“The LORD thundered from heaven, And the Most High uttered His voice, Hailstones and coals of fire. He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, Lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them. Then the channels of the sea were seen, The foundations of the world were uncovered At Your rebuke, O LORD, At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.” Psalm 18:13-15 (NKJV)
Earlier in Psalm 18, David had said the Lord was his shield. We see in these verses how the Lord was David’s shield and defended Him against His enemies. The wording used here is so powerful. The Lord thundered from Heaven. The most High uttered His voice. As God spoke, He rained down hailstones, coals of fire, arrows, and lighting on David’s enemies. The enemies were defeated, not by David but by God.
I can’t promise you that when you cry out to God in distress He is going to send hail, fire and lighting in response, but we do see pretty consistently in Scripture that God defends His people in their time of need.
Let me give you one Biblical example of this. In the book of 2 Chronicles we are told the story about a group of nations that banded together to attack Jerusalem. The number of warriors coming against them was so great that there was no way that Judah could possibly survive. So King Jehoshaphat called for those in Judah to begin to fast and seek God to intervene on their behalf.
King Jehoshaphat then prays himself. He prays this great prayer where he acknowledges that there is nothing they can do about the coming army. He basically tells God that if He doesn’t intervene Judah and Jerusalem will be destroyed. At the end of Jehoshaphat’s prayer God sends a man named Jahaziel with a message. Here is God’s message to them.
“…Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:15-17 NKJV)
God promised to defend them against this great enemy. Of course God did just as He promised He would. The people of Judah didn’t have to lift a finger to fight this vast army. All they had to do was clean up the bodies and collect the loot after the battle was over.
Some may wonder why we don’t see God do this stuff as much now as He did then. I think He does we just don’t recognize it. We have to remember that God didn’t always defend His people with lightning bolts, hailstones and fire from the sky. In the story in 2 Chronicles God didn’t rain fire down from heaven to consume them. Instead, the armies seemed to turn on each other. Really, if you weren’t looking for the hand of God in this story you might not see it. From outside appearances, it seemed that Judah got lucky when the alliance armies just began to distrust each other and ended up turning on each other.
I think we are culturally influenced not to see God in things like this. Think about this. If lighting were to strike the steeple of the church, cause it to explode and burn the building down, what would it be called by insurance? An act of God. Act of God is the cultural way to explain really bad things that seem to be freak accidents.
On the other hand, if lightning struck the steeple and something good happened as a result what would it be called? A stroke of luck. Luck or coincidence are the unexplainable good things that happen in our lives, while acts of God are the unexplainable bad things that happen in our lives. I say that God actively works to defend His people in many ways probably every day and we don’t recognize it because it appears to be a coincidence or we got lucky.
In the Bible God very often worked through ordinary incidents to defend His people. Why He does it this way instead of raining fire and brimstone down from the sky isn’t something I can give a definitive answer on. Personally, I believe it is because it requires more faith to see God in the ordinary than it does in the extraordinary. There is no telling how many ordinary things happen to us every day that we don’t think anything about that is God being personally involved in defending us.
The Lord is a shield to those who trust in Him. As you go through your day, look for God’s hand in ordinary things.