This God set things right for me and shut up the people who talked back. He rescued me from enemy anger, He pulled me from the grip of upstarts, He saved me from the bullies, (Psalm 18:47-48 MSG). David knew what it felt like to be controlled and threatened by bullies. He suffered more at the hands of his domestic foes—chiefly, Saul--than his foreign foes. Mighty as he was, David also knew that it was God, and God alone, who saved him from torment and death many times over.
“Upstarts” are people who rise suddenly from a low position to a place of wealth and power. An upstart, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is one who claims more personal importance than is warranted. They are status-seekers, social climbers, and snobs. “Servanthood” and “humility” are not in their vocabulary, and when we fall prey to such a person, life becomes very unpleasant.
The good news is that the Lord has the stronger grip! Psalm 40:2 (The Message) declares, He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud. He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn't slip. The words “deep mud” mean clay, dirt, or mire that is sticky. Figuratively it means calamity, which describes exactly what happens when we get into sticky situations with bullies and snobs, or the “upstarts” we encounter in life.
Even a first-grader can describe the fear and intimidation a playground bully causes. Perhaps our first experience in the sticky miry clay of an upstart actually was a sandbox or playground. Certainly, by the time little league, soccer, or swimming lessons commenced, the sticky situations with teammates and classmates intensified. As adults, we quickly learn who the upstarts are, and do whatever we can to avoid them and the sticky situations they initiate.
Look to the Lord for help in sticky situations! He pulled me from the grip of upstarts; He saved me from the bullies, David proclaimed. Not only does the Lord pull us from the grip of bullies and tormentors, but He also puts us on a solid Rock to make sure we won’t slip again. Christ Jesus is our solid Rock. God’s promise to us--no matter the sticky situation we find ourselves in—is this: Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you, (Isaiah 41:10 The Message).
Maybe you are facing an uncomfortable, sticky situation. Maybe you are in the annoying grip of an upstart. Ask the Lord to pull you from that grip with His righteous right hand. Declare His promise to us: I’ll hold you steady and keep a firm grip on you!
© 2021, Chris Werre