Seeing The God Who Delivers
Psalm 18 is interesting because it is one of the few Psalms that we have an historical reference. While we can conjecture where most of the Psalms took place in history, there are a few Psalms that reveal the moment in history they are inspired by. Psalm 18 is one of those. It references several of David's great victories,most notably those that occurred in 2 Samuel 21. In this chapter, David dealt with a famine, the replacing of the bones of Saul and Jonathan, and a war with the Philistines-including the defeat of several giants. Out of this moment of history came an important Psalm that revealed God more vividly to us.
Looking At The Facts
The Psalm starts with an admission of adoration (18:1). He then begins to talk about God as his strength, protector and deliver (18:2-3). He acknowledges that he has faced troubles, but that he could call on God to show up (18:4-6). All of this is standard, yet beautiful praise to God. It is the following verses where David's description of God's actions reveals something deeper about it him.
God takes control of the physical (v.7) and the spiritual (v.9) for David. This is a God who can move whatever He desires for the sake of those who love Him. In between those two verses, we get a glimpse of God from David's perspective. He is described as having smoke come from His nostrils and fire from His mouth.While this may be a metaphor, we get the feeling that David saw God's wrath as real and tangible. We see that God pours out His wrath on David's enemies and brings David out of his despair and trouble. That would normally be a good Psalm, but David goes on to tell us more of his revelation.
Being delivered by God enhanced David's perspective on God. He was given revelation that he didn't fully have before God delivered him. It starts with why God delivered David. He was pleased by David (v. 19). What did David do to please God? He was righteous in every way (v.20-24). This shows us that if we choose to live God's way, the righteous way, He will move in our situation to overcome all that we face.
David's righteousness also allowed him further insight into how God reacts to people's actions (v. 25-28). The idea of rewarding actions with equivalent reactions might seem commonplace today, but in the time of David, many men and kings treated people harshly and expected gratitude. The operated with hate and expected love and worship. The idea of consequences for all people, not just the common man, was so forward thinking for that time. In fact, it is something society is still trying to wrap its head around today.
For the remainder of the Psalm, David spends his time acknowledging what he accomplished while giving God the credit for providing him the strength, the direction and the victory over his enemies. This reveals David's understanding of God's place and role in his life. As strong as David was, as smart of a battle strategist he was, as inspiring a figure as he was and still is today; David knew to give God the credit He was due. How did he know? Because he saw God's actions on his behalf. How did he get to see those actions? Because he pleased God by being a person that lived God's way.
We can have the same delivering power in our lives today. Just as God delivered David from all the problems he faced, he can deliver us from our struggles and pain. God wants to work on our behalf to defeat the enemy in our lives and bring us to greater points of understanding. All it takes is a commitment to living God's ways, even in the face of giants and oppressors. When we do, our vision for Christ in our lives will grow clearer.
Read 2 Samuel 21 to get a better perspective of why David wrote this Psalm.
How does seeing the historical context make this Psalm come alive?
Do you have any giants or enemies in your life?
Cede control to God the deliver and let Him be revealed in your life today.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.