God saved me! Psalm 18

You won’t be surprised to hear that the word “praise” appears more than 210 times in the Book of Psalms. Sometimes it is praising God for who He is and sometimes it is praising God for his mighty acts of Creation. But very often it is praising God for his acts of salvation. The Psalm writer is pouring out his soul for the very many times and ways God has helped and rescued him. That is the theme of the praise here in Psalm 18

GOD SAVED ME

1-3

1 I love you, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.
16-19

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the LORD was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
Praise God – because He has saved and rescued me. Note how God’s salvation is entirely personal and individual. He took hold of ME, drew ME out, rescued ME. The Lord was MY support and brought ME out and rescued ME because He delighted in ME.

GOD DID SAVE DAVID – BUT NOT IN THE WAYS DAVID DESCRIBES!

The Hebrew introduction to Psalm 18 says this.
“For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:”
Psalm 18 is almost identical to 2 Samuel chapter 22. Great King David is looking back over his life and sees all the times that God rescued him. But then the language he uses to describe how God saved him doesn’t reflect the actual historical events. David presents the events in a much more dramatic and spiritual way than they actually unfolded. We read David’s account in Psalm 18 and immediately we want to say, “It didn’t happen like that at all!”

7 The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
8 Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
In the history of Israel God sometimes brought earthquakes and smoke and consuming fire – but not in David’s lifetime.

10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
There wasn’t an occasion recorded in David’s story when God rode down on a cherub and on the wings of the wind.

11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The LORD thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
God appeared in storms to rescue his people on several occasions, but never for David.

14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies,
great bolts of lightning and routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, O LORD,
at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
The mighty wind of God’s breath had parted the Red Sea in the Exodus, but that wind had never blown against David’s enemies as it had against the armies of the Egyptians. God did intervene in dramatic and miraculous ways for His chosen people in the Old Testament. But never in David’s lifetime. David is borrowing language from the story of the Exodus and the conquest of the Promised Land and seeing the same God at work in his own life, even though the ways God actually rescued him from Saul and from his enemies were much more mundane and even boring
For example, one day David was only rescued from Saul by a providential and timely attack by their common enemies the Philistines.

1 Sam 23 26 Saul was going along one side of the mountain, and David and his men were on the other side, hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his forces were closing in on David and his men to capture them, 27 a messenger came to Saul, saying, ‘Come quickly! The Philistines are raiding the land.’ 28 Then Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to meet the Philistines.

1 Samuel 24:1 After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, ‘David is in the Desert of En Gedi.’ 2 So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.
The only reason Saul didn’t catch David then was that the terrain was very mountainous and gave lots of places for David and his men to hide among the wild goats.

3 He came to the sheepfolds along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave.

In 1 Samuel 24, David could have murdered Saul in that cave but he didn’t. So when David went out and told Saul that, Saul stopped pursuing him for a while, but then started again! Nothing dramatic there. In 1 Samuel 26 David had the opportunity to murder Saul while he was asleep in his tent, but again he chose not to, and when David told Saul this, again Saul stopped trying to kill him. Nothing particularly spiritual happening there. In 1 Samuel 27 David didn’t trust Saul, so he and his men went away and hid among the Philistines. God didn’t miraculously intervene. David just ran away and hid! In the end Saul brought God’s judgment on himself by consulting the witch at Endor. David didn’t defeat Saul. One day, Saul was losing a battle with the Philistines and so he took his own life. But that’s not really the way David describes things!

4 The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
So David spiritualised and dramatized his experiences. Because here is the most important point – David recognised that it was the same God of the Exodus who parted the Red Sea who was at work in his life, saving and rescuing him as well. Looking back with hindsight David could see that God had indeed always been his rock and his refuge. Behind the circumstances God was always reigning on His throne and continually working to deliver David from His enemies. As simple examples, how providential it was that Saul chose to use as a bathroom the very cave where David and his men were hiding. And we read that when David went into Saul’s camp and found him asleep he wasn’t caught because God had put Saul and all his men into a deep sleep. GOD WAS ALWAYS IN THE SHADOWS – BUT GOD WAS STILL ALWAYS IN CONTROL!
That is true in our lives as well of course. Sometimes God breaks in and works miracles. Sometimes He works in the background and in the shadows, working all things for the good of those who love Him. So we should praise God just as much for his acts of providence, guiding our lives, opening doors and closing doors, keeping us safe in ways we will only ever see in hindsight.
So David goes on to explain the lessons he has learned about God his saviour over the years.

GOD DEMANDS RIGHTEOUSNESS

20 The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.

SO THEREFORE DAVID HAS DONE HIS BEST TO BE RIGHTEOUS

21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
I have not done evil by turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.
24 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
Let’s remember that David said this psalm in 2 Samuel 22 very near the end of his life. His memory must have been failing because he seems to have forgotten the little incident of adultery with Bathsheba covered up by the murder of her husband Uriah the Hittite. But the principle still stands. God demands righteousness. We cannot expect Him to rescue us if we are living unrighteous and immoral lives.

GOD EXPECTS US TO LIVE LIFE HIS WAY

25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.

AND GOD WILL GIVE STRENGTH TO THOSE WHO ARE SEEKING TO SERVE HIM

28 You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall.

GOD’S WAYS ARE PERFECT

30 As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield
for all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the LORD?
And who is the Rock except our God?

GOD WILL GIVE STRENGTH TO THOSE WHO SERVE HIM AND TRUST HIM

32 It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

35 You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great.
36 You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn.
God does not always intervene with miracles. Sometimes God helps us in other ways.
GOD GIVES US THE STRENGTH WHICH BRINGS US THE VICTORY
37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them so that they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.
39 You armed me with strength for battle;
you made my adversaries bow at my feet.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.
41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
to the LORD, but he did not answer.
42 I beat them as fine as dust borne on the wind;
I poured them out like mud in the streets.
43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
you have made me the head of nations;
people I did not know are subject to me.
44 As soon as they hear me, they obey me;
foreigners cringe before me.
45 They all lose heart;
they come trembling from their strongholds.
The truth is that most of the time God rescued David, not by intervening in miraculous ways, but by giving David the strength to defeat his enemies for himself. And that will be the same in our lives. We may experience miracles of direct and spectacular divine intervention. But for most of the time we will have the experience of God giving us the grace and the strength to live victorious Christian lives. And often it is only with hindsight that we will recognise that it was God who saved us after all, working all the time unseen and in the background.

THE SECRET TO EXPERIENCING GOD’S DELIVERANCE IS TAKING REFUGE IN GOD

2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

30 As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

There’s no point in having a rock and a fortress if we don’t run there to take refuge. There’s no point in having a deliverer if we don’t turn to Him and rely on Him to deliver us!

WE TAKE REFUGE IN GOD BY PRAYING – “I CRIED OUT”

3 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.
6 In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
The sovereign power of God is only released by our prayers. GOD WILL SAVE THOSE WHO TRUST IN HIM AND CALL OUT TO HIM FOR HELP! And when God has helped us and saved us, it is only right and good that we give him all the glory and all the thanks and all the praise!

46 The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God my Savior!
47 He is the God who avenges me,
who subdues nations under me,
48 who saves me from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
from violent men you rescued me.
49 Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O LORD;
I will sing praises to your name.
50 He gives his king great victories;
he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed,
to David and his descendants forever.
GOD SAVED ME! We have thought on other occasions about the times when God has worked in powerful ways in our lives. In miracles of healing and deliverance. When God has spoken to us in prophecies and dreams and visions and words of knowledge and words of wisdom. We have thought about events and experiences we can point to and say very clearly “God did that”.

But here King David is praising God for times when God saved him in ways which it takes the eye of faith to see. Only with hindsight could David recognise the Sovereign hand of God providentially rescuing him. The times when God gave him the strength to win the victories from himself. The times when David took refuge in God and cried out in prayer – and God delivered him from his enemies. God was just as much his strength and refuge and deliver on those occasions.

So here is the question. When has God worked behind the scenes to rescue us and help us? When has God given us the strength to win the battles for ourselves as He did in David’s life? What experiences do WE have to share and to give praise for of God saving us from “behind the scenes” even when He stayed in the shadows and we never saw him?

1 I love you, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.

This entry was posted in Psalms.

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