Psalm 18 - Great Praise from a Place of Great Victory - Page 11 (series: Lessons on Psalms)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

(v. 50) And sheweth mercy to his anointed. David affirmed that the Lord had shown His loyal love (unfailing kindness) to His anointed servant. This concluding verse is another royal Messianic affirmation of the Davidic covenant in 2 Samuel 7.
(v. 50) And sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore. The Psalm ends with David exalting the Lord for His covenant to Him and to his descendents (See 2 Samuel 7). Little children often use their own names when they ask for something (“Please give Tommy a cookie”), and David used his own name here, just like a little child, as he did also in 2 Samuel 7:20—“And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord GOD, knowest thy servant.” David used the term “for evermore,” so he must have realized that it would be through the promised Messiah that the kingdom promises would be fulfilled. “And He shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). All honor and praise is due unto the Triune God alone.
God extends His mercy to us today. This marvelous psalm closes on a note of praise to God. Oh, that there might be praise in your mouth and mine, in your life and mine, in your heart and mine, toward our God. “O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so . . .” (Psalm 107:1-2). If the redeemed do not say the Lord is good, nobody else in the world will. The redeemed ought to say so. We need some “say-so” Christians.

(v. 31) or who is a rock save our God? David said God is His rock (refuge)—See verse 46. God can be trusted for safety and salvation. Moses, at the beginning of his great song about the Lord in Deuteronomy 32, called God, the Rock (v. 4). The Lord is indeed a massive, unshakable foundation and force of protection.

(v. 32) It is God that girdeth me with strength. Here David describes how God gets him ready for battle, giving him strength, agility, and efficiency (vv. 32-34); how God gave him victory over his enemies, pursuing, crushing, and destroying them (vv. 35-42), and how God gave him rule over other nations (vv. 43-45; 2 Samuel 8). Credit for victory is explicitly given to God, who made every step possible. He prepared the way, taught, trained, and led into battle.
(v. 32) and maketh my way perfect. Because God is perfect (v. 30) He could make David’s way perfect. The dominate thought throughout these verses is that David attributed every ability and victory of his to the Lord. Everything he had done and everything he now enjoyed was due to the Lord’s enabling.

(v. 33) He maketh my feet like hinds' feet. God’s help is describes here as giving swiftness to pursue or elude his enemies—“The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer” (Habakkuk 3:19). Swiftness was essential to a successful warrior.

(v. 34) He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. This is not a glorification of war, for God trained him to fight his battles and to protect Israel so they could accomplish His purposes on earth. David has been carefully trained by God. This preparation has been physical; health, strength, and agility have been provided to bring David’s body to completion. It has also been instructional—skill in the use of war-like methods and arms had been gained—and moral: the Lord had freely given him His own equipment for resistance, His means of support in danger, and His gentleness (v. 35); that is, His understanding patience or, more literally, meekness, during all the long years since He so graciously raised a shepherd boy to a throne of power.
David did not invade other countries just to add territory to his kingdom. Whatever territory he gained was the result of his defeating armies that first attacked Israel.
(v. 34) So that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Bronze is probably meant rather than steel. The tips of arrows were made of bronze and the warrior’s bows were strengthened with it.

(v. 35) and thy gentleness hath made me great. Though David was a man of war, he recognized that it was God’s gentleness that made him what he was. The word “gentleness” means condescension. God condescended to look down and call David (See 1 Samuel 16), bend down and mold David, and reach down and save David (v. 16); and then He lifted him up to the throne (vv. 39-45). This reminds us of what Jesus, the Son of David, did when he “stepped down” to come to earth as a servant and die for our sins (See Philippians 2:1-11; See also John 8:1-11 and 13:1-11). Because David was submitted to the Lord, God could trust him with the authority and glory of the throne. Only those who are under authority should exercise authority.

(v. 36) Thou hast enlarged my steps under me means “to make ample room.” That is the idea expressed in Proverbs 22:4: “When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.”

(v. 38) I have wounded them that they were not able to rise. David eagerly accepts the purpose of the training God had put him through. In fullest confidence that god has efficiently and accurately prepared him for this task, he undertakes the subjugation of his foes.

(v.39) For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle. Girding means to bind or secure with a belt: to gird on one's armor. Girding was essential to free motion on account of the looseness of oriental clothing
(v. 39) Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. It is God who works in him. The conquest of his foes (those who rose up are “insurgents”) is really the Lord’s doing.

(v. 40) Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies—literally “backs of the necks”—made them retreat: “O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! (Joshua 7:8).

(v. 42) Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind. As said earlier, this passage can be applied to Christ, and He would be pictured primarily as a man of war. This is consistent with other Scriptures that teach that when He comes back to earth, He will come first of all “To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 15). In verses 37-42, Christ is pictured as pursuing and utterly destroying His enemies after being equipped for war by God the Father.

(v. 43) And thou hast made me the head of the heathen. As the result of his success in battle, the king becomes the head of many nations.
(v. 43) a people whom I have not known shall serve me. Not only does He conquer domestic foes, but foreigners, who are driven from their places of refuge.

(v. 44) The strangers shall submit themselves unto me.
His fame as a warrior caused even people he had not known to come to him cringing in fear. Submit as used here means “to show a forced subjection.”

Verses 46-50 are to be considered together.
After looking back at God’s gracious ministry to him, what else could David do but praise Him? “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). David didn’t take things into his own hands, but allowed the Lord to vindicate him when the time was right (See I Samuel 24:1-7, 26:1-12; Rom 12:17-21).

46 The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.
47 It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me.
48 He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.
49 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.
50 Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.

(v. 46) The LORD liveth contrasts Him with idols: “As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one” (1 Corinthians 8:4). David acknowledged the living God and promised to praise Him (v. 49). Proof that the Lord is alive is that He had rescued David from his enemies.
(v. 46) And blessed be my rock. As his Rock (vv. 2, 31) God was his source of safety and security.

47 It is God that avengeth me implies that his cause is espoused by God as His own, and therefore, there is no vindictiveness; it is a declaration that God and not man had asserted the rightness of David’s cause.

(v. 48) Thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me. David said that God lifted him up to honors and safety.
(v. 48) Thou hast delivered me from the violent man. I believe the violent man is Satan.

(v. 49) Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. Paul quoted verse 49 in Romans 15:9, “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.” In Romans 15:10-11{6], the Jews and Gentiles rejoice together—the result of Paul’s ministry to the gentiles—and then Romans 15:12{7] announces Jesus Christ reigning over both Jews and Gentiles—“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious” (Isaiah 11:10). This verse conveys a promise by David that he will utilize his dominion over many nations to spread abroad the praise of God.

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