For you are my lamp, O LORD,
and my God lightens my darkness.
For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
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.
For who is God, but the LORD?
And who is a rock, except our God?
This God is my strong refuge
and has made my way blameless.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
~ Excerpt from the Song of David (2 Samuel 22:29-35)
I love the imagery David uses in this passage: The courage and boldness to rush to meet an entire enemy troop. The agility to leap clean over a wall (I’d love to meet a free runner with that as a life verse). The nimbleness to run as sure-footed as a deer. The strength to bend a bronze bow.
To my knowledge, the Bible never describes David’s physical appearance (except in 1 Samuel 16, as “ruddy, with beautiful eyes, and good-looking” as a young man), but between duking it out with bears and lions trying to steal his sheep, slaying Goliath, being on the run from Saul in the wilderness several years, not to mention the many battles he fought while king of Israel, I think it’s safe to assume that he was pretty competent athletically speaking. And David’s men (about whom another post is coming soon) were the same story; directly preceding David’s song of praise in 2 Samuel is a record of four giants they slew in battle (four individuals, not mobs of men), including one with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot (much more intimidating than the average giant, no?). Case in point: David and his men were probably top notch physically.
Now in light of this, one could argue that all these things—running against platoons of foes, scaling a wall, slaying giants, even bending a bow made out of bronze—while difficult, are not necessarily humanly impossible. Free runners jump over stuff regularly, circus strongmen bend stuff all the time. Sure, we have limits, but aren’t we still capable of some pretty amazing feats on our own?
There’s no doubt that humans are capable of many things, and some of them truly are impressive. But this mentality forgets that there is no such thing as a human “on his own.” Every ounce of strength, every breath, every heartbeat comes from the Maker of all things. He alone gives life to everything (Nehemiah 9:6). No matter how attainable or unattainable you consider a task to be, it’s entirely impossible without God; He is the Provider of all strength, great and small.
As summer swiftly draws to a close and the oncoming school year looms over the horizon (apologies for the ominous reminder), most likely you aren’t at risk of being slain by a giant with an abnormal number of fingers and toes. But do you find yourself faced by giants of a different kind? Do you feel like you’re running up against an enemy troop? Are you faced with a wall that looks too tall to climb? Is there a bow of bronze in your hands that’s too great for you to bend?
Because the God who gives you strength day by day is no different than the God who supplied David and his men with their strength in battle. And the same God who gives your body strength is the provider of strength for your mind, heart, and spirit as well.
Take refuge in Him.
“It couldn’t really be bronze,” said Daniel, puzzled. “The strongest man could not bend a bow of bronze.”
“Perhaps just the tips were metal,” Joel suggested.
“No,” Thacia spoke. “I think it really was bronze. I think David meant a bow that a man couldn’t bend—that when God strengthens us we can do something that seems impossible.”
~ The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth George Speare