will find David speaking about what it looks like for the LORD to preserve the righteous within their lives. If you begin reading with and from the third verse of the seventeenth chapter you will find David speaking of the preservation of the LORD—not only in terms of sin and transgression, but also in the paths in which he walks on a daily basis. Consider if you will the words found in the seventeenth chapter beginning to read with and from the third verse:

“Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, o God: Incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech” (Psalm 17:3-6).

The more I think about the great and tremendous need for the LORD to preserve us within our lives, the more I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Jude wrote in the last book of the New Testament before the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ. If you turn and direct your attention to the final six verses of this Old Testament book you will encounter a wonderful and glorious picture of the preservation and keeping of the LORD, which is in my opinion one of the greatest testimonies within the life of a saint of the most High God. I remember being discouraged that I didn’t have and never had the testimony how the LORD delivered me from some of the things which He had delivered others from. I have always heard testimonies of how the LORD delivered some from alcohol addiction, how the LORD delivered others from drug addiction, and so much more. I would hear stories and testimonies of how the LORD miraculously and supernatural delivered men and women from various things that would have completely and utterly d estrogen them had the LORD not stepped in and intervened. I remember thinking upon my own life and how I grew up—not only in a Christian home, but also in a pastor’s home, as for much of my life I lived as a pastor’s son. Growing up, I didn’t have the same struggles, the same troubles, the same conflicts, the same temptations that others had, and I used to think that somehow was something that wasn’t to be desired. I used to think that growing up in the type of Christian home I did, and living somewhat of a sheltered life, I somehow didn’t and couldn’t have a testimony before the LORD. In fact, it wasn’t until I went to Bible college when the LORD revealed unto me that His power to preserve is just as great as His power to deliver, and His power to save is just as great as His power to keep. In fact, when you read the words which are found in the New Testament book of Jude you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome and tremendous reality of the LORD’s ability to keep His saints—to keep and preserve them, to keep and preserve their feet from slipping, to keep and preserve them on the path they walk in this life, to keep their lips from transgressing the LORD, to keep their heart clean and pure before the LORD, to direct their steps and to guide their thoughts. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in this New Testament book of Jude beginning to read with and from the twentieth verse concerning the power and might of the LORD to not only keep, but also preserve His saints and those who are His:

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our LORD Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 20-25).

Please don’t miss and lose sight of the words which are written and recorded within this particular passage of Scripture, for what we find within these verses is an absolutely wonderful and beautiful picture—not only of the responsibility we have to keep ourselves, but also the great power and might the living and eternal God has to keep us. You will notice within this passage that in the twentieth verse of this book Jude begins by calling and instructing the saints of God to build themselves up on their most holy faith—something that can only be done by praying in the Holy Ghost. Jude writes, encourages and admonishes the saints of God to build themselves up in their most holy faith, and to do so by praying in the Holy Ghost. It’s actually quite interesting that when you read the words which Jude writes unto his audience—he begins with speaking about building themselves up in their most holy faith, and then goes on to describe what that looks like. It’s worth noting and considering that not only does Jude instruct and admonish his audience to build themselves up in their faith, and not only does he admonish and instruct them to build themselves up in their faith, but he admonishes them to build themselves up in their “most holy faith.” This is worth considering, for it not only highlights the fact that faith is in and of itself holy within our lives, but faith is truly most holy. Speaking about this even further, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the apostle Peter wrote in the second epistle he wrote unto the saints which were scattered abroad throughout Asia Minor. If you begin reading with and from the third verse of the first and opening chapter you will find the following words—not only concerning faith, but how we add to, increase and build up our most holy faith:

“According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue; whereby are given unto us exceeding great and previous promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to. Make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:3-11).

The words which we find written and recorded within this passage of Scripture is absolutely necessary when considering the words which are found in the book of Jude which is the book immediately following it. Within the epistle Jude wrote we find him encouraging and admonishing his audience to build up their most holy faith, while the apostle Peter instructs his audience to add to their faith—and not only add to their faith, but add to their faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. The apostle Peter instructs his audience to add to their faith, while Jude instructs and admonishes his audience to build themselves up in their most holy faith. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that Jude instructs his readers and his audience to build themselves up in their most holy faith, while Peter instructs his readers to add to their faith. What’s more, is that when and as you read the words which are found in the epistle written by Jude you will find him not only instructing his audience to build themselves up in their most holy faith, but he also gives them specific steps with which to accomplish just that. It should be noted that Jude doesn’t simply instruct his audience to build themselves up in their most holy faith, but he also instructs them to pray in the Holy Ghost, to keep themselves in the love of God, and to look for the mercy of our LORD Jesus Christ unto eternal life. When Jude. Instructs his audience to build themselves up in their most holy faith, he does so by instructing them to pray in the Holy Ghost, to keep themselves in the love of God, and to look for the mercy of the LORD Jesus Christ. PRAY! KEEP! LOOK! It is absolutely necessary that we pay attention to these words, for within this passage we find Jude instructing his audience to build themselves up in their most holy faith, but he also does something else that is worth noting and considering. As you read the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture you will find that Jude not only instructs them to keep themselves in the love of God, but he also declares unto them concerning the LORD that He is able to keep them from falling. Please do not miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and tremendous reality, for when we speak of this reality of keeping and preserving, we must recognize and understand that we ourselves have a responsibility, and that the LORD Himself also engages in a work Himself within our hearts and lives. Jude instructs us to keep ourselves in the love of God, while he also at the same time declares unto the saints that the LORD is able to keep them from falling. When we speak about the absolutely wonderful and incredible truth of the LORD preserving and keeping us, it is absolutely necessary that we recognize the awesome truth that the LORD is indeed able to keep us from falling, and that the LORD is indeed able to preserve us within this life. The underlying truth we must realize and recognize is when we realize that in order for the LORD to keep and preserve us, we must be willing to commit ourselves entirely and completely into his hands. The LORD can and will keep those who are His, and those who are willing to cast themselves fully and completely upon Him and upon His power and might.

It’s interesting and worth nothing when you read the words which are found in the New Testament epistle written by Jude that he writes and speaks of the LORD keeping those from falling, and presenting them faultless and blameless, for this was the heart’s cry of David who was the man after the heart of God. It was David’s desperate cry that the LORD would preserve him, and that the LORD would not allow his feet to slip. It was the intense and fervent cry of David that the LORD might indeed preserve him, and that the LORD would watch over, guard and keep him. The opening verse of the sixteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms begins with the desperate plea and cry for the LORD to preserve David, and we must recognize and understand that David cast himself fully and completely on the LORD’s mercy, completely and fully on the L ORD’s compassion, and completely and fully on the strength, the power and the might of the LORD. David cried out to the LORD to preserve him because there was not a doubt in his mind that—not only did he need preserving, but the LORD was capable of preserving him. As I sit here today, I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that during the days and times in which we are living—there is not only a great need for the LORD to preserve us, but there is also a great need for us as the saints of God to endure (and endure to the end), and to overcome. If and as you read the words which our Lord Jesus spoke—both to His disciples when speaking unto them concerning the end times and Last Days, as well as unto the seven churches in Asia—you will find a great amount of instruction and command given and spoken unto the disciples and saints to both endure, as well as to overcome. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this absolutely tremendous and astonishing reality, for failing to understand this reality can and will allow us to be in a place where we allow ourselves to be kept and preserved by the LORD. There is not a doubt within my mind that during these days and during these times in which we are living there is a great need for the LORD to preserve us, but even with that being said there is a great need for our enduring unto the end, and for our overcoming. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in the New Testament gospel narrative of Jesus’ life and ministry which was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew, as well as the words which Jesus Himself spoke unto the seven churches in Asia concerning the great and tremendous need to overcome:

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will courage you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall e saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall enter men before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am a come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loveth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:16-39).

“Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and a anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or pserecution arise the because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received the seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word: and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:18-23).

“Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall e saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:4-14).

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7).

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; he that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (Revelation 2:11).

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden Mann, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Revelation 2:17).

“But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of the potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 2:25-29).

“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:6).

“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast with thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven f rom my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:11-13).

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and know like: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will l sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down my Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:20-22).

I sit here today and I can’t hep but view the keeping and preserving power of the living God to not only touch the realm of keeping our feet from falling and keeping our path and our steps secure, but I also view it through the lens of the LORD preserving and keeping us in the midst of the terror(s) which are upon us on all sides. I am absolutely and completely convinced that when we think and speak about David’s cry and plea before the LORD to preserve him, we must recognize and understand that it was more than simply just a casual prayer. David’s plea and cry for the LORD to preserve him not only touched his presence in the earth in the face of enemies and adversaries, but it also touched his character and integrity. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—when was the last time you got alone with the LORD, cast yourself before Him in His presence on your face, and asked the He preserve you? It’s interesting and worth noting that David prayed and cried unto the LORD to preserve him, and this was centuries before Jesus’ words concerning nation rising against nation, kingdom rising against kingdom, rumors of wars, famines, pestilence, and the love of many growing cold. David’s words for the LORD to preserve him were words that were a desperate cry and plea in the presence of all his enemies and adversaries. What makes this absolutely more incredible is when you think about the fact that when you come to the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms you will find that the LORD answered this prayer, for the heading of the chapter describes a song of praise David sang before and unto the LORD in the day the LORD delivered him out of the hands of his enemies and adversaries, and as the LORD delivered him out of the hand of Saul. When you come to the eighteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms—not only will you find the LORD answering David’s prayer to preserve him, but also his prayer to deliver him. Upon reading the words found within this Old Testament book you will find David crying unto the LORD to deliver him—and not only his desire for the LORD to deliver him, but also his declaration concerning unto the LORD concerning His nature and His character. When you begin reading the opening words and verses of the eighteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms you will find David unreservedly and without hesitation casting himself upon the nature and names of the living God, for David knew and understood that in the names and nature of the living God there was strength, there was salvation, there was deliverance, their was victory, there was triumph, and there was absolutely everything he needed. Consider if you will the opening words of the eighteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms beginning to read with and from the first verse:

“I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliver; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies” (Psalm 18:1-3).

Upon reading the words which are found in the eighteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms you will find the psalmist David declaring unto the LORD how and that he would love Him, for He alone was his strength. What’s more, is that David would go on to declare and describe the LORD as his rock, as his fortress, as his deliverer, as his God, and as his strength in whom he would trust. Moreover, David would also declared unto the lord that He alone was his bucketloads, and the horn of his salvation, and his high tower. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this particular reality, for this reality brings us face to face with the awesome reality that not only would David love the LORD, but David would also trust in the LORD, and David would call upon the LORD. Please don’t miss how the eighteenth chapter of the book of Psalms begins and opens, for it doesn’t begin with the statement and declaration “I love thee, O LORD, my strength,” but rather, it begins and opens up with a statement of intent, and a deliberate and intentional decision within the heart of David. David didn’t merely make a statement before the LORD that he loved Him, but he would make a statement and declaration that expresses a willful and conscious effort and desire to love the LORD. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this reality, for this reality brings us face to face with the tremendous truth that our love for the LORD goes beyond simply an emotional assent to loving him, but it extends to a conscious and deliberate decision to love Him. Our love for the LORD isn’t merely something that randomly appears and finds its way into our heart, but it is something we deliberately and consciously choose to do. Even in the context of marriage we must recognize and understand that loving and falling in love with a spouse is more than simply an emotional response, and some internal feeling within the depths of our heart and soul. When we speak of our love for a spouse, and even when we speak of our love for the LORD, we must recognize and understand that both are and both require a conscious and deliberate and intentional decision and desire to love. In all reality, it might very well be said that love is indeed a verb, and is something that requires deliberate and intentional action on our part. Even Jesus Himself emphatically declared unto His disciples that the greatest command was to love the LORD with all their heart, with all their mind, with all their soul and with all their strength. What’s more, is that even when Jesus spoke of the second command, He declared that it was just like it—namely, that they would love their neighbors as themselves. Even more, is when you come to Jesus’ words in the upper room and discover His command which He would leave them, which would be to love one another. Oh that we would recognize and understand that love is not only a verb, thus indicating action, but love is a command and something we are instructed through Scripture and by Jesus to engage ourselves in.

David declared that he would love the LORD, and then declared the LORD to be his strength. David would go on to begin speak about and describing the LORD using adjectives and phrases that would not only speak to His character, but also His nature. He would use words such as “rock,” “fortress,” “deliverer,” “strength,” “buckler,” “horn of salvation,” and “high tower.” How absolutely amazing and incredible it is that the eighteenth chapter would begin with a verb as David would speak of love as an action, and it would continue with adjectives as David would begin describing the God whom he not only would love, but also the God whom He would trust in, and the God whom He would call upon. The eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms begins with David’s declaration of love for and toward the LORD, and it would continue with a declaration of what that love would look like—namely, that his decision and desire to love the LORD would cause him to trust in Him, and would cause him to call upon the LORD who is worthy to be praised. It would be from this place of love, from this place of trust, and from this place of calling upon the LORD David would cast himself fully and completely upon the nature and character of the living and eternal God. David’s cry and prayer unto the LORD to preserve him was a heartfelt cry as he cast himself upon the very nature and names of God. David knew he could make such a prayer and make such a cry because he could cast himself upon the name and nature of the LORD, and that the LORD would answer him. It’s worth noting that after David made the declaration of his decision and desire to love the LORD, and after David described the LORD, he would go on to emphatically declare he would call upon the LORD who was wealthy to be praised. Not only this, but David would go on to declare that he would be saved from his enemies when he called upon the name of the LORD. Immediately following this David would go on to speak about his finding himself in a place where the sorrows of death compasses him, how the floods of ungodly men made him afraid, how the sorrows of hell compassed him about, and how the snares of death prevented him. The opening three verses of this chapter demonstrates David’s willingness to love the LORD and his casting himself fully and completely on the nature of the God, while he would go on to describe a tremendous place of trouble, conflict, struggle, affliction, and perhaps even persecution. What comes next, however, something truly remarkable, for David would go on to build upon his statement of calling upon the LORD, to in his distress he called upon the LORD, and cried out to His God. What’s more, is the LORD would hear His voice out of His temple, and His cry would come before him, even into his ears.

I absolutely love the words which we find beginning with the seventh verse of this chapter, for what we find beginning with the seventh verse is a powerful statement and declaration of what it looked like when the LORD rose up to his defense, and when the LORD rose up to deliver him out of the hands of his enemies and adversary. We must recognize and understand that within the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms—not only do we find the LORD rising up to David’s defense in the midst of his enemies and adversaries which were too strong for him, and which made him afraid, but we also find the LORD teaching David how to engage, defeat and overcome the enemies which he would face. It is important that when we speak about the LORD keeping and preserving us—there is not only the element of the LORD defending, delivering and fighting for us, but there is also the element of our needing to learn how to fight, and our need to engage our enemy in conflict and battle. The preserving and keeping power of the LORD within our hearts and lives not only touches the realm of that which the LORD is capable of doing, but also that which the LORD teaches us to do. It is absolutely necessary that we come face to face with this reality, for it helps us truly understand how the LORD preserves us through salvation and deliverance, but also through strength and support. David did indeed describe time—perhaps even times—when the LORD came to his rescue, and when the LORD delivered him, and the words which he would use are absolutely astonishing and remarkable when you take the time to think about and consider them. If you begin reading with and from the seventh verse of this chapter you will find the following words which were written and recorded by the psalmist David concerning the LORD rising up from His place and coming to his defense. Consider if you will the following words which describe the LORD rising up to come to the defense and help of David:

“Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the b rightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave His voice; hail stones and coals of fire. Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me” (Psalm 18:7-19).

HE SENT FROM ABOVE! HE TOOK ME! HE DREW ME OUT OF MANY WATERS! HE DELIVERED ME FROM MY STRONG ENEMY! HE BROUGHT ME FORTH ALSO INTO A LARGE PLACE! HE DELIVERED ME! HE MAKETH MY FEET LIKE HINDS’ FEET! HE SETTETH ME UPON MY HIGH PLACES! HE TEACHETH MY HANDS TO WAR! THOU HAST ALSO GIVEN ME THE SHIELD OF THY SALVATION! THY RIGHT HAND HATH HOLDEN ME UP! THY GENTLENESS HATH MADE ME GREAT! THOU HAST ENLARGED MY STEPS UNDER ME, THAT MY FEET DID NOT SLIP! I HAVE PURSUED MINE ENEMIES, AND OVERTAKEN THEM! NEITHER DID I TURN AGAIN TILL THEY WERE CONSUMED! I HAAVE WOUNDED THEM THAT THEY WERE NOT ABLE TO RISE! THEY ARE FALLEN UNDER MY FEET! THOU HAST GIRDED ME WITH STRENGTH UNTO THE BATLE! THOU HAST SUBDUED UNDER ME THOSE THAT ROSE UP AGAINST ME! THOU HAST ALSO GIVEN ME THE NECKS OF MINE ENEMIES; THAT I MIGHT DESTROY THEM THAT HATE ME! THOU HAST DELIVERED ME FROM THE STRIVINGS OF THE PEOPLE! THOU HAST MADE ME THE HEAD OF THE HEATHEN!

The more you read and consider the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture the more you will be brought face to face with the tremendous reality of just how the LORD preserved David in the midst of the conflicts, in the midst of the struggles, in the midst of the trials, in the midst of the troubles he faced. Within the eighteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms David makes it very clear that he faced threats from enemies which were before and around him. What’s more, is David would go on to reveal through these words that he did in fact face enemies which were stronger and more powerful than he, and yet in the midst of the threat of those enemies the LORD delivered him. When we think about and consider the narrative of the LORD preserving His people in the midst of the troubles they face, as well as in the midst of the trials, struggles and conflicts before and around them, it is absolutely necessary that we understand that the LORD can and will move heaven and earth to come to the rescue and defend His saints and His people. The LORD can and will come in the midst of the storm in order that He might deliver His people who are oppressed and afflicted. Consider if you will the narrative of the children of Israel in slavery, bondage and affliction within the land of Egypt, and how the LORD entered into Egypt and struck it with ten destruction and devastating plagues that would eventually force the hand and heart of Pharaoh to let the people of God go. The LORD would send great plagues of devastation and destruction within and upon the land of Egypt in order that He might deliver His people from the oppression and affliction they found themselves experiencing in the midst of and within the land. The same God who would enter into and completely decimate and devastate the land of Egypt to deliver and bring His people out of the midst of their slavery, bondage and affliction would be the same God of the storm that wold move heaven and earth to deliver His servant from the threats, the attacks, the assaults, and the advances of the enemies which were before and all around him. David asked the LORD to preserve him, and yet the truth and underlying reality we must recognize and understand is that the LORD can and will preserve us through delivering and saving us by His own might, strength and power, while there are other times the living and eternal God will preserve us by teaching and training us to engage ourselves in battle and conflict. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand it’s that we dare not, we cannot and must not think and assume that the LORD can and will fight every single one of our battles, and that there won’t be a responsibility that is placed solely and squarely upon us. There are going to be times within our hearts and lives when the LORD can and will require us to step up and engage ourselves in the battle, in the conflict and in the struggle(s) we face within this life.

Within the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms we find David speaking of how the LORD sent from above and took him, and drew him out of many waters. What’s more, is David would go on to write how the LORD delivered him from his strong enemy, and brought him into a large place.. What we must recognize and understand is that the same God that can draw us out of many waters, and the same God that can deliver us from our strong enemy is the same God that can and will teach and train our hands to war, and teach and train our hands for battle, for warfare and conflict. You will notice within this passage of Scripture that David would go on to emphatically declare how the LORD girded him with strength—and not only girded him with strength, but also made his feet like hinds’ feet, and set him upon high places. Moreover, the LORD would teach his hands to war, so that a bow of steel was broken by his arms. It would be this teaching of the LORD that would enable David to purse his enemies and overtake them, and not turn back until they were consumed. It would be this teaching of the LORD that would enable him to wound his enemies so they would not be able to rise until they were fallen under his feet. In addition to this, David would go on to declare once more that the LORD girded him with strength unto the battle, and subdued under him those which rose up against them. As if this weren’t enough, David would go on to declare how the LORD had given him the necks of his enemies that he might destroy those that hated him. Oh dear brother, dear sister, please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and remarkable reality, for it is what we find here that not only brings us face to face with the fact that the LORD came to the rescue of David, but also that the LORD would raise up David himself to engage the enemy, to engage the adversary, and to face them head on in conflict and battle. Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider the fact that the LORD will not fight every battle we face, and that there are times when we are going to have to take up the sword and the shield and advance against the enemy? Even when you consider the great miracle and devastation of the city of Jericho you must recognize and understand that it was the LORD through the shout of His people that brought the walls of Jericho down flat, but the children of Israel needed to them march straight up in the midst of the city and put the city to the edge of the sword. It might very well be said that the LORD opened the door for His people to walk straight through, however, it would be the people themselves who would have to march straight up into the city with sword, with spear, with bow and arrow, with shield, with javelin, and the like, that they might completely and utterly destroy the city of Jericho with its inhabitants.

I have long found the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms to be one that is absolutely wonderful and astonishing when you take the time to consider it, for not only does it reveal the absolutely tremendous reality of the LORD coming in the storm to deliver and defend His own, but the LORD would also raise up His own that they might themselves become the storm that would bring a great reckoning to their enemies and adversaries. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—know and understand that there is a vast difference between the LORD coming as the storm that brings about our deliverance and salvation, and the LORD raising us up to be the storm that is able to not only engage, but also conquer, subdue and overthrow our enemies. What makes this chapter of the book of the Psalms so amazingly beautiful is when you think about and consider the fact that Scripture does reveal that David sang this song in the day the LORD delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and the LORD did in fact deliver David out of the hand of Saul, and yet David would not be without his own part and place in the story. The LORD would deliver David out of the hand of Saul, and the LORD would even deliver David out of the hand of Absalom when he was forced to flee from the rebellious hand of his son, yet when it came to the enemies and adversaries David faced, it would be himself who would engage those enemies in conflict and battle. The LORD would indeed deliver David from Saul, and from Absalom, however, it would need to be David himself who would fight and engage the enemies and adversaries before and around him in conflict, in battle and warfare. What is truly remarkable about the words which are found concerning the life of David is that within his life we do find the LORD coming to his rescue and delivering him out of the hand of those that would seek to destroy him, but when it came to the enemies David would face, the LORD would train his hands for war, and would give him the strength bend a bow of bronze. The LORD would give David the strength, the courage and the fortitude to be able to rise sup against his enemies and against his adversaries in order that he might conquer and subdue them. The LORD would indeed, and the LORD did indeed deliver David from the hands of all his enemies and adversaries, however the LORD would not do all the work of deliverance. The LORD would raise up David as a mighty warrior within the earth—a warrior who could conquer and subdue his enemies, and who could put his foot on the neck of his enemies. Oh how absolutely wonderful and powerful it is to think about and consider the fact that the LORD can and will rise up to defend us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, but that doesn’t eliminate the responsibility we have to learn how to fight, and to engage the enemy in conflict and battle ourselves.

I wrote how at the very heart of the the LORD defending and delivering us our decision to walk in purity and uprightness of heart before Him. In fact, when you come to the second half of the nineteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms you will find David—after speaking of the heavens and creation declaring the glory of the living God—transitioning to writing and speaking of that which the LORD has not only written, but also that which the LORD has commanded. It is safe to say that David recognized and understood the need for personal holiness and righteousness before and in the sight of the living God. Moreover, it is safe to say that David recognized the need for the LORD to examine and try him that he might be found pure and righteous in the sight of the living God. IN the seventeenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms we find David speaking unto and declaring of the LORD how he had proved his heart and had visited him in the night. Moreover, the LORD tried David and found nothing, for he purposed that his mouth would not transgress the LORD. While the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture do in fact speak to the absolutely wonderful reality of the LORD not only delivering us out of the hands of our enemies, nor how the LORD teaches and trains our hands for battle that we might engage the enemy and adversary, there is also a great amount of language that is found within these chapters about personal holiness and personal righteousness before and in the sight of the living God. It is safe to say that David recognized and understood the need for personal holiness—even the direct link and connection between personal holiness and righteousness in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD’s deliverance within their lives. As I bring this writing to a close, I would like to leave you with the words which are found in the latter half of the nineteenth chapter of this Old Testament poetic book, for what we find within this portion of Scripture is David’s absolutely love and affection for that which the LORD had written and instructed concerning His law, His commands and statutes. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this absolutely remarkable reality, for it is vital and critical to our walking before the LORD in a manner that pleases and glorifies Him. Consider if you will the words which are found in the nineteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms beginning to read with and from the seventeenth verse. It is within these verses where we discover David’s intense desire, affection and longing for the instruction of the LORD, for it was his instruction that caused him to walk worthy of the call that was upon his life. I leave you with the final words of the nineteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms that you might encounter and come face to face with just how critical the law of the LORD—with its statutes, its commands, its precepts, its depress, and the like—is for our personal holiness and righteousness before the LORD. Hear now the words which David spoke and declared unto the LORD concerning that which He had written for our instruction as we walk with and pursue Him:

“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold. Sweet also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from my secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of m y mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:7-14).

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