June 30, 2020
Daybreak: Psalm 18:1-50
“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psalm 18:2)
Our family went camping every summer when I was growing up, and over the years we visited many scenic locations around the country. My favorite area was Yosemite Valley in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California — in fact, I still consider that to be the most beautiful place I have ever visited. While the valley is filled with incredible, postcard-type scenery, to me the most awe-inspiring features are the gigantic granite monoliths. The largest of these, fittingly referred to as El Capitan, rises almost three thousand feet above the valley floor. That towering rock formation is so huge and impressive that you really do need to see it to believe it! Any effort I would make to describe it here would never do it justice.
I suspect the psalmist felt that same limitation of human language when he used a series of descriptive phrases in our focus verse in an attempt to describe God. Words are simply inadequate! However, David’s comparisons help us comprehend the very real stability and security he had found in the Lord.
When David described God as “my rock,” I visualize something immense — perhaps a monolith like El Capitan. It was a picturesque way to convey that God is solid, stable, and unchangeable — the One David knew he could always count on.
David also referred to God as “my fortress.” This comparison of God to a fortified, natural stronghold denotes protection and safety in the most profound way. A hand-held shield provides some protection, but nothing like that of a fortress! The psalmist had found that place of true security which exists in God alone.
The word deliverer means “one who rescues or liberates.” David knew that God had not only rescued him from his physical enemies, but also from afflictions and temptations. A “buckler” in David’s time was a type of shield — again, this referred to protection not only from those who pursued him, but also from the fiery darts of Satan. The “horn of my salvation” is a metaphor relating to horned beasts that push, scatter, and destroy their enemies; David knew that God was his Savior and the One who could and would triumph over every foe. The “high tower” pictured a place of refuge far out of the reach of any who would attempt harm.
This collection of visual images lets us know the amazing security that God was to David. However, these verses are for us too. His words and descriptions of God can be ours as well! God is there to be our strength, our fortress, and our rock. He is ever present to deliver us from our spiritual foe and secure us from danger. Like the psalmist, we can and should put our trust in Him!
Written by David after he became king of Israel, Psalm 18 is a thankful song which reflects upon the goodness of God. This is the longest psalm in Book I (comprised of Psalms 1 through 41) and is nearly identical to 2 Samuel 22. Though the psalmist was at the height of his royal dominion at the time of this writing (see verses 43-45), he referred to himself as “the servant of the Lord” in the superscription, and took no glory for himself. Rather, he focused entirely on joyful praise for God’s power and majesty.
The structure of this psalm is not tightly knit, but moves from one thought to the next in an extemporaneous manner. David alternated between addressing God directly in statements of love and devotion, and reminiscing about times when he faced extreme peril but was delivered by God’s supernatural power.
In verses 7-15, dramatic aspects of natural forces symbolize the wrath and vengeance of God. The “smoke out of his nostrils” and “fire out of his mouth” (verse 8) may have referred to a volcano, forest fire, or meteor shower. God is pictured as riding upon a “cherub” and flying upon “the wings of the wind” (verse 10). Cherubim in Scripture typically are associated with the throne and sovereignty of God; they often function as guardians. “The Highest” in verse 13 reveals God as the supreme Sovereign of the universe, who can unleash His power at any moment.
Verses 16-24 are a reflection on God’s deliverance. The king relied upon the fact that the Lord delivers and vindicates His own, and he knew he had been innocent of wrongdoing. Although David’s foes had been too strong for him, they were not too strong for God. David pondered the mercy of the Lord in verses 25-29, and then returned to his prior theme of God’s perfect deliverance (verses 30-45). As a result of the victory God had given him in battle, surrounding nations had capitulated to him and become subservient. Verse 43, with its reference to the “people” (the Jews) and “heathen” (the Gentiles) is a prophetic foreshadowing of Christ’s kingdom. One day both Jew and Gentile alike will submit to the sovereign rule of the Lord Jesus.
The psalm concludes with David’s proclamation of praise to the living God, and expressions of praise for His deliverance and mercy.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Book I (1:1 — 41:13)
II. Book II (42:1 — 72:20)
III. Book III (73:1 — 89:52)
IV. Book IV (90:1 — 106:48)
V. Book V (107:1 — 150:6)
A Closer Look
- How many names for God are used in Psalm 18:2? What are they?
- In considering verses 26-27 of this psalm, why does God turn away some people?
- Based on your own experiences and what God has done in your life, what words would you use to describe God?
Like David, we can have absolute confidence in our all-powerful God. He is our unfailing place of refuge and security!