Psalm 18: Love the Lord Your Strength

Psalm 18 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

1 I love you, Lord, my strength.
2 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.
3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.

This is a great psalm and I strongly encourage you to read the whole of it. I have been reflecting on the three opening verses, which provide a great summary. In fact, they provide a great summary not only of the psalm, but of Christian spirituality in general. This morning, I couldn’t get past the opening line.

I Love You Lord

Surely this is the very heart of every duty required by humanity in the Bible. Jesus said that all of the ministry of the law and prophets hangs on the command to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. If we ever let our walk with the Lord become about something other than our love for him primarily then we are heading in a dangerous direction.

My son wrote a letter yesterday. He’s just learning to write and so is still enjoying the novelty of it. He writes all kinds of things; the names of superheroes, lists of people to invite to his party, shopping lists etc. Today my wife experienced an unexpected joy when he brought us a letter simply stating: “Dad and mum I love you.” It actually read more like “bab and mUM I luV yOo” but you get the point. If I was the sort of person who cries, then I would have. I was happy.

The Bible reveals that there is little that thrills the heart of God more than when his children profess real love for him. I don’t understand why God would desire to know his people in this way but it is clear that he does.

I realise that “love” is a concept that needs some defining. You are probably begging me to say something like “love is more than a feeling” or “to love God is to obey his commandments”. Some of you will be silently cringing and wishing me to tone down the soppy sentimentalism. These are valid concerns for another time but I’m not going to go there. Love is more than words, more than feelings but it is not less. I know that my son doesn’t have a perfectly biblical notion of love and I don’t care. It is enough for me that he said it because he wanted to and because he believes he means it. My suspicion is that God the Father feels similarly about the technicalities of our profession. He wants us to love him.

My Strength

When was the last time that you simply declared your love for God? A week? Longer? Adoration and worship is the centre of the Christian’s responsibility. If your zeal for evangelism or training or social action or church planting or frontline missions has taken the place of loving God as your highest priority then there is a real problem.

If this is you then why not take some time right now to ask God to help you repent. Cry out to him for the grace to truly love with all your heart. The good news is that God is not only the object of your love but the one who provides you with the strength you need to love worthily.

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