Friday, April 15, 2011

Reflecting on the Pslams: Chapter 18

Psalm 18

To the chief Muscian, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD in the day that the LORD delivered him from the and of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said,

1I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.
2The 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.
3I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
4The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.
5The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.
6In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.
7Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.
8There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
9He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.
10And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.
11He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
12At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.
13The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.
14Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.
15Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.
16He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.
 17He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.
18They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.
19He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
20The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
21For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me.
23I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.
24Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.
25With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;
26With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.
27For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.
28For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.
29For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.
30As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.
31For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?
32It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
33He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places.
34He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
35Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.
36Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.
37I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed.
38I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet.
39For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.
40Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me.
41They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but he answered them not.
42Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets.
43Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me.
44As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me.
45The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places.
46The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.
47It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me.
48He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.
49Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.

50Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.

Chapter 18

The longest Psalm that I've come across thus far and the longest one that I've decided to reflect on. I'll probably just talk about the verses as I see 'em so I link the verses with how I relate to them. Here goes...

Matthew Henry comments on the first verse or so by stating the following: "The first words, I will love thee, O Lord, my strength,' are the scope and contents of the psalm. Those that truly love God, may triumph in him as their Rock and Refuge, and may with confidence call upon him. It is good for us to observe all the circumstances of a mercy which magnify the power of God and his goodness to us in it. David was a praying man, and God was found a prayer-hearing God." One of the things I grab from that is that I can express my love to God since He is my strength and my foundation for whatever I'm going through. I find strength in Him and I can give back to Him by express my love for Him. Without Him, I have no strength and He knows when I need His strength the most. And I am thankful that He magnified His power to help me out. The idea of God being my fortress and my strength, as David describes in verse 2, is such a strong yet simple theological truth. It's in God's nature for Him for Him to be a rock to whoever trusts in Him. "Rock" to me means that I have a firm foundation in Him and that it will never be shaken. David continues to list the protective nature of God in verse 2 and I think the rest of it pretty much speaks for itself. Whenever I've dealt with opposition (v. 3), I've called upon God to save from it and I give Him all the glory for that. I may not have faced as strong opposition as some people have, but either way, I've faced some pretty tough crap in my life that I was only able to get through by crying out to God. In verses 4-6, David describes His trial and his calling upon God to deliver him from it. Although I personally haven't faced the sorrows of hell and the snares of death, I've still faced some tough crap in my life and I knew that I had to rely on God to get me out of it. Like when I was really depressed and giving into Satan's lies, as I mentioned in a previous entry. I felt like crap and God wanted me to trust in Him to help me out. I relate to the part in verse 6 where it says, "In my distress I called upon the LORD," which I did when I was utterly depressed as a result of giving into the lie that I wasn't a planned child for instance. God answered me and when He did, he cleared some things us in my life that I wouldn't have had revealed to me if I didn't turn to Him. I think through that, I learned that I was a planned child and that I don't have to live life only to give into Satan's crap. In verses 7-19, David is describing God's helping him out in his time of need -- a time when he needed to be saved. I'm not gonna comment on each individual verse since it's mostly vivid imagery that I don't really imagine myself reflecting on.

Matthew Henry comments on verses 20-28 by stating the following: "Those that forsake the ways of the Lord, depart from their God. But though conscious to ourselves of many a false step, let there not be a wicked departure from our God. David kept his eye upon the rule of God's commands. Constant care to keep from that sin, whatever it be, which most easily besets us, proves that we are upright before God. Those who show mercy to others, even they need mercy. Those who are faithful to God, shall find him all that to them which he has promised to be. The words of the Lord are pure words, very sure to be depended on, and very sweet to be delighted in." I'm glad that I never departed from God because there'd be consequences if I did. When I'm with Him in eternity, I'll be able to say that I have kept His ways and not departed from Him (v. 21). His won't hide anything from me when I am judged (v. 22), which means tthat I can trust that He'll judge me without covering anything up. We can't hide anything form God nor can He hide anything from us. Doing so would be against His nature. In verses 23-24, David is talking about His strong stranding (being blameless or upright) in the Lord. I try maintain being upright, but that isn't always easy. As a result, God will examine my hands to see if I was pure or not (v. 24). He will even renew me according to my righteousness. God is merciful to those who are meciful towards others (v. 25). I can't say I've thought about my sowing mercy towards others, but I do try to remain upright. Since I am pure and I don't go out and commit sin, God will show Himself pure to me (v. 26). I am not perverse or froward, so I don't have to worry about God acting that way towards me. God has saved from affliction many times and I can't thank Him enough (v. 27). He's even been a light to me when I dealt with darkness. (v. 28). To me, verse 29 means that I have conquered strong opposition through God and that I have conquered intimidating obstacles with His strength.

God's way will never cause problems for me (v. 30) nor does His Word lose ground. Since God's way is perfect, I can trust in Him knowing that what He blesses me with is what He has exactly in mind for me. That's what I think "perfect" is getting across. Since His Word has stood the test of time, since it's eternal, I can't lose by living by it. Verse 31 reminds of the Book of Isaiah, chapter 41 or so, where God says He is the only God. Only He can be called a rock since when one trusts in Him, He is his or her firm foundation. If God didn't give me strength, then my way would be lacking (v. 32). His path He has picked out for me is perfect since I rely on Him to provide strength and wisdom for it. Even in high places, my feet are like those of a dear due to His influence (v. 33). Since I may go to, say, a foreign country to do missions work, God'll be with me by keeping my footing -- my walk with Him -- secure. He enables me for spiritual battle (vv.34-35). I've dealt with spiritual battle, spiritual warfare, before and God has helped me to come out on top. I just cried out to Him and let Him doe His work. If Satan's trying to bring me over to his level, God's gonna take care of him, even with just a simple, "Get thee hence, Satan." Having spiritual strength means I am enabled for spiritual battle, especially since I can trust in God to do the hard stuff. He makes sure my battles end in victory even though I may struggle a little bit. God has given me a firm place to stand (v. 36) so I won't fall when engaged in spiritual battle. In the past, God has helped me to conquer opposition (v. 37) even if I started out not feeling strong, such as that time when Satan had me giving into his lies. God set him straight, though. If Satan bothers me, I can just tell him to leave me alone (v. 38). By telling Satan to leave me alone, he has no power and he can choose to bother someone else if he wants. He's a loser and there's nothing good about him. I guess verse 39 deals with a similar thing, which I see where it says, " thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me."

Verses 40-45 continue to describe David's victory over his opposition. I think the verses don't have much that I can contibute reflection-wise since they mostly deal with imagery. However, I wanna say that whenever I've dealt with opposition, God's helped me out and I can learn from those experiences and be reminded of how much God cares enough to protect me. The LORD continues to live even after the opposition is dealt with (v. 46). Since He is eternal, nothing or no one can outlive or outdo Him. I will continue to exalt Him for His leading me to victory through trials. As a result of God's subduing the opposition, He helps me to come out on top (v. 47), such as the time when I gave into Satan's lies. I eventually figured out that I was being lied to by the enemy and I caught Satan in his own trap -- with God's help, of course -- by realizing that I don't have to believe what he's talling me. He's delivered me from the enemy time and time again, which I will continue to praise Him for (vv. 48-49). He gives His followers great trimuph or deliverance (v. 50) when they trust in Him when they face opposition.

                                                            Source used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 18". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

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