In psalm after psalm we see that David exhibited his faith in the Lord. Although in his descriptions, we understand that he faced many difficulties, from enemies that pursued him to those who betrayed him. Yet, the common theme throughout the psalms David wrote is his believing loyalty to Yahweh.
Men rose up on every side to do him wrong, but because his hope was in the Lord, he knew that none could ultimately prevail against him. Truly the Lord was his weapon – his sword and his shield – before which all his enemies must fall.
The secret that David had in Yahweh was exactly that which no one who came against him had. What was that secret? Psalm 20:7 tells us:
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
The difference for David was where he placed his trust. Those who don’t know God will place their faith in that around them which gives them hope. They think that the things of the world can protect and save them. In David’s case, for that which he wrote about in this psalm, his enemies thought that by the sheer number of their horses and chariots, they could win against him.
But David knew the truth. Those material things were useless. It didn’t matter how fierce the horses were in battle or the composition of the chariots, i.e. whether made of brass or iron, these weapons of war could never stand against the Lord God Almighty. The Name of the Lord was a high tower, a fortress none could breach. The armies of the host of heaven were far greater than anything men on earth could muster against David, and he knew it. What a mighty God he served!
We see the same mentality of unbelievers in the account of Paul in Ephesus. He had been preaching and teaching about Jesus. This doctrine became known as the Way. Seeing that many people were converting in their faith to follow Jesus, those in the city who made their living crafting idols objected because they felt that their livelihood was threatened. Rightly they discerned that if enough people turned away from pursuing the god these craftsmen honored that they’d sell fewer items.
In the way of men who have put their faith and trust in material things and profited monetarily, this was something they could not countenance. They had to stop Paul and those around him from preaching the Good News. The “horses and chariots” of the silversmiths, i.e. the idols they made to the god Artemis, were the thing in which they trusted. It was in mammon, i.e. the money they earned, where their heart was.
The account of what happens next is somewhat amusing. All of Ephesus got riled up, and as often happens, a group formed and was inflamed by a few individuals. But mobs have this common characteristic which Acts 19:32 describes:
Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together.
Mobs are brainless organisms. They are typically composed of followers who trust in the things of this world. They act in confusion because they have no moral principles – no guiding light that enables them to see and act upon truth. Such people who join in the multitudes who comprise mobs are those who rely on “horses and chariots.” Inevitably there is a rabble-rouser inciting them to violence.
In whom or what is your confidence in this life? When confronted by difficult choices, do you hold to your own ways and try to escape your problems by the means that you devise on your own? Is your trust in yourself and your own resources? Or, like David and Paul, is your confidence in the Lord? Do you give Him the issues you confront, put them in His hands, and allow Him to work them out? Or, do you think He needs your help, so that you always must have a part in the solution?
The concept I’ve often suggested that’s critical to how we live is that of believing loyalty. Is our faith and trust in God so strong that we allow Him to do all that we as frail humans cannot, or is our assurance in our own flesh?
Let us, as David proclaims in Psalm 21:13 give our all to God in this way:
Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength!
We will sing and praise your power.