It is easy to imagine David singing a psalm like this right before a big battle. In some early (VERY early - as in “before the New Testament was written) versions, this psalm is associated with David’s battle against Goliath, but it could have just as easily been another enemy David had in mind. David would spend much of his life fighting battles - there were many occasions for songs like this one.
If we were to give a title to this psalm, something like “God deserves all the glory” would be appropriate. David is quick to acknowledge that God is responsible for his victory. God is the one who prepared him (v.1-2), God is the one who protected him (v.3-4), and He is the one who gives “victory to kings” and who “rescued David from the fatal sword” (v.10). There is no doubt in David’s mind that God is the one who ultimately deserves credit for his victory.
It is easy - and common - for Christians to have the exact opposite mindset. Frequently we ask God for help before some big challenge is looming in the future- a test, a game, a performance review - only to snatch back the responsibility once we actually succeed. Unless, of course, we lose, in which case we are glad to let God keep the blame.
This “heads I win, tails you lose” approach to our relationship with God is the opposite of relying upon Him. Instead, it treats God, not as our Lord even our partner, but as an insurance provider - someone to call and gripe at when disaster strikes. At its core, it still assumes that we are the ultimate masters of our destiny, and that God is at best a sidekick whose occasional contributions are rarely worth noting.
David’s humility stands in silent judgement of our prideful refusal to acknowledge God’s presence in our lives. Despite his many victories and extensive resumé of accomplishments, he doesn’t hesitate to point to the One really deserving of praise. David eagerly tells any who will listen that it was God who gave him his talents, his calling, and the opportunities for glory. God is the rock - the foundation - for David’s whole life.
Do you find yourself taking all the credit for success, and blaming God for all the failures? Do you ask for His help and then conveniently forget when things go well? Do you really rely upon Him, or just use Him as a scapegoat?
Talk to Him about this today. Ask for forgiveness for the times that you’ve hogged the glory, and ask for clarity to see His work in your life.
And if He gives it to you, try and remember to say “Thanks.”