Psalm 18: Stay
Stay. Why don’t we just cut to the chase on this one? Get to the point? Ok. Sounds good to me. What is a stay? In layman’s terms? A stay is what I need to make it through. Through what? Through the night. Through the battle. Through the difficult and demanding times in life. Through the trials. Through the temptations. Through every single test. Through the seasons that are marked with confusion and doubts. Through the disappointments. Through the despair. Through the loneliness. Through the failures. Through the persecution. Through the pain. Through the problem, whatever it may be. Through to the other side. Through to victory. Through the need. Through the deprivation. Through the desperation. Through any conflict and every calamity. Whatever it is that you are currently facing right now, whatever you will face… God is your stay. And He will get your through.
In David’s day and age most major cities were surrounded by high, solid, and impenetrable walls. Enemy armies would march upon the city only to find themselves completely shut out. All the people had run inside and closed the gates behind them. The walls had just become their defense. Couldn’t get through the wall. Couldn’t get over the wall. Couldn’t get under the wall. No way in whatsoever. Now, the smart enemy would simply surround the city and wait. No one came in through the city gates. And no one went out. The hope was that by cutting off all outside sources of provision the people would eventually run out of both food and water. Faced with imminent starvation and death, the people in the city would eventually surrender to the enemy forces. In the end victory was determined by who had the greater reserve of supplies. If the enemy army ran out of food, they packed up and went back home. If the city ran out of food, defeat became certain.
Little has changed during the past few milleniums. Survival in life still depends largely on the size of your stay. All of us have felt the oppression that comes from feeling hemmed in by life. Life can be hard. Life can be difficult. At times we feel ourselves to be surrounded by enemies that are too strong for us. Pain. Failure. Addiction. Unforgiveness. Loss. Death. Disappointment. They box us in emotionally, leaving us feeling cut off and isolated. We do well for a while but as time passes by we begin to wither. We begin to starve. Days become weeks. Weeks become months. Months become years. Finally, we reach a place where we feel like we can’t go on any more. We give up. We give in. And we surrender to the despair.
David understood those emotions well. Too many of us have become so familiar with the story of Goliath that we forget that there was so much more to David’s life. His victory over Goliath was a one day event. His struggle with Saul? That lasted ten long years. David knew what it meant to feel surrounded. He understood all about pain and suffering. He faced discouragement and despair. And yet, in the midst of it all he refused to give up and give in. No matter how desperate or difficult the circumstances David knew that God was his stay. God was his supply. God was his resource. In God he had all the joy he would ever need. All the peace he would ever need. All the hope he would ever need. The situations of life could come against him in all their fury but in His God he had sufficiency to stand, to outlast, to not only survive but also thrive, to step back into the ring one more time, to stay. We all need to learn a lesson from the life of David. Not a one of us can make it on our own. Life is too hard. The enemy is too strong. What is your stay when times get tough? Where do you turn to find strength to endure the storm? On whom do you rely for salvation? Who is your supply? Who is your resource? God is our stay. He is sufficient for our every need. He will never run out, run dry or run away. He is a stay that remains full and faithful in the face of every and any need. Next time life has you surrounded take heart. God will not fail you. He is your stay. And He will get you through.