Fair and Gracious
(25) With the merciful you show yourself merciful. With the blameless man you show yourself blameless. (26) With the pure you show yourself pure, but with the twisted you show yourself perverse, (27) for you deliver a humble people, but you bring down (those with) haughty eyes. (28) For it is you who lights my lamp. Yahweh, my God, illumines my darkness. (29) For with your help 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 Yahweh is proven true. He is a shield to all who take refuge in him.
In this segment, we first consider how God deals with humanity in general (vss. 25-27). Then the psalmist’s focus narrows, examining how Yahweh deals with those in covenant relationship with him (vss. 28-30). David offers this important principle that God deals with each of us in the same way we choose to relate to him. If we respond to him positively, seeking to know him better and imitating his ways by striving to be merciful, blameless, and pure, God will, in turn, be merciful to us. However, if we respond negatively, sinfully pursuing our own wicked inclinations, he will then treat us “perversely” (vs. 26). This word reflects the self-centered viewpoint of the wicked who would naturally consider a holy God’s disapproval of their sinful behavior as “perverse.” In James’ epistle we find the New Testament counterpart to verse 27: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (4:6).
Two metaphors help convey David’s observations. First, God “lights my lamp,” that is, illumines my darkness so that I can see and understand who I am and what I should be doing (vs. 28). Then God strengthens me for combat so that I can endure hard fought battles and overcome my enemies (vs. 29). To put it in a phrase, “Light for my darkness, strength for my weakness.” To conclude this paragraph, David offers praise for three great truths about our God: his way is perfect, his word is true, and he shields those who seek his protection (vs. 30).
I. God’s fairness (25-27)
II. God’s favor (28 & 29)
III. God’s faithfulness (30)
We can always trust God to respond to us fairly and graciously.
Of the several “I am” statements Jesus gave his disciples in the Gospel of John, the favorite for many is “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn. 14:6). In this one verse we recognize and rejoice in the complete access our relationship with the Son provides for us into the Father’s presence. Paul expressed this same truth to Timothy: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).
Note how Psalm 18:30 embodies the same three-fold description, “way, truth, life,” which Jesus would later apply to himself. God’s way is perfect just as Jesus shows us the perfect way to God. The word of Yahweh is proven true just as Jesus embodies the very truth of God. As our refuge and shield, Yahweh preserves our lives just as Jesus gives us abundant life in himself. Jesus is indeed the way, the truth, and the life, the beloved Son, our Savior, through whom we have full access to the Father.