Arise, O LORD; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongs to the LORD. Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah Psalm 3:7-8 (NKJV)
One of the things we can trust in is the fact that one way or another God will deliver us out of our trial. As David brings this psalm to a close it is obvious that the trial isn’t resolved. David seems to be looking back at God’s past deliverance and trusting that what God has done in the past He will continue to do in the future. David was so sure that God would do this that he wrote it as if God had already done it. The imagery David uses to describe God’s protection and deliverance of him in the past is pretty neat. Just between me and you, the idea of God striking my enemies on the cheek and breaking out their teeth makes me chuckle in a way that may be somewhat carnal.
David goes on to once again state his total confidence in God. The idea that salvation belongs to God is that God is the only one who can save him. Once again David is stating that his only hope and only help will come from God. As far as David is concerned God is the only hope he has and in David’s mind this means he will ultimately be victorious. If God was for him, who cares who was against him.
I love this because of the encouragement we see here. It is good for us to know that God will always deliver us out of the trial. There is comfort and security in that. Let me ask you this though. Does God always deliver us in the way we expect or want Him to? The answer to that is no He doesn’t. The Apostle Paul is a testament to this.
“At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” (2 Timothy 4:16-18 NKJV)
Writing from a Roman prison Paul says that in the past the Lord had delivered him from the mouth of the lion and that the Lord would continue to deliver him from every evil work. Yet, he was beheaded shortly after this and never left a Roman prison. Here are the questions we have to wrestle with.
Was Paul wrong about Jesus going to deliver him?
Did Jesus fail to deliver him?
The answer to both questions is no. Paul wasn’t wrong and Jesus didn’t fail. We must realize that God doesn’t always deliver us in the way that we think He should. He delivers us in the way that He knows is best and in the way that will bring Him the most glory. In this case Paul wasn’t delivered from the sword. Instead Paul was delivered by the sword.
When Paul was beheaded he was delivered from this life and all the hardships he had faced. He was no longer in prison. They couldn’t torture him anymore. Paul was at this point fully and completely delivered from his thorn in the flesh and from all the bad things that his enemies wanted to do to him.
Just as Scriptures are filled with stories of God miraculously delivering people from certain death, it is also filled with stories of people who faithfully served God, trusted God and were killed anyway.
We have to remember that our ultimate deliverance will never come in this life. There is a heavenly kingdom coming and that is where our ultimate deliverance comes. I guess what it comes down to is this. God will deliver us in this life as long as He has work for us to do. When our work is done God will then deliver us from this life where we will be with Him for all eternity. We have to trust that God will do what He knows is best.
For further study read Hebrews 11:33-40.
What was the experience of those described in verses 33-35a?
What was the experience of those described in verses 35b-38?
What bearing does verse 39 have on the faith of both groups?
What point is being made in verse 40?