Summary: In Psalm 18 David recounts some of his struggles and celebrates the victories God gave him over his adversary. This Psalm is full of encouragement for the child of God and full of assurance that we win!
In Psalm 18 David gives testimony of God’s faithfulness in his life. He talks about some hard times that he went through. He was not exempted from those. But in the midst of that trouble, he found God to be a very present help the moment he called on Him. The title of this Psalm, which by the way is inspired Scripture, gives some helpful information. (1) the Psalm was given to the Chief Musician. It was, no doubt, put to music and sung as a part of the Hebrew worship. In fact, the title refers to it as a song. This is a majestic song or psalm of praise. (2) the context in which David spoke these words was “on the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.” So what we’re about to read is a celebration of victory, a declaration of praise to God for bringing him through the battles. And as we read this chapter, think about God’s faithfulness in your own life. Has He brought you through some things? Did you learn some things about God in those experiences? Are you grateful for what He has done? And will you let all that serve as a basis for trusting Him in the now?
I. In verses 1-2 we see the Lord who Delivers.
“I will love You, O LORD, my strength. 2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”1
David provides eight descriptions of the Lord in those two verses.
(1) “my strength” – David will make his boast in the Lord during this Psalm. He will talk about his own faithfulness to the Lord. He will talk about defeating his enemies. But right here up front he is acknowledging that all of that was by the grace of God. The strength he had to do those things was not his own strength, but the strength that God gave him. It’s important to know that when we read those verses later in this Psalm.
(2) “my rock” – The source of David’s stability was God Himself. You’ve heard the phrase, “solid as a rock.” It is something that stands firm. Jesus contrasted building on the sand verses building on a rock.2 God is that firm foundation that sustains us in contrast to the shifting sand of other things in this world. One insurance company named itself after the Rock of Gibraltar because that sends the message of steadfast reliability. “The LORD is my rock….” And:
(3) “my fortress”—a fortified position in a strategic location—like a castle. It’s a place of defense and safety.
(4) “my deliverer”—this fits David’s overall theme in this Psalm. The point is God delivered him from enemies that were too strong for him. Remember how Saul was determined to kill David. David had only done Saul good. When nobody else would fight Goliath, David stepped forward and defeated Saul’s enemy for him. When Saul was tormented with an evil spirit, David would play his instrument under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and drive the evil spirit away. Yet Saul did everything he could to destroy David. David only had a few men. Saul had the whole army of Israel. At one point it got so bad, and David got so discouraged, that he said “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul” (1 Sam. 27:1). That’s
when he fled to the Philistines. What I want you to see is that David’s trials were just as real and just as threatening as yours are. There were times he got discouraged just like we do. Yet God proved faithful through it all and delivered him from all his enemies.
(5) “my God” – Hebrew word is 'el which can be translated Almighty.3 The power of God is emphasized throughout this Psalm.
(6) “my shield” – the one who protects me.
(7) “the horn of my salvation”—a horn speaks of power. The rhinoceros, the bull, uses his horn to assert strength. So David is saying that the Lord is the power behind his salvation. It wasn’t his own bow; it wasn’t his sword or spear. Those weapons may have been involved. But David knew God was the ultimate source of deliverance and victory.
(8) “my stronghold” – a place we can retreat into and be safe. Some of these terms are synonyms. David is not making a didactic list. He is overflowing with celebration and appreciation of God’s salvation in his life. He is singing worship unto the Lord in this Psalm.
Notice the prevalence of the personal pronoun “my.” David’s relationship with God is not theoretical. It comes out of the nitty gritty of life. It flows out of personal experience with God. “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer….”