Psalm 18 Commentary
David is reflecting on his long career. He is looking at the many interventions of the LORD. It is an interesting list.
There were times when David faced enemies who were too strong for him. God was his only way out. He needed rescue.
At other times, David went into battle with a little bit of a chance to win. He needed the finger of God to push him through.
We also have times when we see a victorious David slicing through his enemies with ease. He is the bully in the neighborhood. He has the respect of his peers. He is an accomplished military general. He is the pursuer and not the pursued.
David is looking at himself as a righteous man whose good record before the LORD deserves a second look. But we know after the Bathsheba incident, David would not be so confident. He wouldn’t want to face God the Judge, but rather God the compassionate Father.
There are times when your righteousness counts and there are times when only the mercies of the LORD can help you. We are forever grateful for this unique but impossible combination of God’s character.
The saint can never be one long life of running away from the enemy, being pursued constantly. This can be a time of endless petitions for help. Equally, the saint can never be one long life of victory after victory, a time when the enemies scamper each time you show up.
It is always in between. At times both ends happen at the same time. Look at your life. You are admired by many for being so blessed. Yet and at the same time, a thorn exists that makes you cry endlessly before the LORD for relief. This psalm has great importance in helping us see balance in our own Christian walk.
When in distress, David called out to the LORD for help. And when victorious, he returned by acknowledging the LORD as both the energy and the reason for the victory. Petitionary prayer and prayer of praise and thanksgiving: both are ordained for the saint. That’s the way it is for David and we guess it remains so for every saint.
Psalm 18 establishes for us a good prayer pattern. It should always be heavy at one end. Interestingly, there is a petition here but it is camouflaged in a declaration that the LORD “gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever.”
And why not? The LORD’S track record is always good enough to warrant this kind of statement. Praise the LORD!
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