…what we must know about heroes…

Psalm 56:9

This I know, that God is for me

This short phrase is nestled into the psalm, almost hidden. Even the people that divided the Psalms into verses didn’t feel strongly enough about this line to give it it’s own number. It’s tucked in at the end of verse nine. But the truth of this little line is far greater than the respect it has been afforded by those who structured the literary mechanics of  the Bible.

David’s affirmation speaks with the force of a million warriors coming to the aid of a lone soldier. It is the stuff of legend and fairytale and ten o’clock bedtime stories. This little sentence is wedged into the psalm like a stick of dynamite in the base of a toothpick dam. For even the casual reader these eight words must incite the kind of response that is usually reserved for conquering heroes as they march triumphantly into their homes.

God is for me.

In so many yarns that literature and cinema have spun there is a storyline that prevails: the weak do their best to scrape by and enjoy life as much as possible, evil arises looking to subjugate the weak and build evil’s power, a champion arises to give his/her life to stand between the evil and the weak. This is a pervasive ploy line to most hero stories in some form or fashion. And one of my favorite moments in this scenario is the moment when the weak realize that they are not alone. When the beaten and oppressed are awakened to the truth that there is a hero who has come to rescue them, to fight for them, to liberate them, to set the world right, to open the cell doors, to vanquish evil…when that realization comes there is a feeling that is more intense than mere victory, it is relief.

We are relieved because we know that the weak can’t win, but we know that evil shouldn’t. There is relief, on a deeper level, because in the grand, over-mastering story of life we know that we are the weak and evil amasses it’s army on a regular basis. David knew this on many levels. He knew of battle with spear-wielding giants, sword-swinging soldiers, pride-obsessed kings, and status-addicted wives. He knew of internal struggles created by his own wicked proclivities and spiritual battles with the fiery, sulfurous arrows shot by persistent demons. He knew of failure, both real and perceived. He knew what it was to stare down an entire army and hope that he had heard the voice of God accurately.

But of all the things that David knew with regard to fighting the fight of the weak, he knew one thing that changed everything. He knew that God was for him. He fought differently, he lived differently, he waited differently, all because he knew God was for him. He even went so far as to say that when he ran from them, “goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”. How many of us have the confidence that God has set “goodness” and “mercy” like blessed wolves on our trail with the explicit instructions to track us down with His grace?

Life is lived differently when we believe God is for us. Situations are viewed differently when we are confidant that no matter how dark things get there is a Hero on the way; in fact there is a Hero already on the scene looking to step between us and the evil at hand. David had lived this out, literally, as he had stepped between Israel and Goliath in the Valley of Elah. And even in that moment David knew that it wasn’t him who was between them, God had already set Himself heroically between them.

May we ever live with this knowledge: God is for us. More importantly: God is for you, right now, today, in this moment…He is not your enemy, He is your Hero.

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