Liquid Courage

Psa. 108
1 My heart is steadfast, O God!
I will sing and make melody with all my being!
2 Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!
6That your beloved ones may be delivered,
give salvation by your right hand and answer me!

11 Have you not rejected us, O God?
You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
12 Oh grant us help against the foe,
for vain is the salvation of man!
13 With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes.

Liquid Courage

No single human being has ever been free from a little bit of stage fright. This psalm of David is actually a combination of 57:7–11 and 60:5–12. Both of these Psalms focus on dealing with fear. David is singing this Psalm knowing that he is about to enter into the performance of his lifetime—a battlefield. He ends the psalm with a prayer to deal with his fears and anxieties, “Oh grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man! With God we shall do valiantly.”(v13)

There are two ways to deal with his “stage fright” or being performance driven. One method to deal with our fears is to give ourselves a coaching session or “pep talk.” In it you will remind yourself how you actually possess all the qualities necessary to conquer your fears. You will begin to puff yourself up and become unrealistic about your limitations. In fact the way we often deal with fear is by appealing to an indirect form of pride. St Paul talks about this in Philippians 2:3 when he admonishes us to do nothing out of “vainglory” or “conceit.”

David tells us that the one way of dealing with our fears is very much how Goliath dealt with them. It is the way of empty glory and false courage.

The Christian way of dealing with fear is not a path of empty glory, but of glory emptying. As Shakespeare put it, we must “divest ourselves of borrowed glories”(Henry V). We need to acknowledge that any glory we may have was never actually our own. It was only on loan from the Glorious One. David acknowledges this saying, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! That your beloved ones may be delivered,” (v5-6).

Unfortunately, we easily can take this glory-emptying as another task we need to accomplish. But David tells us that we cannot deliver ourselves. In fact is it God that does the deliverance. Just as Israel needed a champion to defeat Goliath, so we need a champion to defeat our fears. If you remember the story of David and Goliath, it is about two champions meeting on the field of battle. Whichever Champion wins, his victories will be imputed to that people group. The vicarious warrior who loses will representatively impute his loses to all his people. When Jesus performs the ultimate self-emptying he is giving us his glory. All our defeats become his and all his glories become ours. (Phil 2:5-11)

David prays that his Champion will impute His victories, His glories and His wins to his people –without them ever lifting a finger. May our trust in our Champion Jesus be credited as righteousness, glory and courage.