Briefing: He was a couple of hours into his shift when he drove up to the convenience store. He was delayed going in by about 30 seconds. As he got out of his car, he noticed a van drive off from behind the store. He walked inside to find a blood trail leading to the back office where he found the clerk shot in the head. The delay most likely saved him from being shot, too.
Dispatch (Assignment): Read Psalm 118.
On the Street: I saw a quote one day as I was walking through an office. It was so impactful I stopped and wrote it down. I asked the person sitting at the desk if they knew who the author was? They said, “Merv Rosell”. I asked who Merv Rosell was but they did not know, they said they just liked the quote (Merv Rosell was actually an evangelist who worked side by side with Billy Graham in the 1940s and 50s).
Here is the quote. “God could have kept Daniel out of the lion’s den; He could have kept Paul and Silas out of jail; He could have kept the three Hebrew children out of the fiery furnace. But God has never promised to keep us out of hard places. What He has promised is to go with us through every hard place, and bring us through victoriously.”
In verses 5-7 we read, “When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; He brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The LORD is with me; He is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.” This is a wonderful psalm of encouragement. As law enforcement officers we will be hard pressed, attacked, and in need of help. The Christian officer can rest comfortably and confidently knowing God is on his/her side.
I have a good friend who has not accepted Christ YET. I have hope that someday he will give his life to Christ and become my brother. He is super smart and has a lot of good questions. He has had a difficult life, like a lot of people. Even though he does not believe Jesus was God’s Son he will freely admit God has saved him from death on several occasions. When I listen to him and some of the life experiences he has had, it is like a neon sign that says, “God protected you and guarded your life”. I believe God has saved him so he could hear the gospel message and come to a saving knowledge of Christ.
Verse 8 says, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans.” Verses 10-12 all end with “in the name of the LORD I cut them down.” With God’s help, we can defeat the enemy but it must be through His power. We must lean on Him and pray during the battles.
Verse 13 says, “I was pushed back and about to fall but the Lord helped me.” Have you ever been pushed, felt like you were on a ledge about to fall? You are on the edge of the cliff. In front of you is the enemy and behind you is dead air, nothing but a fall to certain death. Gripped by fear and anxiety, you feel all alone with nowhere to turn. The enemy moves in and there is nothing to save you. You feel helpless and hopeless.
I think we all experience this at some point in our life. Maybe we are frustrated with our finances, at the job with unrealistic deadlines, or just life in general. It is amazing how quickly we can fall when we take our gaze off of the Lord. The quicker we turn our focus and attention back to the Lord, putting our trust in Him, the quicker He will help us. Verse 14 follows this up with, “The LORD is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation.” The last part of this verse “has become” tells me this was not always the case. Like most of us, the psalmist probably relied on his own strength to save him but now he turns to God. As long as you are breathing, it is not too late.
Psalm 118 is about the victory we have in God. In our most desperate times when there seems to be no hope, He is our only hope. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever”. The older I get, the more peace I have in this. God is the same today as He was yesterday as He will be tomorrow. He does not change the rules on you in the middle of the game. You can count on Him, His love endures forever.
Like my friend who has had a difficult life, “The LORD has chastened me severely, but He has not given me over to death.” God wants him, and all who have not come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, to believe and confess Him. The very next verse shows the result of this decision, “Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD” Verse 21 says, “I will give thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.”
Investigational Resources: Not only is this psalm the exact middle of the Bible, it is the most quoted psalm in the New Testament. It is used in Matthew, Mark, and Luke 3 times in each book, and once in John, Acts, Ephesians, Hebrews, and 1 Peter.
Officer Safety Principle: “You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.” Psalm 118:28-29.
from Psalms Through the Eyes of a Cop, Volume 2
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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