Summary: The LORD is always at work for His prayerful praising people.
BEARING UP UNDER ADVERSITY.
The superscription tells us that this is “a Psalm of David”, dating it to “the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul” (cf. 2 Samuel 22:1). This identifies it not only as ‘by David’, but also as ‘about David.’ However, it could also be ‘about’ any, or all, of God’s people.
It is also ‘about’ Jesus: a fact proven both by its contents, and by the testimony of the New Testament. “In Him I will trust” (Psalm 18:2) is put upon the lips of Jesus in Hebrews 2:13. It is arguable, too, that Psalm 18:49 is put upon the lips of Jesus in Romans 15:9.
Psalm 18:1. “I will love thee, O LORD my strength.” This is a strong declaration of intimate love. The modern equivalent would be, ‘I love you, from the bottom of my heart.’ To love the LORD your God is first a duty: we love Him because of who He is (Deuteronomy 6:5). But it is also a delight: we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). This love is intensified when we consider His mercies (Psalm 116:1).
Psalm 18:2. Having professed his love to God, the Psalmist testifies of who the LORD is to him: “my Rock” (in the sense of his place of hiding, as in the crags of the hills when David was fleeing from Saul); “my fortress” in whom he could take shelter from the foe; “my deliverer” or “Saviour”; “my God.” Here “my strength” is another rendering of “my Rock”, this time in the sense of firmness, or reliability. “In whom I will trust” is ‘in whom I will put my faith’; “my buckler” (cf. Psalm 91:4); “the horn of my salvation” enabling me to push down my foes; “my high tower” into which I can run and be safe (cf. Proverbs 18:10).
Psalm 18:3 is not self-serving, but obedience (cf. Psalm 50:15). He has helped us hitherto, and so is worthy of praise. He has commanded us to call upon Him, and He will help us again. This is not a mournful task, but a gladsome exercise in faith. If we thus come, “so” shall we be saved from our enemies.
DEATH. Psalm 18:4-6. Have you ever felt encompassed, cornered in a tight spot? This was certainly the case for David, on the run from Saul. But I also see here Jesus, all the way from Gethsemane (Matthew 26:38), through betrayal (Matthew 26:47), the baying of the crowd (Matthew 27:25), mocking (Matthew 27:28-30), crucifixion (Matthew 27:35), the cry of dereliction (Matthew 27:46), to the giving up of life in death (Matthew 27:50).
Psalm 18:7-15. Even before we ask, the LORD has answered (Isaiah 65:24). Even while the words were upon Jesus’ lips, the LORD shook the earth (Matthew 27:51). This was the experience of Paul and Silas, too (Acts 16:25-26). The LORD is always at work for His prayerful praising people.
RESURRECTION. Psalm 18:16-19. Even while Jesus was in “Sheol” (cf. Psalm 18:5), the LORD reached down and drew Him out (Matthew 28:2). Death could not hold Him (Acts 2:24) in whom the LORD “delighted” (cf. Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5). The LORD brought Him out of the constrictions of the ‘tight spot’, as I just called it, into a “large” or ‘spacious’ place: He ‘rose again’ (1 Corinthians 15:4), and ascended into heaven (Luke 24:51).