I Need Thee Every Hour (Psalm 18:1-3)
There are so many times that we are crying, begging for God to open the gate, pick us up to kiss us, and allow us in. The poet well said: “I need Thee ev’ry hour, Most gracious Lord; No tender voice like Thine Can peace afford. I need Thee, O I need Thee; Ev’ry hour I need Thee!”
Far too many times in this life we know far too well the meaning of this song, for we need God.
David desperately needed God. When the women of Israel celebrated David’s victory over Goliath, Saul became jealous (1 Sam. 18:6-9). Saul twice cast a spear at David (1 Sam. 18:10-11, 19:10). Wanting David to die in battle, Saul wanted a hundred Philistine foreskins as a dowry to marry his daughter (1 Sam. 18:25). Saul spoke to his son Jonathan and all his servants that they should kill David (1 Sam. 19:1). Saul sent servants to David’s house with instructions to bring David back so that he could kill him (1 Sam. 19:15). Saul instructed Jonathan to bring David so that David could die (1 Sam. 20:31). Saul sought David every day (1 Sam. 23:14). Yet, God delivered David out of Saul’s hands.
Because God delivered him out of Saul’s hands, David praised God. David said, “I will love You, O LORD.” The verb for “love” here is an unusual Hebrew verb. It is seldom used of man’s love for God. This is the term that is used for a mother’s love for her children; it is a very close, intimate love. David has this intimacy with God, because of all the good things God has done.
Let’s examine this text to see what God did for David.
God is Powerful
David called God his rock and his strength – this shows God’s power. A rock is not easily moved – the Rock of Gibraltar is going nowhere. Just like a rock, God is going nowhere. No rock is like God (1 Sam. 2:2). Some of the pagan gods were very movable; they were fickle and would change their minds. But, God is unchangeable; nothing will change God! God does not move when trouble comes. When we are surrounded by trouble, we know that God is on his throne the same as he was before the trouble. When we are surrounded by trouble, we know that God’s promises have not changed.
God is also our strength. God is our strength and a help in time of trouble (Ps. 46:1). Our Redeemer is strong (Jer. 50:34).
Our God is powerful and able to help us. He created this world, and if the Creator of this world can’t help us who can? God often demonstrated his power. He led the children of Israel across the Red Sea. He made the walls of Jericho fall so the children of Israel could possess the city. His Son walked on the water and quieted the storm. He raised his Son from the dead.
We need God’s strength. Without God’s strength, David would have died at Saul’s hand. We, too, need such strength – it often feels as though the world is caving in around us and we have nowhere left to turn. We have the assurance that God will be our strength. God will neither fail nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5-6). When we are weak, the Lord is strong (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
God is a Deliverer
David called God his deliverer. As one reads the story of David and Saul, he cannot help but be amazed at how many times God delivered David out of Saul’s hand. Had God not delivered David, Saul would have been able to kill him.
God delivered us as well. God has a long history of delivering his people. God delivered the Israelites from the hand of Pharaoh at the Red Sea. God delivered David from Goliath. God delivered Paul from death (2 Cor. 1:10).
The Lord will deliver his children in this age as well. He delivers us from the fear of death (Heb. 2:15). Even though we shall die, we need not fear death – in fact, we should not fear death. There is no reason to fear death, for we know that we have a home in heaven (2 Cor. 5:1). The dying words of John Knox were; ‘”Live in Christ, Live in Christ, and the flesh need not fear death.” He delivers us from temptation (1 Cor. 10:13). When temptation does come, we know that the temptation is not unusual – those throughout the world face the same types of temptation. When temptation does come, we know that God will provide a way out.
The Lord is God
David declares that the Lord is his God.
This has two implications:
- The One who watches over us is God. The one who created the worlds cares about us (1 Pet. 5:7). The One who created the world has time for us. The President does not have time for us or really care for us; he does not even know we exist. Yet, God does care and God does have time.
- The One who watches over us needs to be first in our lives. Although David made mistakes, God was first in his life (1 Ki. 15:5). We, too, need to place God first.
The Lord is Protection
David called the lord his Fortress, Refuge, and Shield. Fortresses, refuges, and shields are used for protection from an enemy – an enemy attacked and you used fortresses, refuges, and shields to protect yourself. The Lord protected David from Saul’s hand – Saul never was able to do any harm to David, because God protected him.
The Lord protects us as well. God did not permit the four angels in Revelation 7 to harm the earth until his saints had been sealed (Rev. 7:2-3). No one can take us from God’s hand (Jn. 10:28-29) – No matter how hard he tries, Satan cannot just come to us and snatch us from God’s hand. The Lord will protect us from Satan (2 Thess. 3:3). The Lord protected Job from Satan – God gave Satan exact instructions on how far he could go in tempting Job. I do not doubt for a moment that God gives such instructions concerning us today.
The Lord is Salvation
David called the Lord “the horn of my salvation.” An animal with a horn has its strength in that horn; therefore, a horn came to symbolize strength to the Hebrews. The point David is making here, then, is that God is powerful for salvation. The salvation being discussed here is salvation from his enemies – the Lord saved David from Saul’s hand.
The Lord is powerful enough to save us as well. God saves us from our chief enemy, sin. “According to his mercy He saved us” (Tit. 3:5).
David concluded this section of this psalm with these words: “I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.”
If we are to have the blessings David wrote of here, we must call upon the Lord. “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Calling on the name of the Lord requires that we do what he commands. Have you called upon his name?
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.