Psalm 18 (NRSV)
Royal Thanksgiving for Victory
This is a long Psalm; there are only three Psalms longer in the entire collection (78, 89, and 119). Its length is well suited to its theme, as described in the title. The title itself is long, with only one longer in the Psalter (Psalm 60): To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all of his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said:
In the title David tells us whom the Psalm was written for: God Himself, who is the Chief Musician. He tells us more about himself, that we should consider him the servant of the Lord. He tells us the occasion for the writing of the Psalm; possibly not only the immediate aftermath of Saul’s death (described in 1 Samuel 31; 2 Samuel 1), but also of the period leading to David’s enthronement (2 Samuel 2-5) He tells us also something about Saul, who out of great, undeserved kindness is not explicitly counted among the enemies of David (from the hand of all of his enemies and from the hand of Saul).
This Psalm is virtually the same as the Psalm sung by David at the very end of his life, as recorded in 2 Samuel 22. It is likely that David composed this song as a younger man; yet in his old age David could look back with great gratitude and sing this song again, looking at his whole life.
1I love you, O Lord, my strength.
2The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
David piles up names for honoring God!
“I will never be afraid — God Is My Rock!” Sung HERE by GLAD, a Christian a cappella group known for their tight harmonies and intricate arrangements with classical and jazz overtones. Love it! With thanks to Carole McCutcheon.
3I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, so I shall be saved from my enemies.
4The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of perdition assailed me;
5the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.
6In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
Verses 3-6 remind me of Jonah’s prayer:
Jonah 2:5-7 (New Living Translation)
“I sank beneath the waves,
and the waters closed over me.
Seaweed wrapped itself around my head.
I sank down to the very roots of the mountains.
I was imprisoned in the earth,
whose gates lock shut forever.
But you, O Lord my God,
snatched me from the jaws of death!
As my life was slipping away,
I remembered the Lord.
And my earnest prayer went out to you
in your holy Temple.”
7Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry.
8Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9He bowed the heavens, and came down; thick darkness was under his feet.
10He rode on a cherub, and flew; he came swiftly upon the wings of the wind.
11He made darkness his covering around him, his canopy thick clouds dark with water.
12Out of the brightness before him there broke through his clouds hailstones and coals of fire.
13The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice.
14And he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings, and routed them.
15Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
16He reached down from on high, he took me; he drew me out of mighty waters.
17He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me.
18They confronted me in the day of my calamity; but the Lord was my support.
19He brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
20The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me.
21For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22For all his ordinances were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me.
23I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from guilt.
24Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
Romans 6:18 (NIV)
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
25With the loyal you show yourself loyal; with the blameless you show yourself blameless;
26with the pure you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you show yourself perverse.
27For you deliver a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.
Proverbs 3:34 (CEV)
The LORD sneers at those
who sneer at him,
but he is kind to everyone
who is humble.
28It is you who light my lamp; the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
29By you I can crush a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.
30This God—his way is perfect; the promise of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
from Edges of his Ways, by Amy Carmichael:
Psalm 18:30 — As for God, His way is perfect.
God is love, so we may change the word and say, As for Love, His way is perfect. This has been helping me.
One of the ways of Love is to prepare us beforehand for any hard thing that He knows is near. Perhaps this word will be His loving preparation to some heart for a disappointment, or for some trial of faith, something known to others, or some secret sorrow between the Father and His child. As for Love, His way is perfect.
31For who is God except the Lord? And who is a rock besides our God?—
32the God who girded me with strength, and made my way safe.
33He made my feet like the feet of a deer, and set me secure on the heights.
34He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand has supported me; your help has made me great.
“Thy gentleness hath made me great.”
The words are capable of being translated, “Thy goodness hath made me great.” David gratefully ascribed all his greatness not to his own goodness, but to the goodness of God. “Thy providence,” is another reading; and providence is nothing more than goodness in action. Some render it, “Thy help,” which is but another word for providence; providence being the firm ally of the saints, aiding them in the service of their Lord. Or again, “Thy humility hath made me great.” Still the idea is the same. David ascribes all of his own greatness to the condescending goodness of his Father in heaven. May this sentiment be echoed in our hearts while we cast our crowns at Jesus’ feet and cry, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” How marvellous has been our experience of God’s gentleness!
from Morning and Evening, by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
36You gave me a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.
37I pursued my enemies and overtook them; and did not turn back until they were consumed.
38I struck them down, so that they were not able to rise; they fell under my feet.
39For you girded me with strength for the battle; you made my assailants sink under me.
40You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed.
41They cried for help, but there was no one to save them; they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
42I beat them fine, like dust before the wind; I cast them out like the mire of the streets.
43You delivered me from strife with the peoples; you made me head of the nations; people whom I had not known served me.
Isaiah 55:3-5 (NIV)
“I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations that do not know you will hasten to you,
because of the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”
44As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me; foreigners came cringing to me.
45Foreigners lost heart, and came trembling out of their strongholds.
46The Lord lives! Blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation,
47the God who gave me vengeance and subdued peoples under me;
48who delivered me from my enemies; indeed, you exalted me above my adversaries; you delivered me from the violent.
49For this I will extol you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing praises to your name.
50Great triumphs he gives to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.
“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”
Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul.
Thank You, Lord, for making me whole.
Thank You, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation, so rich and free.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.