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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Psalms 18

 

 

Verses 1-19

Psalms 18:1. I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.

“I do love thee, and I will love thee yet more and more. I bind myself to thee for the future as well as the present.”

Psalms 18:2. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Note how David delights to heap up poetic imagery to describe his God.

They who glory in the Lord would fain speak worthily of him; and because there is no one object in nature that can fully set him forth, they mention many, as David does here. Like him, if we would convey even a faint idea of what God is to us, we must think of all things that are strong, and worthy of our confidence, and putting them all together, we must say that our God, our strength, in whom we trust, is all this, and much more,

Psalms 18:3. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

Prayer brings salvation. Prayer must, however, be mingled with praise, for prayer and praise make up the breath of the Christian life. Have I not often reminded you that we breathe in the air of heaven by prayer, and then breathe it out again in grateful praise?

Psalms 18:4-5. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.

“They were before me, behind me, all around my path whichever way I turned.”

Psalms 18:6. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

What a difference there is between this living God of David, — our living God, — and that impersonal nonentity which, nowadays, is regarded by many as God. The god of the pantheist, — what is he? A nobody and a nothing; but our God made the heavens; and our God heareth the prayer of all who truly cry unto him.

Psalms 18:7. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.

The cry of one of his oppressed children stirred him to anger. Nothing moves the heart of God like an injury done to his people. You remember how the prophet Zechariah wrote to the captive Jews in Babylon, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.”

Psalms 18:8-9. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.

In this wonderful poetic description, Jehovah is represented as descending from his throne at the cry of one of his children in distress.

Psalms 18:10. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.

So swift is prayer to reach the ear of God, and so swift is God to come and answer his people’s prayers.

Psalms 18:11. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.

Like an Oriental king, who travels beneath his royal canopy, the Lord is pictured as coming to earth with the bursting clouds and opening heavens as the pavilion of the Deity.

Psalms 18:12. At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.

These are some of the weapons with which he assails the adversaries of his people. With this dread artillery, he smote Pharaoh of old, when he rained wrath upon the land of Egypt, and fire mingled with the hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground.

Psalms 18:13-14. The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire. Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.

God himself came forth on his people’s behalf, and fought for them from heaven. As we read that “the stars in their courses fought against Sisera,” so did God make the very tempests in the skies to be like an invincible legion, sweeping before it the enemies of his anointed servant.

Psalms 18:15-18. 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. He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity:

They went before him, they blocked his way.

Psalms 18:18-19. But the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

Oh, how sweetly this record continues! Never was there a poem more lofty in its diction. Even Milton can not equal the language of this Psalm. This inspired writing rises superior to all human compositions, even if regarded only from the poetic point of view. But what must have been the psalmist’s experience when he was delivered after this wonderful fashion? And if God has delivered you and me in a quieter and gentler way, yet he has quite as surely delivered us; and blessed be his name from this time forth, and even for evermore!


Verses 1-20

Psalms 18:1. 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,

Notice that, though David was a king, he does not say so, but he prefers the higher title, “The servant of Jehovah.” He served his God by his song. Oh, that all who led our psalmody would serve God in it! It should always be with deep devotion that we sing the praises of God. “Who spake unto the Lord the words of this song.” He did not speak them to us; he spoke them to the Lord. Singing is peculiarly an address unto God; but neither prayer nor praise should be addressed to men. David “spake unto the Lord the words of this song, in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies.” It is always well to sing when a deliverance is yet new; if we do not praise the Lord in the day of our deliverance, we are not likely to praise him many days afterwards. We remember how it is written that, when the Lord delivered Israel at the Red Sea, “Then believed they his words; they sang his praises.” So do thou time thy psalm as God times his mercies.

Psalms 18:1 . I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.

Not only, “I do love thee,” but “I will love thee.” Some resolutions are rash, and should not be made; but this is a resolution that we may well make. We are bound to make it if we have experienced the lovingkindness of the Lord. If God be our strength, then in the strength of God we may say, “I will love thee, O Lord. I will love thee, if others do not. Whatever else I may have to love, I will love thee. My relation to thee shall never be a cold one: ‘I will love thee.’ My whole nature shall go out towards thee.”

Psalms 18:2. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;

“My rock in which I hide; my fortress in which I am secure; my deliverer who in a thousand ways brings me out of every peril.” What a text those two words would make! I would like to preach from them: “My deliverer.” Why, that is a name that runs through the whole story of redemption, and the whole history of providence. it is a title which we may use toward God in heaven as well as upon earth: “My deliverer.” And now, as the psalmist advances in his song, he gives a very sweet title to the Lord,—

Psalms 18:2. My God,

At first, the Lord was to him, “Jehovah “-a name of awe and majesty; but now on covenant terms with God, he uses a name of bold affectionateness, and near approach: “My God.”

Psalms 18:2. My strength,

That is the second time he has used that title; it is one that will bear repeating again and again: “My strength.”

Psalms 18:2. In whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

What a blessing it is that we can look upon God under so many aspects, and in every aspect feel him to be ours! “My God, my strength, my buckler, my salvation, my high tower.” To set those personal pronouns side by side with every blessed metaphor, and to call God ours under every emblem which we can heap together, this is the way to be indeed cheered and comforted. Calvin says, on this verse, that the saint is armed from head to foot, and even above his head, for he has given to him the horn of salvation to lift on high. God is everything to us, beloved. We want nothing outside of him; if we think we do want it, it is better to want it than to have it.

Psalms 18:3. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised:

David first said, “I will love,” now he says, “I will call.” The “I wills” of the Psalms have furnished various writers with an admirable subject; and they may supply you with a profitable line of meditation: “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised.” “I will mix praise with my prayer. There is no praying like that; if you have prayer in one hand, have praise in the other. The mixture of these two perfumes will make an exceedingly sweet incense to present unto the Lord. To praise and pray, to pray and praise, is an admirable way of living. Have I not often told you that it resembles our breathing? By prayer we breathe in, and by praise we breathe out.

Psalms 18:3. So shall I be saved from mine enemies.

Saved singing, saved praying; what a happy way to be saved,—calling upon God, and magnifying his name! Now follows a marvelous passage descriptive of the psalmist’s deliverance, one of the most wonderful pieces of poetry ever composed in any language. David begins by describing his previous position.

Psalms 18:4. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.

Death had tied him round with the ropes of pain; they compassed him about. He seemed like one who was shipwrecked, struggling for his life; or he stood like a hunted stag in the midst of a pack of hounds.

Psalms 18:5. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.

He could not stir a step without falling into a trap of some sort or other. What an awful

picture this is! I can hardly imagine that the case could be painted in much blacker colors. None but God could help him, it is evident; for his

sorrows were the sorrows of death. The floods that surged around him were the floods of ungodly men; and there are no wild beasts so much to be dreaded as ungodly men. They can do more harm to us than can lions in their dens. David’s sorrows were the sorrows of hell, and the snares that lay in his pathway were the snares of death.

Psalms 18:6. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God:

He puts together the two names, “Jehovah” and “my God.” He says that he called upon Jehovah, and he cried unto his God. He began with calling, and he went on to crying. The longer we pray, the more intense our prayer becomes. David prayed thus in his distress. Every way except one was shut up, so that he could not escape; but there was a way open upward. Our enemies can never block up that way; you can always run the blockade, my brethren, if you know the way of sailing upward. You can never be shut out of the port of prayer, you will always find a harbour of refuge by crying unto God.

Psalms 18:6. He heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

The music from all the harps of the redeemed and from the songs of cherubim did not so engross those blessed ears that they could not hear David’s cries. A child’s cry will get to a father’s ear. It was so with the psalmist; his was a cry full of anguish, and it entered into the ears of God. It did not go to the saints, and round about through human mediators; but it went direct to God’s ears.

Psalms 18:7. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.

Nothing touches God’s heart like an injury done to a child of his. “He was wroth,” and he did but stamp his foot, and the solid earth began to rock and tremble. He who laid the

foundations of the universe can soon shift its corner-stones if he pleases; and even the hills that send their roots so deep are easily moved by him.

Psalms 18:8. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.

Oriental imagery representing the indignation of the Most High. He is not subject to passions like ours, but he is thus described in order that we may understand his action. It is a high strain of poetry to teach us how God is moved by the affliction of his people. As when the hot breath comes from a man’s nostrils, so is it represented as if a smoke came from God’s nostrils; and as when a man opens his mouth to speak in anger, God is represented as so speaking that a fire issued from his mouth to devour the enemies of his people.

Psalms 18:9-10. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. And

he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He trod on the arch of the sky, and bent it beneath his divine weight. The cherubim are represented as standing over the mercy-seat, as though waiting there to perform errands of mercy; and the Lord is here said to ride upon a cherub, and to fly upon the wings of the wind. God comes swiftly for the deliverance of his people. Thou countest him slow ; but he is not slow in the fulfillment of his promises as men count slowness. When thou shalt understand all things,-if ever that shall be,—thou wilt see how speedily he flew to thy rescue.

Psalms 18:11. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.

Nobody can see God in the sunlight; but faith can see him in the dark, and can realize that the darkest providences are but the pavilion of Jehovah’s love.

Psalms 18:12. At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.

The psalmist heaps together all the terrors of nature to show how God stirreth all things up for the rescue and the defense of his people. Over the head of all this blackness and these flames of fire you hear a voice

Psalms 18:13. The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! See how readily, when the Lord comes forth as a man of war (Jehovah is his name), he scattereth all his adversaries.

Psalms 18:14-15. Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightenings, and discomfited them. 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.

He had not to stretch out his hand: it was but his breath that shook the earth, and set the heavens on fire.

Psalms 18:16. He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.

The psalmist saw another Moses, whose name signified. “I drew him out of the water”; and this is one of the names of Christ. Out of many waters was he drawn, our glorious covenant Head, and all his people are to be baptized into his name.

Psalms 18:17. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.

They were not too strong for God, and it almost seems as if he would not have come upon the scene if they had not been too strong for David. While David could fight them, he might fight them; “but what if they were too strong for me,” saith he, “he delivered me.” Oh, what a glorious thing it is to be put where you cannot help yourself, because then it shall be written, “he delivered me”! Let the heroes of the earth boast of all their mighty deeds; as for us, we will glory even in infirmity, for then the power of God doth rest upon us.

Psalms 18:18-19. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

There is another wonderful text for a sermon: “He delivered me.” The first I gave you was “my deliverer.” Now here is the explanation of his assuming that title: “He delivered me, because he delighted in me.”

Psalms 18:20. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me

For David had been slandered; they laid all manner of evil to his charge, and God therefore came forth for his defense, because his heart was right with the Lord. It was God’s grace that made him right, and the grace that had preserved him from sinning now delivered him from being slandered.


Verses 1-35

Psalms 18:1. I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.

What a blessed “I will”: “I will love thee”! He does love the Lord, and he declares that he will continue to do so. He feels that he must do so, for the Lord has been his strength. There are many aspects under which the love of our heart is most justly and fitly given to God, and this is one of them. If the Lord has been the strength of our heart, then let our heart love him.

Psalms 18:2. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

How David heaps up the epithets! When the believer once begins to praise the Lord, there is no end to it. He can never even satisfy himself; much less can he hope to rise to the height of this great argument. Notice how many of those little pronouns there are. Luther used to say that the very marrow of divinity lies in the pronouns. Certainly, the sweetness-the honey of it lies here. Let me read the verse again, putting the emphasis on the pronouns: “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”

Psalms 18:3. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

Calling upon him in prayer, and rendering praise to him, “so shall I be saved from mine enemies. You remember how the army of Jehoshaphat marched forth into the valley of Berachah, singing and praising the Lord; and they had no need to strike a blow, for the Lord gave them a glorious victory, when they began to sing and to praise; and we might have more victories if we had more praise and more prayer. Now David goes on to tell us what had happened to him, and what happened to the children of Israel when they came up out of the land of Egypt, and went into the wilderness.

Psalms 18:4-5. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.

That is, “went before me,” “lay in my pathway.” Did you ever have a window opened in your heart, so that you could see all the ruin of your nature,-all the possibilities of evil that lay asleep within your soul? Did you ever feel, as you gazed upon that sight, as if you were looking over the edge of the bottomless pit? Ah, then! you have been just in the condition which the psalmist here describes: “The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death lay in my pathway.”

Psalms 18:6. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God; he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

That is a wonderful expression: “My cry came before him, even into his ears.” That is, of course, speaking after the manner of men, and we cannot speak in any other manner. God appeared to hear David’s cry as you and I hear a thing when we say, “It seemed to ring in my ears, I could not get rid of the sound of it.” What happened then?

Psalms 18:7. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.

The Lord was wroth with those who had made his child cry, as a father is angry with one who injures a beloved child of his, or as a mother is wroth with one who puts her babe to pain. The Lord made the earth to tremble because he was angry at the oppressors of his servant.

Psalms 18:8. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.

That is David’s graphic and striking representation of the indignation of God on his behalf.

Psalms 18:9. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.

This is a wonderful description of the interposition of God on behalf of his people. The scene referred to by David is probably the destruction of the Egyptians at the Red Sea, and the deliverance of the children of Israel from their cruel enemies.

Psalms 18:10. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.

So swift is prayer to reach the heart of God; and so swift is God to come to the help of his people.

Psalms 18:11-12. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.

For all the dread artillery of heaven shall be used for the defense of the faithful. God will hold nothing in reserve when his people are in danger.

Psalms 18:13. The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.

What made God speak in those terrible tones? It was the faint and feeble cry of his poor servant down below. Can you and I make thunder? Yes, we can. If we can thunder at the gates of heaven by prayer, God will thunder in the heavens in his omnipotence; he will quickly respond to his children’s cries. The first Christians, who were employed in the Roman armies, were called the thundering legion, because it was said that, once upon a time, when they prayed, God sent a thunderstorm to destroy their enemies; and, truly, a living Church of God, that is full of prayer, may be called a thundering legion.

Psalms 18:14. Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightning’s, and discomfited them.

What a wonderful picture this is,-as if the Eternal had taken down his bow, and aimed his shafts of lightning against the foes of his people!

Psalms 18:15. 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.

At the Red Sea, Moses sang, “Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters; “but, here, David does not represent God as sending forth a great wind, but as if, in his eagerness to help his servant, his very nostrils gave forth such a mighty blast as made the sea to divide, so that “the channels of the waters were seen.” It is one of the most vivid pieces of poetry that ever fell from the pen of inspired or uninspired man.

Psalms 18:16-17. He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.

When a child of God is in such a condition that he cannot help himself, and he cries to his Heavenly Father, then the Lord always helps him. Our proverb says, “God helps those that help themselves;” that is true, but there is something better than that. God helps those who cannot help themselves. That proves the greatness of his mercy, which endureth for ever. David said of his foes, “They were too strong for me,” but they were not too strong for the Lord to overthrow.

Psalms 18:18. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.

“I leaned on him; I rested on him; I relied on him; and so I was made peaceful, calm, quiet, confident in him: ‘The Lord was my stay.’”

Psalms 18:19. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

What sayest thou to that, believer? That God delights in thee,-that he finds something in thee, which he has put there by his grace, which is the object of his complacency? Is it not your likeness to his dear Son, whom he loves so much that, wherever he sees his image, there his love flows forth?

Psalms 18:20. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

For when God gives a man holiness, he will give him happiness. Holiness and happiness usually go together; and if, for a while, they seem to be divided, they shall soon be united again.

Psalms 18:21-24. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.

The godly never see any merit in their own works, they never have any trust in them for salvation; yet they cannot help observing, with pleasure, that, when God enables them to walk uprightly, he sooner or later delivers them. If you come into any trouble because you fear God, and serve him, you will come out of it again; ay, and come out of it like the three holy children came out of the furnace, with not so much as the smell of fire remaining upon you.

Psalms 18:25-26. With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; with the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.

If a man walks in a froward way, and opposes God, he will soon find that God treats him in a similar fashion. Sinners shall surely smart for their sin. Rebels shall yet sing another tune, however loudly they may boast today, and scoff at God and his people.

Psalms 18:27. For thou wilt save the afflicted people;

There is comfort there for any of you who are his people, and who are under his afflicting hand.

Psalms 18:27. But wilt bring down high looks.

Pride excites the indignation of Jehovah; it is to the humble that he has regard.

Psalms 18:28. For thou wilt light my candle the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

Plead that promise if you are in the dark at this moment. If you are God’s child, he will bring you out into the light ere long.

Psalms 18:29. For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.

God’s warriors have to fight in various ways, and in all they must quit themselves like men, and ascribe all their triumphs to their Lord.

Psalms 18:30. As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

No armor of proof or shield of brass so well secures the warrior as the covenant God of Israel protects his warring people. He is himself the buckler of trustful ones.

Psalms 18:31. For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?

Where can lasting hopes be fixed? Where can the soul find rest? Where is stability to be found? Where is strength to be discovered? Surely, in the Lord Jehovah alone can we find rest and refuge.

Psalms 18:32-35. It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. 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.

I think you will see that David has given us, in this Psalm, the reasons why he began by saying, “I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.”


Verses 1-50

Psalms 18:1-3. I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength in whom I will trust; my buckler, and my horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I shall call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

At first he says, “I will love thee” then, “I will trust thee,” now he says “I will call upon thee,” and that calling upon God is specially in the sense of praising him; and when you have just experienced a divine deliverance, how full your spirit is of sacred gratitude!

Psalms 18:4-7. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.

God was angry with Saul and with all David’s persecutors because they hunted that good man like a partridge upon the mountains. The prayer of the poor suppliant called down the anger of God upon his adversaries.

Psalms 18:8. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.

This is a wonderful picture of the anger of God. The Hebrews always connected manifestations of anger with the nose and mouth just as they ascribed various passions and feelings to the different members of the body. So David says, “There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured.” Does someone ask, “Can prayer move God in this way?” Yes, it seems so. Of course, David had to speak after the manner of men; there is no other way in which men can speak, so he describes God as being thus stirred by the cry of his poor child when it came up into his ears. Nothing brings a man’s temper into his face like an injury done to his child, and God, as a father, cannot endure to have his children hurt. “He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.”

Psalms 18:9-10. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.

So quick is God to come to the deliverance of his persecuted people.

Psalms 18:11-13. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail storms and coals of fire.

Behold the dread artillery of heaven as God turns his terrible guns against the enemies of his people, and pours out hot shot from his lofty bastion: “hail stones and coals of fire.”

Psalms 18:14-15. Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. 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.

The psalmist is evidently describing the passage of the Red Sea, and likening the descent of God to his individual help to that memorable descent of God to the rescue of his entire people. And indeed, God is as great in his help to one as in his help to all; he is never little. When God helps you, my brother, he is a great God, and greatly to be praised, as greatly so as when he comes to the rescue of an entire nation. Therefore sing unto the Lord, whose arm is lifted up for you, even for you, as truly as it was lifted upon Israel when he brought them out of Egypt “with a strong hand, and with a stretched-out arm, and with great terror.”

Psalms 18:16. He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.

The Lord made another Moses of him. Pharaoh’s daughter gave the name of Moses, that is, one drawn out, to the child who was brought to her, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

Psalms 18:17. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me; for they were too strong for me.

Is that the reason why God interposed on David’s behalf? Then let all his weak children find comfort in the fact that, when our enemies are too strong for us, God will come and deliver us. Let us be thankful for burdens that are too heavy for us to bear, and cast them upon the almighty shoulders that can easily sustain them. If we could do without God, we should do without God; but as we cannot, God will come to us, and help and deliver us.

Psalms 18:18-19. They presented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

What a sense of divine love God’s gracious deliverance brings! Perhaps David would never have known how greatly God delighted in him if he had not been in such dire distress, and had not had such a great deliverance.

Psalms 18:20-24. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.

If God gives you grace to be honest, and upright, and true, and steadfast in the time of temptation, you may be quite sure that he will deliver you; in fact, he has already wrought the greater part of your deliverance in thus keeping you from sin. The worst thing that a trouble can do for a Christian man is to carry him off his feet, and make him forsake his integrity.

Psalms 18:25-27. With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; with the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the forward thou wilt shew thyself forward. For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.

If your faith cannot endure testing and trying, it is but poor faith. It will not do to die with if it will not do to live with. But if you cry to the Lord, and he enables you in the time of your distress to be faithful to him then he will certainly give you deliverance sooner or later.

Psalms 18:28-30. For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlightened my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, his way is perfect:

If you practice self-reliance, but not God-reliance, you will be sure to fail. What poor strength that is which does not come from God! Is it worthy of the name of strength at all? Is it not impotence and impudence combined? May God keep us from imagining that we can do anything apart from him! At the same time, may his gracious Spirit work in us the sure confidence that we can do everything he bids us do when he is our Helper! David had that confidence, for he goes on to sing, —

Psalms 18:30-37. The word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. 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. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed.

Remember that this is a soldier’s song,-a song under the old covenant when men might fight as they may not fight now. We must, therefore, spiritualize this ancient war-song as we read it.

Psalms 18:38-45. I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me. They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but he answered them not. Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets. Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me. As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me. The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places.

So it came to pass that the Philistines were afraid of David, and he delivered his people from the attacks of all invaders, and brought them that blessed peace which Solomon enjoyed with them.

Psalms 18:46-50. The LORD liveth, and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me. 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. Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 18:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/psalms-18.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, January 23rd, 2020
the Second Week after Epiphany
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