This week I want to spend some time being encouraged from one of my favorite passages of Scripture, Psalm 18. Psalm 18 is about David and his God. It starts with David expressing his love for the Lord. From there David explains why he loves the Lord. The reasons David gives for loving the Lord are the reasons we should give for loving the Lord. I hope our study this week encourages you in who God is, what He has done and inspires you to love Him more. Today’s post is a bit long but I feel it was necessary and worth it.
“I will love You, 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 shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:1-2(NKJV)
The Lord is My strength. The basic idea of the word that is used here is to be made strong. It’s most often used as being strong in battle. In David’s life he had fought many battles, his most famous being the battle against Goliath. No matter how many battles David had won, he always kept in his mind that his strength didn’t come from his own arm. His strength came from the Lord.
We can probably look over our lives and instances where God has strengthened us to do things we never thought we could do. We should never limit what we can do when God is our strength (Phil 4:13).
The Lord is My Rock and Fortress. I grouped these together because they seem to have a similar meaning. The kind of rock that is pictured here is a huge rock where you could go and hide. This is obviously very similar to what a fortress was. A fortress or a stronghold was a place where you were safe from the attacking hordes. If a fortress was sturdy enough no enemies could conquer you while you were in it.
God had certainly been this for David. The story of David’s life is filled with him facing one enemy after another. He starts of fighting the giant Goliath. After that victory, King Saul became David’s enemy. After Saul, there were other enemies that David had to deal with. When his many enemies came against him, he was able to go to a fortress that his enemies couldn’t reach him and destroy him.
Think about the many times you’ve ran to God in the midst of trials, hardships and storms. Think about the comfort you received there. Think about the safety that you felt there. When I think of God as my rock and my fortress, I think back to when Liz was in the hospital. What kept us from having a nervous breakdown and kept us going was God. We knew that no matter what the doctors said or the test results showed our God was in control. He would take care of Liz and He would take care of us. He was our place of safety where we could run to when everything else around us was falling down.
The Lord is My Deliverer. The word deliverer means one who rescues from distress or trouble. What this means is that God isn’t passive in our trials and hardships. Not only do we have a God who is a rock and a fortress that we can run to in the hard times of life. We also have a God who actively works for us to deliver us out of these trials and hardships.
You don’t have to be a scholar on the Old Testament to see how many times God actively worked on David’s behalf to deliver him from his enemies. From giving David victory over Goliath to making David victorious in all the battles Saul sent him in hoping to get him killed. God certainly rescued David from distress or trouble.
Can you think of times where God has delivered you from distress or trouble? Think about the times where you felt like you were surrounded by troubles and would soon be overcome by them if something didn’t happen. Then from out of nowhere, suddenly everything worked out. It happened in such a way and at such a time that it couldn’t have been anything or anyone but God.
Of course, the greatest way that God has delivered us is in His deliverance from the power and punishment for sin. Because of God, we have been delivered from the power and punishment for sin. He has given us His Holy Spirit to enable to us be free and stay free from the terrible power of sin. This shows us that God actively works in our lives to help us.
The Lord is My Strength. The word for strength here is different from the word from v1. This word is probably better translated as rock, although it is a different word than the word rock I already mentioned. In this sense, it seems to carry with it the idea of strength and immobility. It means that God is sure and unchanging.
A part of what this meant to David was that no matter what happened in David’s life God was the one constant He could always depend on. David’s life was filled with changes. He went from being the youngest son of a simple shepherd to being secretly anointed as king. He went from tending the sheep to the hero of the army. He went from a popular general to a chased outlaw. He went from a chased outlaw to the king of the nation. He went from being the king of the nation to being an outlaw on the run and back to being the king of the nation again. Through all of these changes, God was there for David. Through all of these changes, God was the one constant in David’s life.
That God is strong and immobile means in part that God is immutable or unchangeable. There is much that we could get from this that would demonstrate the greatness of our God. We could see that while everything around us changes God remains the same. We could see that while our situation in life constantly changes God remains the same. The one thing though that this really brings to my life are the sure and steady promises of God. If God has promised it, He will do it.
The Lord is My Shield. The shield of course was used for protection. Used properly it could protect the soldier from the blows of a sword and the shot of an arrow. Throughout David’s life God protected him. There are at least a couple of times where the Bible tells us that the Lord preserved David wherever he went.
God’s protection in our lives isn’t just something for the physical realm either. The Bible teaches that what Satan and his demons can do to those who worship God is limited by God. Satan can have no power over us at all unless God gives it to Him. I’ve often wondered if when we get to heaven we will be able to find out just how many times and in how many ways God has protected us in our lives.
The Lord is the Horn of My Salvation. For the most part this phrase means absolutely nothing to us. However, in Biblical times the horns of an animal represented its strength. So the idea here is that God was the strength of David’s salvation. Or it may be better expressed to say that God was the strength behind David’s salvation. As I’ve mentioned, David’s might in battle, deliverance and protection were all things that came from God. David was able to win battles, conquer foes and defend himself because he had a great and powerful God that worked on his behalf.
While I think that salvation here probably deals mostly with physical salvation, I couldn’t possibly talk about God being the strength of our salvation or the strength behind our salvation without mentioning the eternal salvation we’ve received through Christ. God is absolutely the strength behind and the source of our salvation. The salvation we have in Christ is entirely of God and not of us. We didn’t do one thing to earn or deserve what Christ has done for us. If God were not the horn of our salvation, there would be no salvation.
If you have experienced God being these things for you, then let these experiences lead you to call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised.