Psalm 18 - Great Praise from a Place of Great Victory - Page 2 (series: Lessons on Psalms)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

My strength. The Hebrew is “My rock,” although the Hebrew word (tsur) is different from that which is used at the beginning of the verse. Both words denote that God was a refuge or protection, like a rock (a firm, immovable rock) or cliff is to one in danger, though the exact difference between the words may not be obvious. That fact that David saw His God as his strength reminds us of the promise later expressed through Paul: “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). God is my strength, in whom I will trust; as Christ did, and to whom these words are applied in Hebrews 2:13{1]; and as His people are enabled to do even under very distressing and discouraging circumstances: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him” (Job 13:15). David knew the triumph of God’s strength over the long extent of trials Many people fall under the excruciating duration of an extended season of trial, and David almost did (See 1 Samuel 27; 29-30).

In whom I will trust. I have found Him to be such a wonderful refuge that I could trust in Him, and in view of the past I will always confide in him, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

My buckler - The word used here is the same which occurs in Psalm 3:3, where it is translated "shield." The shield (or buckler) was a well-known part of ancient armor, useful in the ancient modes of warfare, when swords, and spears, and arrows were employed, but since they would provide no defense against a bullet or artillery shell they are no longer used, except in specialized applications such as riot control. They were usually made of tough and thick hides, fastened to a rim, and attached to the left arm so that they could be readily thrown before the body when attacked, or so that, as they were usually held, the vital parts of the body would be protected. From this use of the shield it was natural to speak of God as the "shield," or the "Protector" of his people—an designation which is often given to Him in the Scriptures (See Genesis 15:1; Deuteronomy 33:29; 2 Samuel 22:3; Psalm 28:7; Psalm 119:114; Psalm 144:2; Psalm 33:20; Psalm 84:11; Proverbs 30:5). David could say that the Lord was his shield because He covers his head and his heart, so that he is neither slain nor wounded by the darts of his adversaries, and preserves him from the fiery darts of Satan. In Genesis 15:1{2], God announced himself as Abraham's "Shield.” (See also Deuteronomy 33:29; Psalm 3:2; Psalm 5:12; Psalm 84:11; Psalm 119:114; Psalm 144:2)

And the horn of my salvation is a metaphor taken either from horned beasts, or as some say, from the ancient custom of wearing horns of iron upon their helmet, for a crest or military ornament; the raised horn was a sign of victory, and the horn beaten down a sign of being overcome. The "horn" is the means of their defense for many animals. Their strength lies in the horn. The horn is the means of attack and defense for some of the strongest animals; with the horns they push, scatter and destroy their enemies—they are an emblem of power and strength. Hence, the word is used here, as elsewhere, to represent that to which we owe our protection and defense when we are in danger; and the idea here is, that God was to the psalmist what the horn is to animals, the means of his defense. The Lord Jesus is called the “horn of salvation” in Luke 1:69: “And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.” Deliverance comes to those who trust in this Horn.

Compare Psalm 22:21; Psalm 75:4-5, Psalm 75:10; Psalm 92:10; Psalm 132:17; Psalm 148:14.

And my high tower. The Lord is to me what a high tower is to one who is in danger. In Proverbs 18:10 we read, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." The word used here also occurs in Psalm 9:9{3], where it is rendered "refuge." Such towers were erected on mountains, on rocks, or on the walls of a city, and were regarded as safe places mainly because they were inaccessible. Hence, the old castles in Europe were built on lofty places, and in places where they were not easily accessible, and where they are above and out of the reach of every enemy (Isaiah 33:16){4]. The high tower was not only a place of defense, but a place from which one could overlook the country around it, and always be able to discover danger before it could get near.

The Lord was like a high tower (literally, "high place," beyond reach of danger.) to David, for he could run to Him in prayer when he was in danger: “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10); in 2 Samuel 22:3, the following clause is added, “and my refuge, my Saviour, thou savest me from violence.” The psalmist saw the Lord as his High Tower and He possessing all these qualities of defense (and annihilation) was sufficient for any circumstance which might arise.

These various epithets, of which there are nine, show the extensiveness of the safety which is available in Jehovah—the various ways he has to deliver his people from their enemies, and protect them from danger.

3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

I will call upon the Lord. The idea here is that David would constantly call upon the Lord. Whenever he was in trouble or was facing some dangerous situation he would go to the Lord in prayer, and appeal for His help. His past experiences having to do with the Lord had been so encouraging that he was led to put his confidence in Him in all that might happen in the future. He had learned to flee to Him in danger, and he had never put his trust in Him in vain. The idea is, that a proper view of God's dealings with us in the past should lead us to feel that we may put confidence in Him in the future.

What a remarkable discovery, when he became conscious of the fact that the object of his worship possessed the above nine particulars which he has pointed out in the above (v. 2). It is no wonder that he resolves to call upon him; and no wonder that he expects, in consequence, to be saved from his enemies; for who can destroy him whom such a God undertakes to save?
The psalmist will call upon the Lord in prayer, for fresh mercies, and further appearances of the Lord (a theophany){5], and discoveries of his grace and favor. This calling is not going to be something that takes place in the future when he is in danger, though he will appeal to Him anytime he is threatened, but the idea here is a continuing need by the psalmist for the Lord’s presence with him, which will inspire him to pray continually.

(comp. Psalm 5:10, 12; Psalm 6:8-10; Psalm 10:15, 16, etc.).
Who is worthy to be praised. It is the Lord who is worthy to be praised, for His perfect character, the works of His hands, His divine goodness, and more especially for his covenant of grace and blessings in Christ. I will praise Him in prayer, or with a hymn; in him I will place my confidence. The chief thought of this line has also been expressed by the Apostle Paul, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). God is a being who is in every way worthy of praise. I will call upon Him, I will praise Him, and He will save me from my enemies, for no one can obtain their request from God if they do not include His glory with their petition.

So shall I be saved from mine enemies. David’s confidence in God’s readiness and ability to save him from his enemies was founded upon his past experiences, where the Lord saved him from death at the hand of Saul and his own son Jonathan. He had had such ample experience of his protection that he could confide in him as One who would deliver him from all his foes. He had often proved the power of prayer, especially when he came prepared to praise God for the prayers He answered; and therefore he is bold to ask the Lord for all that is good. David has declared the Lord to be the proper object of praises, because He is good and does good: “Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes” (Psalms 119:68). David vows to praise him:
1. By loving him entirely.
2. By trusting in him steadfastly, (See Psalms 18:1).
3. By calling upon him continually, here, and in Psalms 116:2-3{6], which is a psalm very much like this one (in the beginning especially) both for substance and method.
(Comp. Psalm 5:10, 12; Psalm 6:8-10; Psalm 10:15, 16, etc.).

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