Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Psalm 18 – Song of Epic, Delivered Praise

“I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” ~Psalm 18:1-2 (NRSV).

A psalm contained within the book of Samuel seems so fitting given that David, the King of Israel, and supreme poet and musician, is on display. Psalm 18 finds itself slotted, also, neatly into 2 Samuel 22.

As we read those first two verses we can understand the intimacy that the anointed one shared with God. Isn’t it wondrous that we, too—considered like David—are promised the same access to the Father through the blood of the Lamb?

There is a loose threefold structure visible.

1. God’s Anatomy of Characteristics

The first twenty verses of this 50-verse psalm centre on the qualities of God through the eyes of an untarnished King. (The timing of this psalm appears to be before the event of David’s adultery with Bathsheba, and his murder of Uriah.)

Whatever our viewpoint, God deserves the praise of no other. And David states this, in verses 4-6, because of his faith in the Lord’s deliverance. This confidence is borne out of the resonating brilliance of God manifest in the natural created world.

This Lord is a strong Avenger in verses 16-19. And spaciousness (of peace) is the nature of the support David found.

As we consider the incomprehensible realm of God—inclusive of the Divine nature and Celestial ‘other-than’ pedigree—we find reason for hope in all circumstances.

2. The Innocence of Youth

Verses 20-24 provide an intriguing hinge for the entire psalm. David appears self-righteous here, and that, there, is an allusion to his youth. He claims to “have kept the ways of the Lord,” and “was blameless before [God].”

We would rarely dare to openly claim this level of holiness, and we might find it difficult to comprehend David seeing himself so righteous and just.

But, the Scripture is what it is. It surely reveals—in our heart of hearts—we, too, will also belch our innocence before the Lord. It’s probably only pride when we’ve got it wrong; when we claim to be innocent and, yet, we’re at least partially at fault as so often happens. Still, it’d be a brave person to compare themselves, in sanctity, to David!

3. The LORD – Deliverer of Fallible Humanity

What’s so wonderful about the Psalms is their oft-ability to finish with a wet sail.

With verses 25-50 we get a fresh glimpse into the humility of David to note the saving abilities of God. The Lord is perfect (verse 30), and the light of our lamp in the darkness (verse 28).

The warrior’s strength is founded in obedience to the Almighty (verse 32-39). Every capacity known to triumph is provident in God.


As the song goes: Our God is so big, so strong and so mighty; there’s nothing our God cannot do. The victories that we experience, for faith, speak for an omnipotent God that reaches down to help us impotent servants.

Truly, the Lord lives!

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

General Reference: Mary J. Evans, The Message of Samuel – The Bible Speaks Today series (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2004), pp. 268-70.

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