Praise our God, you nations! Loudly proclaim his praise! He preserves our lives and does not allow our feet to slip. For you, O God, tested us; you purified us like refined silver. You led us into a trap; you caused us to suffer. You allowed men to ride over our heads; we passed through fire and water, but you brought us out into a wide open place. I will enter your temple with burnt sacrifices; I will fulfill the vows I made to you, which my lips uttered and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble. I will offer up to you fattened animals as burnt sacrifices, along with the smell of sacrificial rams. I will offer cattle and goats. Come! Listen, all you who are loyal to God! I will declare what he has done for me. I cried out to him for help and praised him with my tongue. If I had harbored sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. However, God heard; he listened to my prayer. God deserves praise, for he did not reject my prayer or abandon his love for me! (Psalm 66:8-20 — NET)
This man of God (David) spoke from experience... from many experiences of God’s mighty, delivering power. He praised God for preserving his life and the lives of those who were with him. Though God had allowed them to be tested and refined like silver, though they had gone through both fire and water, had been trapped and allowed to suffer, though enemies had ridden over their heads on horseback… in the end God gave them victory and led them into a wide open place. This psalm is David’s testimony; he had cried out to God for help and praised Him even before the answer had come; he had kept his heart pure—and the Lord heard and answered him!
In another psalm David says: “Even young lions sometimes lack food and are hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
No one has promised that being a servant of God would be easy. We’re pictured in the Bible as strangers and aliens in this world, but at the same time the Lord Jesus Christ has promised to be with us, to help us, and to strengthen us. He even told us to rejoice in trials and persecutions, because our reward in heaven, and on earth, will be great. So refuse to get discouraged when it seems that God is not answering your prayers. Be strong when your faith is being tested. Hold firm to your confidence and faith in Him. In temptations, trials, delays, and times of refining, be strong and courageous. God will eventually lead you into a wide open place—a man or woman of greater spiritual power and resilience, who will be more determined than ever to never accept defeated. And when this happens, fulfill your vows to Him, bring sacrifices to His altar as a small demonstration of your thankfulness.
If this was David’s practice, it would be a good idea for us to follow in his footsteps. What he accomplished in life is proof that his ways work.