I have a friend who used to call himself a “cultural Philistine.” He had no interest in the finer things in life, especially poetry. But a radical transformation took place on the day he fell in love. “I couldn’t believe it,” he confessed. “I wrote down endless lists of metaphors for her. She was my diamond, my rose, my dream, my song. She was my universe.” My friend’s experience of love for the woman who became his wife teaches us a wonderful lesson about love for God that we find in the first three verses of Psalm 18. Metaphors for God are the language of love for God—even for cultural Philistines.
Hearts of Love
Every Christian knows that there are times when all we can do is love God on cue. The worship leader tells us to sing to the Lord, and we do our best. We work hard to demonstrate loyalty to God in practical obedience. Have no doubt—God is worthy of our obedience, regardless of whether we feel like we love Him much at the moment.
Still, keep in mind how Jesus spoke of love for God as the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Jesus’ ideal for His followers is that our obedience to God should flow from deep within, from hearts, souls, and minds overcome by love for God.
Psalm 18:1 is a wonderful display of this kind of love. David burst forth, “I love you, O Lord, my strength!” Every Christian has had moments like this. Whether it is in private with a group of friends or in a worship service with many other Christians, the Spirit of God overwhelms us with love for God, who has loved us so much in Christ.
Words of Love
What had brought David to this point? It isn’t hard to see. In Psalm 18:2–3, he set his heart on the ways God had been like a rock, a fortress, a deliverer, a refuge, a shield, a horn of salvation, and a stronghold. In biblical times, these metaphors of love for God meant more than many of us can imagine. As God’s people faced serious, life-threatening troubles so often, few things meant more than something to protect them, to keep them safe, to give them victory. So, when David used these metaphors, he expressed some of his deepest affections for God.
Perhaps it’s been a while since you have felt love for God overflow from within your heart. Take a few moments today, identify some things in life that mean a lot to you, and talk to God about how He is like them. Tell Him how He refreshes you like water, how His Word is sweeter than honey, how knowing Him is greater than having all the gold in the world. If you will follow the Scriptures and set your mind on metaphors for God, you will find your heart stirred with renewed love for the One who made you, saved you, and sustains you every day in Christ.