Psalms 1 - 50by Mike Raiter
I recently attended the funeral of a man who was a regular churchgoer. In all the eulogies recounting his life, there was no mention of God or faith. David probably composed Psalm 18 near the end of his life. Looking back, he remembers ″when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul″ (2 Samuel 22:1). This song is the story of David's life, and speaks of God and His faithfulness.
There are three parts to Psalm 18. In verses 1 to 19, David praises God because He is his deliverer. David knew where to turn when in danger or difficulty: ″I called to the Lord″ (vv. 3, 6). At times in his life, he could feel the breath of approaching death; it was like being swept away by a raging river and dragged underwater (vv. 4-5). In the most dramatic imagery that reminds us of Israel's deliverance from Egypt, David describes how God came and saved him (vv. 6-17). David is rescued from his enemies by the same power that parted the Red Sea.
Similarly, Paul tells Christians of God's ″incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead″ (Ephesians 1:19-20).
In Psalm 18:20-27, David acknowledges that God has dealt with him ″according to my righteousness″ (v. 20). We may wonder how an adulterer and murderer like David (see 2 Samuel 11) can make such a claim. David was deeply aware of his sins and God's forgiveness (see Psalm 51), but he also knew that the Lord looks for a life of consistent obedience from those who trust Him. Looking back on his life, he can affirm that he's been faithful to the Lord (Psalm 18:21-23). We who regularly seek God's forgiveness also take seriously Jesus' words that it is the pure in heart who will see God (Matthew 5:8).
Finally, David acknowledges that all he has accomplished was by the supernatural power of God (Psalm 18:28-50). Speaking of his enemies, he can sing: ″I crushed them so that they could not rise″ (v. 38); and: ″You made my enemies turn their backs in flight″ (v. 40). The apostle Paul had the same confidence, exhorting us to ″continue to work out your salvation . . . for it is God who works in you″ (Philippians 2:12-13).
At this point in your life, whether young or old, how would you testify of God's enduring faithfulness to you?
How do we reconcile the reality of our sufferings with the victorious sentiments that David expresses in Psalm 18:28-50? Compare David's words in this time of trial with Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 4:7-18.