Weds 19 January - Psalm 18
1 I love you, Lord, my strength.
3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
7 The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
8 Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
9 He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.[d]
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
20 The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
I am not guilty of turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.
24 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop[e];
with my God I can scale a wall.
30 As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
and your right hand sustains me;
your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet,
so that my ankles do not give way.
37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them so that they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.
39 You armed me with strength for battle;
you humbled my adversaries before me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.
41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
to the Lord, but he did not answer.
42 I beat them as fine as windblown dust;
I trampled them[f] like mud in the streets.
43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
you have made me the head of nations.
People I did not know now serve me,
44 foreigners cower before me;
as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
45 They all lose heart;
they come trembling from their strongholds.
46 The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God my Savior!
47 He is the God who avenges me,
who subdues nations under me,
48 who saves me from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
from a violent man you rescued me.
49 Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing the praises of your name.
50 He gives his king great victories;
he shows unfailing love to his anointed,
to David and to his descendants forever.
- - -
Meditation on Psalm 18
Meditation on Psalm 18:1-
There are only three psalms longer than this psalm – 78; 89 and 119. This one has only 50 verses – I can’t wait to get into Psalm 119!
This psalm is a culmination of David’s experiences and his relation to the LORD.
In the preface to the psalm he is referred to as ‘the servant of the LORD’
There are a number of other references in the psalms to David being ‘the servant of the LORD’. – e.g. 78:70; 89:3, 20, 39; 132:10 and 140:10.
The context of this song of praise and thanksgiving is the deliverance he experienced from ‘all his enemies’ – cf 2 Samuel 8:1-14, the last verse of which says, ‘the LORD gave David victory wherever he went’.
The other context is the deliverance he experienced ‘from the hand of Saul’.
This psalm is an almost word-for-word echo of 2 Samuel 22.
It’s a psalm of praise and thanksgiving with no requests at all. Again, we do well to note that in our own prayer life. We are very quick to give God our ‘shopping list’ but we also need to spend time in thanksgiving and praise.
- AN OUTPOURING OF PRAISE Verses 1-3a
“I love you LORD” Scholars tell us that this is an unusual use of the Hebrew word for love. This one speaks of ‘passion’.
David tells us why he loves the LORD with such passion. He uses concepts that we can understand and he personalises them in his use of ‘my …’
The LORD is:
- ‘my strength’. cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ‘He said to me, “my grace is sufficient for you for my strength / power is made perfect in weakness.” ‘
- ‘my rock’ - speaks of shelter, of protection, of stability, of refuge.
- ‘my fortress’ – speaks of safety and of strength.
- ‘my deliverer’ – speaks of rescue and salvation.
- ‘my shield’ – speaks of protection.
- ‘the horn of my salvation’ – speaks of strength.
- ‘my stronghold’ – speaks of safety.
How would I finish this sentence – ‘I love you Lord, my _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ‘?
He is my Saviour.
Remember, He is ‘worthy of praise’.
- A CRY FOR HELP IS ANSWERED Verses 3b-6a
We know that David faced many battles, both within himself and from his enemies. But here he is giving thanks that the LORD has ‘saved him from his enemies.’
He is descriptive about these battles - ‘cords of death’; ‘torrents of destruction’; ‘the cords of the grave’; ‘the snares of death’.
But he makes the outcomes clear – ‘I have been saved’ because ‘He has heard my voice.’
- HE HEARD MY VOICE Verses 6b-15
One commentator puts these verses like this: ‘The LORD came to the aid of His servant, depicted as a fearful theophany (divine manifestation) of the heavenly Warrior descending in wrathful attack upon David’s enemies.’
We do well to remember that this is the same God who will one day have the final victory over Satan and all his attacks on the people of God. The battle will be fierce but God will have the victory.
What pictures these words and phrases conjure up:
- the earth trembled
- the foundations of the mountains shook
- smoke …
- consuming fire…
- burning coals…
- the heavens parted and He came down
- dark rainclouds…
- hailstones and bolts of lightning
- He shot His arrows
- the blast of breath…
He will have the victory over all his enemies.
- HE RESCUED ME Verses 16-19
Here is a picture for us of the great salvation that Jesus secured for us on Calvary’s Cross and through His glorious resurrection.
Here is another compelling reason for praise and thanksgiving.
- He reached down…
- He drew me out of deep waters
- He rescued me…
- He supported me…
- He brought me to a spacious place
And why? Because ‘He delighted in me’.
Why did Jesus go to the Cross? Because God delighted in you and me and longed to bring us into that relationship with Him whereby we can say ‘Abba Father’.’
Just as God brought His people out of Egypt into the Promised Land, so He is preparing that spacious land for us who know Him and will spend eternity with Him in that new Promised Land that He is preparing for us.
- HE HAS REWARDED ME Verses 20-24
These are not the easiest verses to understand. Is David saying “What a wonderful boy I am?” No he is not.
Let me borrow some words from Michael Wilcock: ‘We are not to imagine that it was David’s virtues which originally endeared him to the Lord. The springs of that first delight were not in David’s deserving but in God’s undeserved and unaccountable love, exactly as Moses had said in Deuteronomy 7:7-8: ‘The LORD set His affection on you’ for no other reason than ‘that the LORD loved you’. The claim and the reward in verses 20-24 are the making of a relationship which has already been made … it is, in fact, a confidence that those who, out of love for the Lord, want to walk in the ways of the LORD will find that the blessings of the Lord will come to meet them there. He delights to reward obedience.’
- HE RESPONDS TO EACH Verses 25-29
God knows each one of us and He deals with us in accordance with His love for each one of us.
God has no favourites and He shows no favouritism. He responds to each of us as He sees we need.
How gracious is our God in His dealings with us.
Because He knows us through and through, we can have that confidence in Him as ‘He keeps my lamp burning’ and ‘He turns my darkness into light.’
And this enables us to reach out in faith and trust as we face various challenges. We can face the enemy – ‘a troop’ and we can get over ‘the wall’ – but only with God’s help.
- HE ENABLES US Verses 30-36
He doesn’t make mistakes. His way does not fail. He knows what He is doing. His Word is tried and tested and has never failed, either in a specific promise or in its entirety.
He protects those who come to Him for refuge.
There is no other god like our God.
There is no other rock on whom we rest – God alone is that Rock.
And there’s more!
- He gives me strength
- He keeps my way secure
- He gives me the skills
- He trains me
- He helps me
- He provides for me
God is on my side – He delights in me. How great is our God.
- HE GIVES THE VICTORY Verses 37-45
David acknowledges that any of his victories are because of the LORD’s intervention.
Note the verses where David speaks of his personal involvement - ‘I … I … I … I…’
But note the verses where David speaks of the LORD’s involvement – ‘You … You … You … You …’
So for us today. God has provided all we need to survive, to win the battles, to show to others how great He is.
In David’s case, he could say, ‘you have made me the head of nations. People I did not know now serve me…’
We might not become a head of nations but whatever God has entrusted to us, He will give us all the resources we need to serve Him.
- THE LORD LIVES Verses 46-50
What a way to end this wonderful psalm – to be reminded that the One we serve is alive.
He is sovereign. He is exalted. He is the Saviour. His love is unfailing.
‘Therefore, I will praise you, LORD among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name.’
- - -