Shine – LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS – Psalm 18:28 ESV, John Cautero, Teaching Team

SHINE OCTOBER 1, 2023

GOOD MORNING!  Praise God from whom all blessings flow! 

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Today’s message is simply titled Light in the Darkness; The Lord has been an encouragement to me through this message, and I hope it is for you as well.

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TODAY’S TEXT IS Psalm 18:28-32 

PLEASE STAND AS WE SHOW HONOR TO OUR CREATOR FOR HIS PRECIOUS WORD.  

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Psalm 18:28-32

28 For it is you who light my lamp;
    the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
29 For by you I can run against a troop,
    and by my God I can leap over a wall.
30 This God—his way is perfect;
    the word of the Lord proves true;
    he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

31 For who is God, but the Lord?
    And who is a rock, except our God?—

32 the God who equipped me with strength
    and made my way blameless.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD!

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Let’s Pray.

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Before I get too far along, a message was brought to me to share with you through a lyric.  I’d like to read it.  It’s from a song titled “Never be the Same.”

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Come all you weary. 

Come all you saints. 

Come to the fountain.
To the edge of the banks. 

The water is stirring. 

The tides are now turning. 

Come jump in the river of grace.

The Spirit is searching. 

It’s time for returning.

Come jump in the river of grace. 

I am not who I once was. 

My whole life has been changed. 

I met the forgiver. 

And now this sinner will never be the same 

He took my burdens. 

He took my guilt. 

He carried the hurting. 

Up Calvary’s hill. 

He’s calling the lost. 

To the foot of the cross. 

Where all the broken are healed. 

Where He died my death to give me His breath. 

O now my future is sealed.

I am not who I once was. 

My whole life has been changed. 

I met the forgiver. 

And now this sinner will never be the same

And now this sinner will never be the same

And now I live in resurrection power.

And now I live in resurrection power.

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How about you?   This sinner will never be the same! Praise Jesus! 

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Introduction:

This is about God the Father.  This is about Jesus!  How often do you stop to reflect on how much the God of all Creation cares for you?  How much He loves you?  Even with all our baggage, He loves you.  Right here right now.  He can’t love you any more and He will not love you any less.  Isn’t that Awesome!  He’s already proven it by being willing to send His one and only Son to take the sin of all mankind-past, present and future.  Amen!  Here is a simple reminder from King David.

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Psalm 8:1-4

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

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CONTEXT-

To begin, we need to go back to the beginning of Psalm 18.  This is a Psalm of David which parallels 2 Samuel 22. David wrote this Psalm after being delivered by God from Saul who wanted David dead.  David portrays in several ways in this Psalm as a rock, shield, fortress, deliver, and stronghold. There are incredible images David paints for us.

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Psalm 18 is the fourth longest psalm in the book of Psalms behind 119, 78, and 69. In 2 Samuel chapter 22 there is a nearly identical speech from David. It is believed that the text in Psalm 18 was probably an adaptation of David’s praise which was meant to be a song of worship. The introduction refers to the fact that David made this statement as an expression of his love for God. Coming from someone who has experienced incredible blessings, this is such a powerful testimony for today.  Let’s look at the beginning of Chapter 18.

Psalm 18:1-2

   I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
   my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
   my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

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David’s song of praise is thanking God for rescuing him.  David has been in many confrontations.  He was hunted and persecuted. In response to David’s prayers for help, God intervened. The result of that rescue was David’s victory and security.  David credits God with rescuing him and praises the Lord. While not a perfect man, the greater pattern of David’s life was to honor and obey God.  A man after God’s own heart Samuel points this out in his criticism to Saul’s attempts to run down David.

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1 Samuel 13:14

But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.

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In 2 Samuel chapter 22, David expresses praise for all the times in his life where God gave him victory. That prayer or song is copied almost identically here. Psalm 18, itself, might have been adapted for use in public worship. David remembers dire situations where God rescued him. He dramatically recounts how God provided rescue and power. David also credits God with rewarding his obedience by making him a powerful and successful military leader. For these reasons, David commits himself to the praise and worship of the Lord.

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This psalm is David’s prayer to the Lord in which David praises the Lord for making him victorious over his enemies.  2nd Samuel 22:1 seems to tell us David composed Psalm 18 on the day the Lord delivered him from his enemies and Saul. 

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Verses 28 and 29

28 For it is you who light my lamp;
    the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
29 For by you I can run against a troop,
    and by my God I can leap over a wall.

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David recognizes that all he has accomplished was because of the work of God.  David is acknowledging that God is working.  That God is the force behind him.  All that is happening is because of God.  David had had special and divine revelations to him from God, and in Chapter 18, David is acknowledging this.

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In verses 28 and 29, it is clear, that God has enlightened David’s path.  Many of the first verses in this chapter are referencing battles.  David is remembering his battles.  He recognizes that he desperately needed God’s direction.  Even the great King David has moments of uncertainty in the face of conflict. He, too, was likely unsure of his direction and where to go next.   It is here in verse 28 where David points out God’s divine provision.  The actual translation of verse 28 is “you are causing my lamp to shine.”  

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David recognizes here that God will provide the light to overshadow and overpower all the darkness around him. The light of God extinguishes the darkness.  It is obliterated.  All the darkness has been overpowered by the light God has provided.  David clearly recognizes this and trusts this principle in the power of God.  We get a glimpse of how much in verse 29. For by God, he charges through a troop and by the strength of God leaped over a wall.  He is empowered! If it wasn’t for God, he would be without direction but when He did, he became a successful warrior.  He was no longer afraid and come to a point of strength.  He, too, was concerned and the power of God enabled him to overcome the darkness.

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This is not by accident.  David expresses trust, prayer, meditation, and obedience.  David exemplified those for us.  We can have confidence that God will light our path. Destroy darkness in our path.

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Application: Are we trusting God in difficult circumstances?  Is it in those moments where that trust is expressed in prayer and meditation? Is it in those moments where we understand God’s Word and express that understanding through obedience?  I believe David shows us a clear picture of that obedience.

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David provides many examples of his trust and confidence in God for example in Psalm 27.

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?

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Apostle Paul demonstrates a similar conclusion in 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 that essentially all that has been accomplished by him was because of the work of God.

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1 Corinthians 15:9-10

For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

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This brings to mind a famous quote from John Newton, the famous minister, author, and abolitionist who is credited with writing one of the greatest hymns, Amazing Grace.

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I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am— John Newton

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Because of the light of God, believers are no longer who they once were.  King David was no longer who he once was.  

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We see a distinct transition in V. 28. In the first 27 verses, David was looking back at how God delivered him. Then, David transitioned to present day and future.  He is giving thanks with great confidence going forward.  David had great confidence in God going into whatever life has in store.  

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When we have gratitude as David did, it leads to great confidence in God.  David expressed a joyful thanksgiving, and it propelled him to great confidence for the future.  His heartfelt gratitude for the deliverance by God in the past, bled over into his stirring anticipation for the future.  

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David makes a powerful declaration that God is the one who lights  his lamp.  God lights his path and brings him out of darkness.  David is inspired.  He is essentially stating in verse 29, “bring it on.” He has confidence, not in himself, but in God.  God’s power will enable him to overtake any enemy and to empower him to accomplish anything.  How awesome is that?  

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Application: Do you trust God with the confidence David does?  Or is your unbelief putting God in a box?  What will it take to find the kind of confidence in God that David demonstrates?

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Some thoughts on how we may find this confidence.  Begin in prayer.  Be intentional.  Be diligent.  Dwell in God’s Word.  Abide in His Word and His instruction.  Obey.  Jesus instructs us that if you love Him, you will keep His commandments in John 14:15.  This is applicable to all of us.  Praise God!  We as believers have the joy in knowing Jesus.  The joy in knowing the God, who created the heavens and the earth, desires us.  He is mindful of us.  He calls and pursues us.  How are we not moved by that?

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Maybe David’s experience in battle does not connect to you.  That is what is so fantastic about Psalms.  In all 150 chapters in the Book of Psalms, there is definitely something for you.  There is encouragement.  There is deep, profound instruction for each of us.  There is an application to you, your life and your current circumstance.  Believe it! How beautiful is that?

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30 This God—his way is perfect;
    the word of the Lord proves true;
    he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

31 For who is God, but the Lord?
    And who is a rock, except our God? —

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In verses 30 and 31, David explains that God has strengthened him.  He has provided edification for him.  David believed that God was his rock.  He believed that God’s way is perfect.  He understood that there no fault, flaw, nor error in God, and that God was the foundation of His life.  He knew that God’s Word was sound and clear.  It provided clear direction. Jesus also provides clear direction.  He explains that He is the Way.

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John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

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Like a well-constructed map, God lays out the Way, and it will never lead us astray.  This is not some experiment.  God’s way is perfect and right.   God’s Word has been tried and is true.  It has been tested and proven, and David makes that exclamation.  The Word is proven.  David experienced it firsthand. He recognizes that God’s Word is always adequate and then some.  It is not fake or counterfeit.  

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You know how we know? We have the light of God to illuminate the path for us.  What is our Road Map?  The Word of God which is illuminated by the light of God.  See the connection from David to the present day?  Awesome! 

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Another illustration is that of the cashier or bank teller who is given a large bill for payment.  What happens? Usually, the money will be held up to the light and marked with a special marker.  We know why, don’t we?  It is to prove its authenticity.  It is meant to see if the money is true and real.  We have the light of God to show us the truth in His Word.  Our eyes are opened, and the truth comes off the pages of His Word.  God is the light!  His Word is truth.  It is being revealed to us.

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In verse 30, we are reminded that God is a shield and our protector. He provides protection for all who trust in Him.  Jesus is our protector.  He is often referred to as the Good Shepherd.  What is it that Shepherds do? Shepherds watch for enemies who might attack the sheep. They defend them when necessary. They tend to them when sick or wounded. They search for any that be lost.  They rescue lost or trapped sheep. The good shepherd is sacrificial.  He is willing to ignore his own needs to meet the needs of the sheep. The good shepherd gives his own life for his sheep. The Good Shepherd leads the sheep.  

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Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake,

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

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Such a beautiful connection there.  God is our protector.  Jesus is our Good Shepherd.  He guides us and leads us.  He provides a path for his sheep.  He shows us the Way.  He is the light.

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Apostle Paul makes a connection here as well.

2 Corinthians 4:6

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

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In verse 31, David asks a somewhat rhetorical question.  Who is God?  There isn’t anyone else.  Who is the Rock. There is only one.  There is no one else!  God is the Rock on which we stand.  David is confident and strong because of everything he represents was built upon the Rock- God!  All the other god’s before David at that time in history are counterfeit, phony. What god’s do you currently believe in?  What god’s are in the way so much so that they prevent you from experiencing the fullness of the power of God?  Are you committed to standing on the Rock?

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We see this point established by Jesus in Matthew 7.

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Matthew 7:24-27

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” 

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Our Rock.  Our Foundation.  Our Fortress.  Our Refuge. Amen.

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32 the God who equipped me with strength
    and made my way blameless.

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David is explaining that God has empowered him. That God strengthens us inside and out.  He builds us up and provides power to meet challenges of any kind.  Think of those who wear a support belt around stomach and back at the local gym or Home Depot.  Clearly, the belt is protecting them from injury. However, this appears to be providing support on the outside, but there is a strength provided on the inside as well.  David is alluding to that type of strength. He is speaking of an internal infusion of strength that can only come from God. Through this infusion of power, God makes his way perfect and blameless.  God directs David on the perfect route in his mind and body as well as his literal path.  God’s way is perfect, and He will guide us and lead us to a blameless existence as well.  

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Application: Do we believe in that kind of strength?  Do we trust that God is doing a work inside and out? How is that being reflected each day? Do you believe God will make you blameless on your journey?

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Surrender and submit for starters.  Recognize that His ways are not our ways.  That God’s thoughts are not our thoughts.  Understand that His plan is going to come to realization.  Trust His guidance in His Word. Follow His leading.  Follow the light.  Be the window so that others can see Jesus and His powerful light through you.  This is my Savior.  This is my song. Praising Our Savior all the day long!

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This brings me to the last point.  Jesus, in Matthew 16, asks Peter an important question.

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Matthew 16:13-20

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

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When we read David’s Psalm today, we understand that He truly recognized God as the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth.  We see Jesus asking this pointed question to Peter, and Peter answers clearly and specifically.  You are the Messiah.  The Savior.  The Son of the living God.

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Application: Who do you say that Jesus is?  

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I am not talking about only at this very moment.  Honestly, it is much simpler to say what David and Peter are saying here in the Lord’s House.  However, I am talking about when you walk out those doors.  Who do you say Jesus is then?  Is your life reflecting those words you are saying right now?  Are you living out the truth that you were once lost but now have been found?  Are you living with the confidence of David in the light God has provided to lift us out of the darkness?  

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My prayer is just that today.  Is it clear that you are an ambassador for Christ?  That you are not simply a finger-pointing, condescending, hypocritical Christian? As the worship team comes up, I leave you with two quotes.  Both of these come from a couple of the God’s Not Dead films.

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“I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than stand with the world and be judged by God.” 

In the face of persecution, the main character, a history teacher who stood up for Jesus, gives this statement.

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“The whole world knows what the church is against, but it is getting harder and harder to know what it is for.”

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This last quote comes from the movie appropriately named God’s Not Dead: Light in the Darkness.  

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Is it clear that we stand for Jesus?  His love. His grace.  His mercy.  His goodness. His love.

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God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

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Lord bless you all!