How To Be Great
Devotional Thoughts from 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 sweet little angel.
I thought of this picture when I read today's text. Let me explain.
Here is a lesson that I am afraid I have learned too late in my life. I genuinely wish that I had discovered it while my kids were small and when I first began pastoring.
Psalm 18:35 "...And thy gentleness hath made me great."
There are two things that I would like to point out about that phrase, "... and thy gentleness hath made me great."
1. The Gentleness of David
In Psalm 18, David celebrates 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 said, "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 this means that he was able to bend a heavy bow back to fire mighty arrows at his enemies. David was a great soldier and strong but did 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, but that alone can undoubtedly be deficient. 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; he even sent troops after David to take his life forcing him to hide in caves.
One day Saul happened to go 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 for David to save his skin and become the king, but instead, he was gentle. Believe it or not, this act of gentle grace happened more than once.
David spared the man's life trying to kill him, earning the respect of the entire nation.
There is something about restrained strength that is admirable!
The secret to greatness is gentleness, that principle is true of actions but also 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.
Notice, he didn't say his gentleness made him great; David said, "And thy gentleness hath made me great."
Yes, the secret to greatness is gentleness and it is seen best in the character of our God!
One more thing to point out
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.
The Psalmist said, "thy right hand hath holden me up", because he was in God's big hand he was secure and made better. It was true of David and all who have trusted him 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.
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 while resting there.
If today you would climb into God's hands, you will be secure. Yes, his hands are big and strong, but trust that he is gentle.
2021 Bible Reading Plan
February 3, 2021