12/18/S – The Lord My Rock

Zechariah 8:1-13; Revelation 16:1-11; Psalms 144:1-8; Proverbs 30:10

NT: “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.” The first went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and severely painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped its image. The second poured out his bowl into the sea. It turned to blood like that of a dead person, and all life in the sea died. The third poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. I heard the angel of the waters say, You are just, the Holy One, who is and who was, because you have passed judgment on these things. Because they poured out the blood of the saints and the prophets, you have given them blood to drink; they deserve it! I heard the altar say, Yes, Lord God, the Almighty, true and just are your judgments. The fourth poured out his bowl on the sun. It was allowed to scorch people with fire, and people were scorched by the intense heat. So they blasphemed the name of God, who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent and give him glory. The fifth poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues because of their pain and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they did not repent of their works.” (‭‭Revelation‬ ‭16:1-11‬ ‭CSB)

The sin, evil and unrighteousness in the world had fully ripened, the redeemed in the Lord had been caught up into heaven, and the just and due time for the wrath and vindication of God had come. In rapid succession, the seven holy angels of God poured out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth. The first bowl plagued the entire remaining population of the world with painful and torturous sores that covered their bodies. The second bowl turned all the oceans and seas of the world into blood, killing all remaining sea life. The third bowl tuned all of the freshwater resources of the earth into blood, leaving nothing on the earth to drink. That was a just punishment for all that the enemies of God had done to the righteous people of God – the martyrs who were gathered around the altar of incense all agreed that the punishment was deserved. The fourth bowl brought a scorching sun to an earth with no drinkable water, and the fifth bowl brought complete darkness to the kingdom of the beast. Instead of recognizing the greatness and worthiness of the Lord God, the remaining people of the earth – those who repeatedly rejected opportunity after opportunity to repent – blasphemed God and languished in their inconsolable suffering. Many times, people joke about hell being a party – but being separated completely from the mercy and goodness of God, and being subjected to the fullness of His wrath is far from fun and enjoyable. I would not wish that on anybody.

Psalms: “Blessed be the Lord, my rock who trains my hands for battle and my fingers for warfare. He is my faithful love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in him; he subdues my people under me. Lord, what is a human that you care for him, a son of man that you think of him? A human is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow. Lord, part your heavens and come down. Touch the mountains, and they will smoke. Flash your lightning and scatter the foe; shoot your arrows and rout them. Reach down from on high; rescue me from deep water, and set me free from the grasp of foreigners whose mouths speak lies, whose right hands are deceptive. God, I will sing a new song to you; I will play on a ten-stringed harp for you  — the one who gives victory to kings, who frees his servant David from the deadly sword. Set me free and rescue me from foreigners whose mouths speak lies, whose right hands are deceptive.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭144:1-11‬ ‭CSB)

David was a victorious king in battle, over and over, time after time winning battles and wars over his enemies and those who stood against the word, will and ways of the Lord God. Though David was successful, he didn’t attribute his success to his own strength, skill and strategies. He was nothing but a lowly and outcast shepherd. God was the one who called him from the sheep fields, anointed him, trained him and led him to be the first king of a united Israel. It was God who preserved him. It was God who protected him. It was God who provided for him. It was God who united the twelve tribes of Israel together under his kingship. God was David’s rock… God was the firm and unshakable foundation under David’s feet… God was the source of David’s success.

Some have suggested that this psalm may have been used in the training of Israel’s troops. When training to engage in war with the enemy, it is key to learn and remember that true victory does not come from military strength, might, or skill, but through the favor and grace of the Lord. In the New Testament, we are taught that our true enemies are not flesh and blood, but are spiritual. Our physical strength and determination will not and can not assure us victory over those enemies. How much more, then, must we put on the armor that God has provided for us through faith in Christ, and trust our victory to Him as we submit ourselves through worship to His Lordship.

David knew with the Lord God fighting the battles, his enemies wouldn’t stand a chance. God merely had to touch the mountains, and they would smoke, God merely had to flash His lightning and the enemies would scatter. No one stood a chance against the Mighty God. As we see in Revelation, God will – when the time has fully come –  become completely and utterly victorious over His enemies… and those who are faithful to the Lord will be saved and avenged. Will we make the Lord our rock, or will we suffer the fate of His enemies?

Prayer: Lord, You are my rock, my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer. I thank You that You train me for battle. You provide me with truth, righteousness, faith and the gospel of salvation to protect me from the onslaughts of the enemy. You provide me with powerful weapons for the pulling down of strongholds. You give me precise words from Your word that disables and dispatches the enemy’s taunts and lies. Grace me through faith in You to be victorious over my enemies now and one day stand with you in ultimate victory at the end of the age. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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