Chess. A game that demands you not only know the moves you want to make to capture your opponent’s king, but also to estimate what are the reasonable moves of your opponent against your king.
There is an offense and a defense.
Chess has well-defined rules of engagement. Knights may move only in a certain way, pawns may move forward only but to capture an opponent’s piece. Even the king, who may go in any direction he pleases, must obey the border of one square, and he cannot place himself into check. Sometimes a stalemate occurs, and a hand is offered so both may walk away from the game having neither won nor lost.
In fact, every sport and every game have at their root the elements of defense and offense, and the rules that govern fairness and order for both sides. Sport speaks to our inherent sense of justice that God has placed within us as being made in the image of the righteous Judge. Those who are unwilling to observe the rules of the game are eliminated from the competition and the game ends.
However, we all know life is not always this way. Unfortunately, not everyone “plays by the rules”. People cheat, they lie, steal, harm the innocent, and even kill to gain that which they feel they must have. Even churches are not immune from the desire of a poor, lost soul who sees no other way to get some cash in their pocket or food in their belly but to lie to a charitable heart. Yet we all employ defensive measures. We lock our doors, we keep an eye on our money, and we keep in touch with loved ones because we want to know they’re safe and sound.
As long as sin is in the world, defense is required.
David was a man who was familiar with how unfair life could be and how frequently people ignore the proper rules of engagement. Yet David displayed what can only be called a fearless trust in the Lord. Let’s look at .
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. 3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
He begins this psalm by determining there is none greater than the Lord, his light and salvation, so there is no one to fear.
Were any of your children, or yourself, afraid of the dark? Why? Because sometimes we all fear what may lurk in the shadows. What did you do about it? You place a light in the room and all of a sudden there were no more monsters. The Lord is our Light and there is nothing for us to fear.
David continues that line of thought and declares that there is not even one person thing he should dread or be afraid of because God is at the defense of his life. Even when, not if, evildoers come, but when, and according to , the devil roams about looking for one to devour, the evildoers will stumble because God is the Defender.
In 3, he says, “Though a host, [several enemies] encamp against me,” even when the enemy lays siege against a child of God, which speaks of a prolonged, slow, methodical choking of a person, a long oppression, David says he will remain confident in the Lord.
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. 5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
These verses reveal what ought to be the heart of every believer.
To seek the Lord, and to be able to ask of Him, believing He will hear us.
That we may dwell in His house. To David, the tabernacle which came before the temple at Jerusalem, was a physical yet mobile, location wherein dwelt the representation of God’s presence with His people, Israel. To us, the saved in Christ, where is that Temple now?
It is that image of the tabernacle David uses to describe how God can hide His children from the evil, in effect hiding us in His presence, pitching His tent around us.
The lesson being, when evil happens, again not if, but when, it is unfair, it is the direct result of sin in the world and the work of the devil.
The only place, the only refuge we have, the only real, sure hope – like a rock – is to be in the presence of our God.
But that’s not all. Notice, the end of 6, the psalmist will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing praises to God. The enemy has besieged his life, war is constantly being made against him, but where is he? With the Lord, singing praises to Him.
That must be the heart of every child of God.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! 8 You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” 9 Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! 10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.
When hardship comes, when troublesome times are here, what is the first thing we are to do? Cry aloud to God, knowing that He will hear, but not only hear, know also that He can answer with His all-sufficient grace.
8 You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” 9 Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
Oh Christian, let your heart ever be seeking the Lord’s face! He can be found. The Lord would never have asked us to seek Him if He were unwilling or uninterested in us finding Him.
Jesus promised His disciples that He would never leave nor forsake them. The Lord will not abandon His children He gave His life to save. ± But we are to remember always that He has been our help in the past. Not taking Him for granted, we must constantly seek His face and give Him the praise and the glory and honor that He is due for being our help, our salvation.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. 12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
Where is a better place to learn but from our God? When is the last time you have asked the Lord to teach you His ways?
False witnesses are a real offense of the devil against the people of God. He is called the adversary, the one who lays a charge against us. Part of my own testimony is how I struggled so long with God’s forgiveness. As if the devil was lying to me saying that God couldn’t possibly forgive me for all the evil sin I had been a part of. But then I read Paul’s thoughts on the matter:
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.