Baitings Dam - Psalm 18 part 2

Psalm 18 Part 2 – God the Sovereign Saviour

In the second portion of this Psalm David gives God all the glory for his achievements and encourages himself with the expectation of what God would further do for him.

Psalm 18:25-50 – A Psalm of David

With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless. To the pure You will show Yourself pure; And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd. For You will save the humble people, But will bring down haughty looks. For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, By my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; The Word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great. You enlarged my path under me, So my feet did not slip. I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them; Neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed. I have wounded them, So that they could not rise; They have fallen under my feet.

You have delivered me

For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me. You have also given me the necks of my enemies, So that I destroyed those who hated me. They cried out, but there was none to save; Even to the Lord, but He did not answer them. Then I beat them as fine as the dust before the wind; I cast them out like dirt in the streets. You have delivered me from the strivings of the people; You have made me the head of the nations; A people I have not known shall serve me. As soon as they hear of me they obey me; The foreigners submit to me. The foreigners fade away, And come frightened from their hideouts. The Lord lives!

Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God who avenges me, And subdues the peoples under me; He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me; You have delivered me from the violent man. Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name. Great deliverance He gives to His king, And shows mercy to His anointed, To David and his descendants forevermore.

You light my candle

Henry says – David takes this occasion to lay down the rules of God’s government and judgment in verses 25-26. This is so that we may know not only what God expects from us, but what we may expect from Him. Those who show mercy to others are in need of mercy themselves, and cannot depend upon their own merit. But they shall find mercy with God, Matt. 5:7. Those who are faithful to God shall find Him to be all that He has promised to be. Those who serve God with a pure conscience shall find that the Words of the Lord are pure words. Very sure to be depended on and very sweet to delight in. Those who resist God, and walk contrary to Him, shall find that He will resist them, and walk contrary to them, Lev. 26:21, 24.

David speaks comfort to the humble (“You will save the afflicted people who are wronged and bear it patiently”). But terror to the proud (“You will bring down haughty looks that look with scorn and disdain upon the poor and pious”). Yet to himself, David speaks encouragement—“You will light my candle, that is, You will revive and comfort my sorrowful spirit. You will not leave me melancholy but will recover me out of my troubles and restore me to peace and prosperity. My honour will be made bright, which is now eclipsed, but You will guide my way, and make it plain before me. I will avoid the snares laid for me, for You will light my candle and give me an opportunity of serving You and the interests of Your kingdom among men.”

What He designs us form, He will fit us for

Let those who walk in darkness, and labour under many discouragements, encourage themselves that God Himself will be a light to them. David looks back with thankfulness, upon the great things which God had done for him. He had not only worked deliverance for him, but had given him victory and success. When we set ourselves to praise God for one mercy we must recall the many others which have surrounded us and followed us all our days. Many things had contributed to David’s advancement and he claims the hand of God in them all.

God had given him all his skill and understanding in military affairs, which he had not been brought up with. His talents leaned him more toward music and poetry, and a contemplative life, yet He teaches my hands to warPs. 18:34. God had given him bodily strength to go through the business and fatigue of war: God girded him with strength (Ps. 18:32, 39). What service God designs for men, He will be sure to fit them for. God had also given him great swiftness, not to flee from the enemies but to fly upon them. (Ps. 18:33): He makes my feet like hinds’ feetPs. 18:36. “You have enlarged my steps under me; my feet did not slip.” He was so swift that he pursued his enemies and overtook them, Ps. 18:37.

God protected him

God had made him very bold and daring in his enterprises, and had given him a spirit in proportion to his strength. If a troop stood in his way, he made nothing of running through them. If a wall, he made nothing of leaping over it (Ps. 18:29). He soon mounted ramparts and bulwarks, and by divine assistance set his feet upon the high places of the enemy, Ps. 18:33.

God had protected him, and kept him safe, in the midst of the greatest of perils. Many a time he put his life in His hand, and yet it was wonderfully preserved:You have given me the shield of Your salvation (Ps. 18:35), and that has encompassed me on every side. By that I have been delivered from the strivings of the people who aimed at my destruction (Ps. 18:43), particularly from the violent man” (Ps. 18:48). This is in reference to Saul, who more than once threw a javelin at him.

God made his way perfect

God had prospered him in his plans and it was Him who made his way perfect (Ps. 18:32). With His right hand He held him up, Ps. 18:35. God had given him victory over his enemies, the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, and all that fought against Israel. Yet not excluding the house of Saul, which opposed him coming to the crown or of Absalom and Sheba, who would have him overthrown. He expounds much upon the goodness of God in defeating his enemies. He attributes his victories, not to his own sword or to the valour of his mighty men, but to the favour of God. I pursued them (Ps. 18:37), I wounded them (Ps. 18:38); for You have girded me with strength (Ps. 18:39) or else I could not have done it.

All the praise is ascribed to God: You have subdued them under mePs. 18:39. You have given me their necks (2 Sam. 22:41; 18:40), not only to trample on them (as Josh. 10:24), but to cut them off. Even those who hated David, whom God loved, and were enemies to Israel, in their distress cried to the Lord. But it was in vain; He did not answer them. How could they expect He would when it was He who they fought against? And, when He disowned them (as he will all those who act against His people), no other aid could stand them in good stead: There was none to save themPs. 18:41.

Less of us, more of You

Those who God has abandoned are easily vanquished: Then did I beat them small as the dustPs. 18:42. But those whose cause is just, He avenges (Ps. 18:47), and those whom He favours will certainly be lifted up above those who rise up against themPs. 18:48.

God had raised him to the throne, and not only delivered him and kept him alive, but dignified him and made him great. The lessons David learned in his affliction prepared him for the dignity and power that were intended for him. The lessening of him very much helped to increase his greatness. God made him not only a great conqueror, but a great ruler: You have made me the head of the heathen (Ps. 18:43); all the neighbouring nations were subjected to him. See 2 Sam. 8:6, 11.

Because He lives, we also shall live

In all this David was a type of Christ, who the Father brought safely through His conflicts with the powers of darkness, and made victorious over them. He gave Him to be head over all things to His people, the church, which is His body.

David looks up with humble and reverent adorations of the divine glory and perfection. When God had, by His providence, magnified him, he endeavours, with his praises, to magnify God, to bless Him and exalt Him, Ps. 18:46. He gives honour to Him as a living God: The Lord lives in verse 46 God who has life in himself. He first gave us our lives and we own Him for their continuation, therefore He is fitly called the living God. The gods of the heathen are dead gods. The best friends we have among men are dying friends. But God lives, lives forever, and will not fail those who trust in Him. Because He lives, they shall live also, for He is their life.

He is a finishing God

God is also a finishing God: As for God, He is not only perfect Himself, but His way is perfectPs. 18:30. He is known by His name Jehovah (Exod. 6:3), a God performing and perfecting what He has begun, Gen. 2:1. If it was God who made David’s way perfect (Ps. 18:32), how much more perfect are His own ways. There is no flaw in God’s works, nor any fault to be found with what He does, Eccl. 3:14. What He undertakes He will go through with. What God begins to build He is able to finish.

David further gives honour to God as a faithful God: The Word of the Lord is tried. “I have tried it” (says David), “and it has not failed me.” All the saints, in all ages, have tried it, and it never failed any who trusted in it. It has been tried as silver is tried. David takes notice of the fulfilment of God’s promises to him. It put a sweetness upon God’s provision for him. He is the protector and defender of His people: “He is the God of my salvation (Ps. 18:46), by whose power and grace I am and hope to be saved. Not only to me but: He is a buckler to all those who trust in Him (Ps. 18:30). He shelters and protects them all and is able and ready to do so.

Who is a rock apart from our God?

In verse 31 David says, who is God apart from Jehovah? That God is a rock, for the support and shelter of His faithful worshippers; and who is a rock apart from our God? He not only gives glory to God, but encourages his own faith in Him. Whoever pretends to be a deity, it is certain that there is no god, except the Lord; all others are counterfeits, Isa. 44:8; Jer. 10:10. Whoever we lean on to make us happy, there is no rock, save our God; none that we can depend upon to make us contented.

David looks forward, with a believing hope that God would still do him good. He promises himself that his enemies will be completely subdued, and that those of them that yet remained will be made his footstool. He believes that his government would be extensive, so that even a people who he had not known would serve him (Ps. 18:43). His conquests, and consequently, his acquisitions would be easy (As soon as they hear of me they shall obey mePs. 18:44). He believed that his enemies would be convinced that it was no good opposing him.

Christ shall reign forever

Even so the Son of David, Christ, though He does not yet see all things put under Him, yet He knows He shall reign until all opposing rule, principality, and power will be put down. David knows that his seed will continue forever in the Messiah, who, he foresaw, would come from his loins, Ps. 18:50. God shows mercy to His anointed, His Messiah and to David, the anointed of God and to his seed forevermore. Gal. 3:16 Christ shall reign forever, and of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end. Christ is called David in Hos. 3:5. God has called him His kingPs. 2:6. God gives great deliverance to Christ and to His church and people, which is here called His seed, forevermore.

This Psalm teaches us to give God the glory for the victories of Christ and His church and of all the advancements of the gospel kingdom. It encourages us with an assurance that the church militant will be shortly triumphant and will be eternally so.

Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary

 Your Strength in our weakness
 At our disposal is
 An overflowing measure of strength.
 O how we need it,
 To immerse ourselves in its 
     breadth and length.
 Let us therefore live as rich as we are!
 Beginning without end;
 For never on outward circumstances
 Does our wealth depend.
 For all who take refuge in Him
 The Lord is a shield.
 He will never let you down
 For in His Son all is revealed.
 Through the channels of Your love
 We see the beauty of your meekness
 But now we need to see Your Strength
 Being demonstrated in our weakness.
 By the late Andrew Feakin 
 [passed away 16th March 2019]

Prayer for the Day

Father I come to You. Thank you that I can find mercy in You, not depending on my own merit, but on You alone. May I always seek to show mercy to others. May I be found as one who is faithful to You that I may find You to be all that You have promised to be. Let me serve You with a pure conscience that I may find Your Words to be pure. For I know they can be depended upon and very sweet to delight in.

I believe You will light my candle and revive and comfort me when my spirit is sorrowful. You will not leave me melancholy but will recover me out of my troubles and restore me to peace and prosperity. Thank You that You guide my way, and make it plain before me. For You light my candle and give me an opportunity of serving You.

Teach me to look back with thankfulness

When I labour under many discouragements help me encourage myself that You will be a light to me. Teach me to look back with thankfulness, upon the great things which You have done for me. You have not only worked deliverance for me, but have given me the victory. Help me set myself to praise You for all the mercies that have surrounded and followed me all my days.

I know You are equipping me for all that You have designed for me. I ask for strength and a spirit of boldness for the tasks ahead. You have kept me beautifully protected in the midst of the greatest of perils. May I always put my life in Your hands, knowing it shall be wonderfully preserved.

You have prospered me in my plans, according to Your will, and You have made my way perfect. Help me to remember that when I am afflicted You are preparing me for a greater work and the dignity and power that were intended for me. May I be lessened and You be magnified. Cause me to endeavour, with my praises, to magnify You, bless You and exalt You. You live forever, and will not fail those who trust in You. Because You live I shall also live, for You are my life.

There is no flaw in You

There is no flaw in Your works, nor any fault to be found with what You do. What You undertake You will go through with. What You begin, You will finish. I trust in Your Word. For it has never failed me. May I only ever lean on You to make me happy. For there is no rock, except You. There is none that I can depend on to make me contented, but You.

Thank You for the assurance that Christ shall reign forever, and of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end. May I give You the glory for the victories of Christ and His people and of all the advancements of the gospel kingdom. For I know that the church will be shortly triumphant and will be eternally so. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.

Psalm 18 Part 2

What on Earth have we done with the Teachings of Jesus?

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