Only But By The Grace of God: When God Lets You See Victory. Psalm 118:5

Psalm 118:1-7 AKJV

Psalm 118

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good:
because his mercy endureth for ever.
Let Israel now say,
that his mercy endureth for ever.
Let the house of Aaron now say,
that his mercy endureth for ever.
Let them now that fear the Lord say,
that his mercy endureth for ever.

I called upon the Lord in distress:
the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear:
what can man do unto me?
The Lord taketh my part with them that help me:
therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

To lighten the mood, after all, we are approaching a season of thanksgiving;

For some, happiness during this season is a most challenging concept to grasp.

So, first, permit me to share a little humor which someone just sent to me ….

I pray that I may raise a smile on your face an the joy of the Lord in your Soul.

A priest decides to paint the outside three walls of the Youth Sunday School Room on his church one day.

He goes out and buys some paint, comes back to the church, and then he realizes he miscalculated and that he did not buy enough paint to do the job.

He realizes he doesn’t have near enough money to go back to the hardware store so he tries to make what he has to work, spread it out as far as he can.

So he just adds some water into the paint and mixes it inside a larger bucket.

Right before he starts to work, he looks at the length, breadth and height of the three youth room walls again, decides he probably still will not have enough.

So, he adds some more water and spends the whole day painting his church.

Later that next night, there’s a barrage of gusty wind, rain and thunder storm.

When the priest wakes up, he rushes outside, he runs around the Youth Room and he discovers all the rain washed away all of the paint from the building.

He throws his hands up, He looks up, prays, “Lord Jesus, what should I do?”

He hears a loud and clear voice that says


I pray you are smiling at least a little bit ….

A small(?) but self-evident(?), very visible(?) gift from God, a testimony of victory over what just might be or had been a not so small “down-in-the-dumps” life moment.

If not, then count the victory of the energy you saved by smiling even a little bit because it takes it takes a whole lot less muscle energy to generate a tiny smile than it does to keep an “ear to ear” frown pasted all over the front of your face.

Life is full of degrees and measures and all kinds and sizes of victories.

Some are easy to see.

The strongest team gets the trophy.

The luckiest team gets the last second field goal – wins the game on the very last play – time runs out on the opposing team – no time for any comeback.

The prize is given to the fastest.

The reward is earned by practice and preparation.

There is exercise and rehearsals and run-throughs and it is obvious to everyone watching who is the best prepared team, the most excellent, the greatest and the most deserving of the title of victory for that day’s efforts.

Then there are other victories that are not so obvious.

These are the victories that take place within us.

Internal victories.

Like when you are about to get angry and about to “blow your top” at everyone in the room but instead you calm down, settle back down, and stay in control.

Or, there is a temptation.

Maybe just a few seconds of pause, where you think about something just brief enough, for you to realize the terrible consequences and sinful outcome, so you choose in that exact, exacting moment to move beyond it and you overcome the temptation before you act upon it, before you need to ask for forgiveness and so you are graced by God with His Peace, victorious in your walk of faith with God.

Solomon in his wisdom saw how the world is twisted by sin and called life unfair. He said,

“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” Ecclesiastes 9:11 KJV

There are some battles that you are expected, supposed to win because you are the odds on favorite. But out of nowhere comes a “Hail Mary” pass and a shot is made at the final buzzer, you lose, and the crowd goes wild – just not for you.

There are some fights you are expected and supposed to lose.

You are so outnumbered.

You are obviously out manned, over matched (notice College Football Scores!)

You are obviously the underdog.

No one thinks or believes or expects you are going to win.

Even your family members have that look on their face. (Yea…, you know…, the look.) The defeated look that says, “look, just go out there and do your best.”

Your friends say “it’s not about who wins or loses but how you play the game.”

(You only hear that when you are expected to lose.)

“It’s not about who wins or who loses it is just about having fun.”

“It’s not about who wins or who loses its also about learning how to lose with dignity and grace, with honor, integrity and sportsmanship because those are important life lessons to learn and to teach others – “you cannot win them all.”

That can be true when it is just a game.

What about when it is not just a game?

What about when the outcome is much bigger than having bragging rights?

Today we are going to talk about “When God Lets You See Victory.”

I. In tight circumstances God and only by His Grace, lets me see Victory.

From distressed situations, God sets me free.

The Lord is on my side – no reason to be afraid.

Psalm 118:5-7 ESV

Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
    the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
    What can man do to me?
The Lord is on my side as my helper;
    I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

We have all used the phrase, “Wow! That was a close call.”

That phrase means: “Something almost happened.”

It does not necessarily mean something bad happened.

It just means “Something almost happened.” It could mean: “You dodged a bullet.” (What would you say?) “Wow! That was a close call.”

It could mean: “Some crazy driver almost ran you off the road, but they didn’t” (Road Rage aside – What would you say?)

“Wow! That was a close call.”

It could mean: “The doctor ran a series of tests.” But when the test comes back the results are good. (What would you say?) “Wow! That was a close call.”

David said, “I prayed to the Lord and the Lord answered me and rescued me.” Psalm 118:5 NLT David was in one of those exceptionally tight circumstances.

Let me ask you a question to think about.

What Do you believe about the power of prayer?

As you consider the words of this devotional – do you .01% believe in prayer?

The longer you are a Christian and the older, more mature you are in your faith, you grow and you prayerfully begin to understand there are not only different types of prayers but are also just a few different ways God answers our prayers.

Prayers of gratitude where you are thanking God for His blessings and favor.

There are prayers of adoration where you are worshiping and praising God for His greatness.

There are prayers of love where you are expressing your love for God because you are object of His love.

Prayers of repentance where you are seeking God’s forgiveness and mercy.

There are prayers of petition when you are asking God for things we need.

All kinds of different ways to name and state these different types of prayers.

There are all kinds of different ways God answers our prayers.

When you think about, where you are at? What is happening in your life? What your prayer is intended for really depends on how you expect God to answer.

But the real key is to have faith, no matter what your circumstances are God will faithfully answer.

No matter how long it takes. God will answer.

No matter what your need or desire is God will answer with what you need.

In tight circumstances God has been with me, in His name, has let me win.

II. I Have Seen God Do Great and Mighty Things

Acts 16:25-34 ESV

The Philippian Jailer Converted

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer[a] called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

The jailer had fallen asleep while a couple of prisoners were singing hymns.

When he was jolted awake by an earthquake, the prison doors were open.

He had failed miserably at guarding the prisoners. He worried that his superiors might even torture or kill him. He began to think suicide was the only way out.

Soon, though, he learned that he had overreacted.

The situation was not as bad as he had thought. He had assumed the prisoners had escaped through the open doors, but they spoke to him, were still there!

In that moment of crisis, the jailer realized that those two singing prisoners had something he didn’t have.

How could he be saved? Paul and Silas gave a simple answer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved–you and all of your household.”

Many people discover Jesus after a brush with severely negative thoughts.

In many cases, they overreact to a situation that is not really as severe as they originally thought. But at the time, everything seems hopeless. Just in time, however, something stops them from destroying their lives with rash actions.

Then something wonderful happens.

They realize that they are missing something.

They start asking questions, and, like the jailer, they grow to believe in Jesus.

Also like the jailer, they are filled with joy, they have come to believe in the one true God of their salvation, their Savior, the only way from despair to delight.

III. God always does something Bigger, Better, than what we have asked for.

I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.” Psalm 118:5 KJV

“The Lord answered me with wide-open spaces.” Psalms 118:5 CEB

David was on the battle field.

David was in a tight situation.

He was trapped in a small place.

The enemy was closing in on him.

I believe David, in his distress: was praying for God to rescue him.

To let him retreat.

To let him slip through the enemy lines.

To let him find a safe place to take refuge in, to hide.

To give him refuge and safe sanctuary.

To let him withdraw. To let him give ground, so that he and his men could regroup. But that was not even close to the answer that God had for David.

Instead of picking David up and setting him over to the side out of danger, God picked David up and set him down in a large place.

He answered David with wide-open spaces. Now I know a few things about battle strategy. After all I was on the Chess Club in my High School. Go ahead and please smile, that is true but I understand and it was meant to be funny.

I know that if you want to win a fight you need to be on the high ground.

Or you need to have ground cover for fortification an protection. You don’t want to expose yourself on the front line or right straight out in the middle. Those are the people taking the maximum brunt of the battle, are most likely dying first.

But that is exactly what God did to David. God put David right down into the heat of the battle. 

Psalm 118: Verse 10 the hostile nations surrounded me.

Verse 11 they surrounded me and attacked me. Verse 12 they swarmed around me like bees. Verse 13 they tried their best to kill me – but David still lived!

David prayed for one thing but God gave him something else.

This is one of those times that David is not supposed to win.

He is out numbered. He is over extended. He is exhausted. He is in distress. He fervently prays for rescue. But God puts him into the middle of the battlefield.

I’m not even going to ask if anyone here can identify with what is happening to David. The Battlefield is/was, a very real place with very real, lethal dangers.

Because if this has never happened to you, then you should learn to fully respect those who have borne the brunt of those battlefields and to shout “Thank You!”

We should jump up and down and shout praises unto God and come forward to the altar and thank God they lived, survived “from the frying pan into the fire.”

But if you are like me, I committed almost twenty years of my life to my country and in these last several years I have spent more of my Christian life in the fire, with God teaching me invaluable lessons about how to fight my enemy Satan.

This is how God gets us to do what he wants us to do. He prepares our arms for war, our hands to fight an our hearts an souls to care for widows, orphans.

“He loved us unto Savior Jesus’ death on the Cross.” (Hello? Did you hear that?)

Because it takes that kind of testing and struggling and conflict and fire, and fighting the enemy to teach us to trust and obey.

To teach us how to pray. “For there is no other way…, than to say thanks, trust and obey, but our toil he doth richly repay

BUT NOT until we put all of ourselves to lay all the way upon the altar of God.”

There is a significant lesson for everyone to learn in those words of that hymn.

A significant lesson in victory, victorious living, in and through Savior Christ!

Psalm 118 verse 6 David looked to his left…, “The Lord is for me, so I will not be afraid.”

Psalm 118 Verse 7 David looked to his right…, “The Lord is for me, he will help me.”

And God set David down into the middle of the most wide open place where he was most exposed, most vulnerable, where he was his weakest.

And God, by His Grace and His Grace alone – Let David Win!!!

And then God tells us, “How that you and I are going to ‘Win against Satan,’ because we are in a spiritual battle for our soul and the souls of others.”

God says to David,

Psalm118:22 “I’m going to take a stone that all the other builders will reject.”

A stone that all the other architects and designers are going to look at.

They are going to pick it up and look at it and examine it and toss into the pile of rubble and say, “No we are going to do it our way. We are still going to trust in the sacrifice of bulls and goats and rams. We are not going to believe in Jesus.”

Jeremiah 33:1-3 ESV

The Lord Promises Peace

33 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the guard: “Thus says the Lord who made the earth,[a] the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you,  and will tell you great and marvelous and hidden things that you have not known.

But God is going to do something impossible. God is going to do something marvelous. God in His providence is going to do something that they say can’t be done. God is going to take the discarded stone that is rejected by the builders and make it the absolute foundation and the cornerstone of salvation by Grace.

Master Rabbi Jesus explains what is meant by these words given in Psalm 118 to David in Matthew 22:43 

Jesus says, “What it means is the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to the nation that will produce proper fruit.”

Time and time again God tries to point us straight to the cross.

We ask him for small things, He wants to do something bigger than what we are even asking him to do.

We ask God for this little corner over here for protection.

God says, I’m going to give you this wide open space. We ask Jesus to help us make it through from month to month. Jesus says, If you will do what I say, I will give you the Kingdom of My Father. I will give you the Kingdom of God.

In tight circumstances God has often let me win.

And I have seen God do Mighty things in my own life.

God often does something Bigger than what we have asked for.

In conclusion, I don’t have to win every fight to be victorious.

Sometimes it is enough just to survive and pray and learn my lessons, learn of God. His Grace, His Grace alone is going to let us win those impossible battles.

We are not supposed to be able to fight the Devil and win.

But God gives us the victory through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Read Psalm 118:1-7 Amplified again and again … for as long as God requires!

Thanksgiving for the Lord’s Saving Goodness.

118 O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness endures forever.

Oh let Israel say,
“His lovingkindness endures forever.”

Oh let the house of Aaron say,
“His lovingkindness endures forever.”

Oh let those who [reverently] fear the Lord, say,
“His lovingkindness endures forever.”

Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
The Lord answered me and set me free.

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can [mere] man do to me?

The Lord is on my side, He is among those who help me;
Therefore I will look [in triumph] on those who hate me.

1. What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
leaning on the everlasting arms;
what a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning,
safe and secure from all alarms;
leaning, leaning,
leaning on the everlasting arms.

2. O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
leaning on the everlasting arms.

3. What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
leaning on the everlasting arms.
(Refrain) Elisha A. Hoffman

In the name of God, the Father an God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

O Lord, my God you are my refuge, and my strength and my Salvation. You are my ever-present help in times of trouble. When it seems like my world is crumbling around me and I am thrown around by the storms of my life, take away my fear. When I am weak, you are my strength. When I am vulnerable, you are my refuge. When I cry for help, you will answer. Remind me Holy Spirit that you are always with me, you will never leave nor ever forsake me. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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