Psalm 18 — Victory in God — Reading the Psalms

For 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 love thee, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
My God, my strong rock, in him will I trust;
My shield, and the horn of my salvation, 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 cords of death compassed me,
And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
5 The cords of Sheol were round about me:
The snares of death came on 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 before him came into his ears.
7 Then the earth shook and trembled,
The foundations also of the mountains 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 thick darkness was under his feet.
10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly:
Yea, he flew swiftly upon the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his hiding place, his pavilion round about him;
Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
12 At the brightness before him his thick clouds passed,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens,
And the Most High uttered his voice;
Hailstones and coals of fire.
14 And he sent out his arrows, and scattered them;
Yea, lightnings manifold, and discomfited them.
15 Then the channels of waters appeared,
And the foundations of the world were laid bare,
At thy rebuke, O LORD,
At the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.
16 He sent from on high, he took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy,
And from them that hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
18 They came upon me in the day of my calamity:
But the LORD was my stay.
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 judgements were before me,
And I put not away his statutes from me.
23 I was also perfect with 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 the perfect man thou wilt shew thyself perfect;
26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure;
And with the perverse thou wilt shew thyself froward.
27 For thou wilt save the afflicted people;
But the haughty eyes thou wilt bring down.
28 For thou wilt light my lamp:
The LORD my God will lighten my darkness.
29 For by thee I run upon a troop;
And by my God do I leap over a wall.
30 As for God, his way is perfect:
The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield unto all them that trust in him.
31 For who is God, save the LORD?
And who is a rock, beside our God?
32 The God that girdeth me with strength,
And maketh my way perfect.
33 He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet:
And setteth me upon my high places.
34 He teacheth my hands to war;
So that mine arms do bend a bow of brass.
35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation:
And thy right hand hath holden me up,
And thy gentleness hath made me great.
36 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me,
And my feet have not slipped.
37 I will pursue mine enemies, and overtake them:
Neither will I turn again till they are consumed.
38 I will smite them through that they shall not be able to rise:
They shall fall under my feet.
39 For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle:
Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.
40 Thou hast also made mine enemies turn their backs unto me,
That I might cut off them that hate me.
41 They cried, but there was none to save:
Even unto the LORD, but he answered them not.
42 Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind:
I did cast them out as the mire of the streets.
43 Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people;
Thou hast made me the head of the nations:
A people whom I have not known shall serve me.
44 As soon as they hear of me they shall obey me:
The strangers shall submit themselves unto me.
45 The strangers shall fade away,
And shall come trembling out of their close places.
46 The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock;
And exalted be the God of my salvation:
47 Even the God that executeth vengeance for me,
And subdueth peoples under me.
48 He rescueth me from mine enemies:
Yea, thou liftest me up above them that rise up against me:
Thou deliverest me from the violent man.
49 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the nations,
And will sing praises unto thy name.
50 Great deliverance giveth he to his king;
And sheweth lovingkindness to his anointed,
To David and to his seed, for evermore.

This is a grand psalm full of excitement and powerful images. One of the Bible’s great pictures of God is revealed by David’s words. God is a powerful warrior and avenger! A great worker of mighty deeds.

The psalm is in honor of David’s victory over all his enemies. Life’s trials were not over, but the constant problem of outside attackers was at an end. His celebratory psalm, though full of praise, is not the usual and simple kind. Instead, in his work to honor God for his greatness and power, David’s description of God’s work takes on the feel of the great epic. God arrives, flying in on clouds and cherubim full of fire and fury. Nothing can stand before him, yet David is in God’s favor.

Such is the God of David’s faith and like unto him does David grow. He is taught to war and vanquish evil. He has strength to leap and can stand because God holds him up. What excited me in my reading today is that David’s foes feel to be more than the mere Philistine. The descriptions of his difficulties sounded more relatable than that. It sounded like the kind of help I need for my day to day distractions and temptations.  More than merely a psalm of giant Philistines with spears, this became a psalm of our triumph over temptation and the felling of fear.

Through God we can leap over a wall. By God we have sure feet, even in rocky times. With God’s help, we will live.

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