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  • Writer's pictureThe Bald Believer

Gentleness and Greatness

Devotional Thoughts from Psalm 18:35–38

Psalm 18:35–38

35   Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation:

And thy right hand hath holden me up,

And thy gentleness hath made me great.

36   Thou hast enlarged my steps under me,

That my feet did not slip.

37   I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them:

Neither did I turn again till they were consumed.

38   I have wounded them that they were not able to rise:

They are fallen under my feet.


Here is a picture my mom took of my precious granddaughter in my hands. My hands are so big compared to that precious little angel. I thought of this picture when I read today’s text. Let me explain.

Today, I would like to talk to you about a lesson that I am afraid I have learned too late in my life. I truly wish that I had learned it while my kids were small and when I first began pastoring. Here is the lesson that find it in our reading in verse 35.

“And thy gentleness hath made me great”

The secret to greatness is gentleness!

1.    The Gentleness of David

In Psalm 18 David is celebrating how God had delivered him from his enemies and made him King of Israel. There is a lot of military talk in this Psalm, especially right before our text. He mentions strength and shields, running through a crowded battlefield and leaping over walls. Sounds pretty cool huh?

In verse 34 David says the Lord “teaches my hands to war”. David says a bow of steel is broken by my arms. That sounds like Superman doesn’t it? He may mean that he broke a bow in two but I think he means that was able to bend a heavy bow back to fire powerful arrows at his enemies. David was a great soldier, a strong soldier but does not brag on himself. He gives credit to his God. He recognizes that his abilities came from his maker.

I often hear athletes brag as though all of their natural abilities were the results of hard work. I could practice till Jesus comes back and it wouldn’t help me do a 360 behind the back dunk! I know, I have been working on that since I was in middle school. That ability is God given! After all that talk of strength David said “And thy gentleness hath made me great”

The secret to greatness is gentleness!

David’s claim to the throne had a lot to do with how he responded to King Saul.

Saul tried to kill him on a few occasion, he even sent troops after David to take his life. David had to hide in caves. One day Saul went into the very dark cave in which David was hiding. The Bible says that Saul went into the cave to “cover his feet”. He was squatting, and his robes went down to his feet. In case you haven’t put two and two together, he was doing number two. Yes, Bible folk had to do that too! Here was the perfect opportunity to save his own skin and become the king but he was gentle instead. David spared the man that was trying to kill him and it earned the respect of the entire nation. It happened more than once.

 There is something about restrained strength that is admirable!

David said “And thy gentleness hath made me great”

That principle is true of our actions but equally true of words.

Proverbs 15:1
     A soft answer turneth away wrath:
     But grievous words stir up anger.

Gentleness and self control require great internal strength but can accomplish great things!

2.    The Gentleness of God

David gained greatness because of gentleness, but he learned it from God.

He didn’t say his gentleness made him great, David said “And thy gentleness hath made me great.”

The secret to greatness is gentleness!

Psalm 18:35   Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation:
And thy right hand hath holden me up,
And thy gentleness hath made me great.

Notice, he says thy right hand hath holden me up. David was in God’s big hand And we are too!

John 10:28–30
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.

The hands of God are strong and yet still gentle.

Isaiah 42:3
     A bruised reed shall he not break,
     And the smoking flax shall he not quench:
     He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

If today you would climb into his hands you will be secure. Yes, they are big and strong, but he is gentle. The pic of my little grandchild in my hands can’t compare with the size of our creator’s hands nor the security that we can have when resting there.

His gentleness reveals our God to be even greater than we imagined.

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