Psalm 18 - Great Praise from a Place of Great Victory - Page 8 (series: Lessons on Psalms)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

April 19, 2014

Tom Lowe


Psalm 18 (KJV)
PART #2: VERSES 13-50

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,

Commentary
13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.
14 Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.
15 Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.
16 He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.
18 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.

(v. 13) The LORD also thundered in the heavens. The storm breaks forth—the Lord’s voice resounded in the heavens. Thunder and lightning (v.14) were His arrows, and hail with repeated lightning, which often seems like balls or coals of fire, rained down from heaven. The description of the Lord’s intervention given in this psalm, and especially in verses 7-19, is called a theophany, one of many in the Old Testament, in which God visibly manifests Himself. Because we are human, we look for God in a human form and miss Him when He comes in the midst of a tempest, as this psalm describes. The theophany characteristically has two parts: the Lord leaves His residence and nature reacts. It is therefore a highly poetic and vivid way of describing the fact that the God of Israel intervened in history on David’s behalf. The entire psalm is a celebration of that fact.

(v. 14) Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them.

The Lord sent lightning bolts like arrows to scatter His enemies.

(v. 14) And he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. The fiery brightness of lightening shaped like burning arrows rapidly shot through the air, accurately describes the most terrible part of a fierce storm. Before the terrors of such a scene the enemies of god are confused and overthrown in dismay.

(v. 15) Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke. The trenches of the seas and the foundations of the world were revealed at His coming. This poetic description of God’s divine intervention in battle portrays a tremendous storm in which God used many of the awesome phenomena of nature. Such terrible events were understood as expressions of God’s judicial wrath—“Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth” (Psalm 18:7). Who can stand before such a God?

(v. 16) He sent from above pictures a heavenly scene where the Almighty is seated on a throne directing these terrible scenes. God—sent—His hand reached down to His humble worshipper, and delivered him (drew me out).

(v. 16) He drew me out of many waters. Many waters means “many calamities.” Like Moses, he was drawn out of the water (Exodus 2:10{2]). In these verses (16-19), David explained that by such an intervention the Lord rescued him from “the waves of death (v. 4).” It was as if he were drowning in the midst of his strong enemies (v. 17), and the Lord drew him out of the deep water, because He delighted in him (v. 19), and led him to a place of safety.

Such a dramatic portrayal of divine intervention suggests similarities with the giving of the Law (See Exodus 19:16-18). Similar events are recorded in Joshua 10:11, Judges 5:20, and 1 Samuel 7:10. Descriptions like this are also frequent in prophetic visions of divine intervention (See Isaiah 29:6; 30:27; 64:1; Habakkuk 3:3-4{8]).

(v. 17) He delivered me from my strong enemy. Oh, how you and I need a personal, vital relationship with God! Let’s come to grips with Him. He has delivered us from the enemy. Do you need help today? Do you need a partner today? I want to recommend One to you. He will never desert you. He will never leave you alone. He will never forsake you. He says, “. . . lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). That is the reason you should depend on Him instead of depending on any human being. Psalm 118:8 says, “It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man.”

David called on the Lord (Psalm 18:6{1]), and at just the right time, God reached down and delivered David from his strong enemies. The earth shook, the

Lord thundered, and deliverance came. God crushes, smashes, bruises, wounds and maims the foe until he retreats in utter defeat. In graphic figures like those describing the theophany when the Law was given at Mount Sanai, the power of God is demonstrated. Then, centuries later, He reaches down and takes Christ from the still sealed tomb. Hallelujah! Christ is risen!

(v. 17) He delivered me . . . from them which hated me. David said that those who hated me had charged him with having hands that were not clean (v. 20), that is, with crimes such as murder, violence, stealing, bribery, and unjust gain (See Psalm 24:4; Job 9:30). Through some solemn procedure in the temple his innocence must have been pronounced.

(v. 18) but the LORD was my stay. The enemy fell in defeat, but David stood firm, supported by the Lord (See Psalm 23:4). He was now king of Israel. Ten years of exile were ended, his life had been spared, and his ministry lay before him.

Verses 19-27 are to be considered together.
The word “distress” in verse 6{3] means “to be in a tight place, in a corner, hemmed in,” but when the storm was over, David found himself in a “large place” where he could take large steps of faith in serving the Lord (See Verse 36). God enlarged David’s trials (Psalms 25:17{4]), and used them to enlarge David—“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer” (Psalm 4:1). David wasn’t perfect, nor are we, but he was “a man after God’s own heart” (See I Samuel 13:14; Psalm 15:28) and a man with a shepherd’s heart (See Psalm 78:70-72; 2 Samuel 24:17). God delighted in David the way parents delight in the maturing of their children in character, obedience and service.

19 He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
20 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22 For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me.
23 I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.
24 Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.
25 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;
26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself forward.
27 For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.

(v. 19) He delivered me, because he delighted in me.

“Distress” (v. 18:4) consists of being hemmed in by trouble; “deliverance” means to be set at liberty and thus unrestricted—“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer” (Psalm 4:1).

(v. 20) The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness. After describing his deliverance by the Lord, David explained it in terms of his faith in the Lord his God. By faith David had kept his integrity (righteousness, vv. 20, 24) before God.

David’s righteousness is not limited to his relations with Saul; it has been upheld in every phase of his life which he claims to be upright, honorable, merciful, single-hearted, and pure. David saw God’s faithfulness to him as the just reward for his own faithfulness to God. He, rather than his enemies (vv. 26-27) had been rewarded.

(v. 20) According to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. David declares here that one reason for his deliverance was that God was rewarding him for the cleanness (vv. 20, 24) of his hands (i.e., his life); and as just stated, for his righteousness. But this is a comparative rather than an absolute self-evaluation. All of this is made possible by trust in God.

(v. 21) For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. David testified that he had not turned (departed) from God; that he had walked in God’s ways, obeyed His laws and decrees (v. 22), and kept himself from sin (v. 23). God honored his obedient servant with tremendous victories.

(v. 22) And I did not put away his statutes from me. David knew God’s law and obeyed it, in spite of the difficult circumstances of his exile. In the spirit of Samuel (1 Samuel 12:3) and Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:3) his affirmation of righteousness was an evidence of humility and honesty, not pride and deception. Note the use of the words righteousness and cleanness (vv. 20, 24), upright (blameless, vv. 23, 25, and pure (v. 26).



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