Psalm 18 - Great Praise from a Place of Great Victory - Page 1 (Series: Lessons on Psalms)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

April 14, 2014

Tom Lowe


Psalm 18 (KJV)
PART #1: VERSES 1-12


Title: Great Praise from a Place of Great Victory

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said,

1 I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
4 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.
5 The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.
6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.
7 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.
8 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.
10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
12 At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.


Introduction

Of all the Psalms this is the one which can be ascribed with greatest confidence to David. It is found, with some variations, in 2 Samuel 22, and the title is largely taken from 2 Samuel 22:1. It consists of a series of triumphant thanksgivings to God, with which the writer connects a highly figurative account of his deliverance from danger (Psalms 18:4-19), an assertion of his own uprightness (Psalms 18:20-24), and a description of the victories he has won by God's assistance (Psalms 18:29-48).

1 I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.
I will love thee, O Lord. This verse is not found in the song recorded in 2 Samuel 22: the psalm there begins with Psalm 18:2. It is impossible now to determine by whom it was added; but no one can doubt that it is a proper beginning for a psalm that is designed to give an account of God’s many blessings. It produces the feeling which all of us should have when we contemplate how very kind God has been to us. The word translated here as love signifies the most intimate, tender, and affectionate love.
Jehovah the Father is loved for the excellence of His character, because of the works of His hands, of creation and providence; and particularly because of His works of special grace and goodness, and especially because of His love for his people: “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Jehovah the Son is loved because of the loveliness of His person, the love of His heart, and his works of grace and redemption.

Jehovah the Spirit is loved because of his operations of grace; as a sanctifier, comforter, the spirit of adoption, the earnest and pledge of eternal glory.

My strength. The Lord is the source of my strength. He, Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit; is the strength of all His saints. He is the strength of their hearts and their graces; He strengthens that which He has done for them, and in them; He strengthens so that they can do their duty, bear their cross, and every affliction, and He strengthens them so that they can stand against every enemy of their souls.
• Psalm 27:1, "The Lord is the strength of my life."
• Psalm 28:8, "he is the saving strength of his anointed."
• Psalm 29:11, The LORD will give strength to his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.
• Compare: Psalm 46:1; Psalm 73:26; Psalm 81:1; Psalm 140:7.

2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

The Lord is my rock. The thought expressed by David here as well as in other parts of this verse is that he was beholden entirely to God for his safety. To him, He was like a rock, a tower, a buckler, etc., that is, he had obtained from God the protection which a rock, a tower, a citadel, a buckler provided for those who depended on them. The word "rock" as it is used here has reference to the fact that in times of danger an elevated rock would be sought as a place of safety, or that men would flee to it to escape from their enemies. Such rocks abound in Palestine; and by the fact that they are elevated and

difficult of access, or by the fact that those who fled to them could find shelter behind their projecting crags, or by the fact that they could find security in their deep and dark caverns, they became places of refuge in times of danger; and protection was often found there when it could not be found in the plains below. The “high ground” is the preferred position in a battle.

The saints of God can depend on Him for shelter and safety, for resources, support, and divine refreshment; with Him, they are safe and secure, and their hope of eternal life and happiness is built on Him, and therefore, they are safe from all enemies, and from all danger. Christ is called a Rock on all these accounts: “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2).

When David said, “The Lord is my rock” he likely meant it in more than one sense. A rock was of help to the ancient king in several ways:
a. It could provide vital shade, which was always needed in the merciless sun and heat of the desert, as in Isaiah 32:2: “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”
b. It could provide shelter and protection in its cracks and crevasses, as in Exodus 33:22: “And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by.”
c. It could provide a firm place to stand and fight, as opposed to sinking sand, as in Psalm 40:2: “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”

Compare Judges 6:2; Psalm 27:5.

And my fortress. The Lord is my fortress to which I flee for refuge, as the Israelites did to their rocks and strong holds; and as David himself did when banished by Saul, and forced to conceal himself in rocks and caverns, and to retreat for safety to steep hills and precipices rendered by nature almost inaccessible. The Lord has been a fortress to me. The word fortress means a place of defense, a place strengthened so that an enemy could not approach it, or where one would be safe. Such fortresses were often constructed on the rocks or on hills, where those who fled there would be especially safe. The psalmist may have been thinking of those inaccessible heights in the rocky, mountainous country of Judea, where he had often found refuge from the pursuit of Saul. David says, “What those places have been to my body, the Lord has been to my soul.” He was his fortress; a place of strength and safety, fortified by His immeasurable power, where his soul was eternally safe from his enemies. Likewise, the saints of God are kept safe in and by the power of God as if they were in a fortress guarded by a garrison of soldiers: “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5).

Compare Job 39:28.

And my deliverer. The Lord is a living Protector, delivering or rescuing me from my enemies, not a mere inanimate defensive contrivance. He made the way clear for me to escape, delivering me out of all afflictions, and from all temptations, and out of the hands of all enemies; from a body of sin and death, and, at last, from the wrath to come. This refers to his preservation in straits and difficulties. David may have been thinking about all those times when he was almost surrounded and taken captive, but the Lord made a way for his escape; so that, while they got in at one side of his strong hold, he got out of the other, and so escaped with his life. These escapes were so narrow and so unlikely that he plainly saw that the hand of the Lord was in them.

My God. Above all, the Lord is his God, the ever-reliable, the ever-dependable, the impregnable, the One in Whom is the place of total safety. Nothing can harm us when we are hidden in God, for when we are with Him all that would affect us must come through Him. It may seem terrible, but it is under His control, and can only enter with His permission. In my God, I have found all that is implied in the idea of "God"—a Protector, Helper, Friend, Father, Saviour. The notion or idea of a "God" is different from all other ideas, and David had found, as the Christian now does, all that is implied in that idea, in Yahweh, the living God. My God, the strong and mighty One, is able to save, and He is the covenant God and Father of his people; my God is not only the object of my adoration, but He is the one who puts strength in my soul.



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