David, the composer of this psalm, knew he was a “goner”. His enemies—Saul and his armies—had surrounded him. David was as good as dead; nothing lay before him but the grave. Yet his Lord heard his prayer. The Lord came down (vs. 9). The Lord delivered him. (cf. Ex. 3:7-8) Notice where David locates his help: It’s all located in the Lord. In the helplessness of death, David has no strength but the Lord is his strength. Entangled in Sheol and death’s snares, David has no refuge but the Lord is his refuge and his deliverer as well. From out of the depths of death and destruction David cried to the Lord who heard his cry and came down to deliver him. Recall similar words which the Lord spoke to Moses from the burning bush: I have heard the cry of my people and “I have come down to deliver them…” (Ex. 3:8).
The Lord is not in the business of helping those who help themselves. The Lord helps the helpless. The Lord “gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Ro. 4:17). Paul is echoing Samuel: “The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up” (1 Sam. 2:6). Luther would say that the Lord does this so that all people would entirely despair of any help found in themselves but would wait entirely upon the Lord for deliverance.
During these days of your baptism, you endure the humility of waiting upon the Lord. Your faith has to do with things unseen (Heb. 11:1). Your life of glory remains hidden until Jesus’ glory is revealed.
Table Talk: Discuss the temptation of a visible glory other than the Word’s promise.
Pray: Keep me steadfast in your Word, Father. Amen