Excited Not Exhausted – Psalm 18

Often, we are tired of our lives and are drained of all our energy to fight our battles. If metabolism is the chemical reaction in the body’s cells that change food into energy, worshipping God is the spiritual reaction in our soul that changes the word of God into energy. Glorifying God does not mean the worship session of a church service or a revival meeting, but it is about acknowledging God’s glory all throughout our lives. When our food lacks carbohydrates our bodies do not get the required energy. Similarly, our souls die when we do not understand the love and grace of God. David attributed the love, grace, and fellowship of God for his success and thanked God for giving him victory over his enemies throughout his life.

This Psalm is recorded in the book of Samuel (2 Samuel 22), as David was looking back at his life and the Grace of God that carried him through, probably during the fag end of his mortal life, before uttering his last words (2 Samuel 23). David recalled how people dethroned him and God protected him from his enemies and gave him his kingdom. Though David was exhausted because of his enemies, he was excited as he remembered the grace of God that protected him throughout his life.

I Love You, LORD

I love you, LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalms 18:1-2

The whole Bible depicts the love of God towards people but we don’t often see people in the Bible claiming to love God except this Psalm. David, through his suffering, understood the self-centred love of people. It has helped him to identify the agape love of God from that of eros, philia, and storge love of people.

The first and foremost command of God is to love Him with all our hearts, minds, and soul. Why did God give this commandment to people? Only when we love God and depend on him in our crucial situations, we can understand Him more clearly. Everything God asks us to do or bestows on us is for our benefit. Now to each person, the manifestation of the Spirit is given to the people for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7). Whether it is evil or good, God uses both in a positive way in the lives of the people who love Him (Romans 8:28). This Psalm is not about quoting various records of history but a personal experience of God’s presence, protection, and victory.

David connected all the geographical landscape that protected him from his enemies with God but did not treat them as God. David counted his strength as the strength of God, and whenever he talked about his strength, he referred to the strength of God. On the contrary, we project the strength of God as ours.

I Called To The LORD

I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, The cords of death entangled me;

the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.

Psalms 18:3-6

Understanding the love of God and loving Him with all our hearts, gives us the confidence to call Him at any time of our need, irrespective of our vulnerable conditions. If we do not love God, the devil will drag us away from Him. Not only calling Him but believing that He heard our prayers and answered those is the outcome of our constant touch with Him. Our life situations lead us to become ungodly in many ways, and it would be unfortunate for an ungodly person to die because there will be no further hope of life. David was aware of this fact, and his main concern was not to become ungodly because of the evil people who were constantly chasing him from the presence of God. David did not conclude that God did not hear his prayer, but was confident of his prayers being heard. Do we have the same confidence when we pray to God? Are we certain that God is hearing our prayers?

Voice Of The Most High

The earth trembled and quaked,and the foundations of the mountains shook;

they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.

He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.

He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.

He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

Psalms 18:7-15

When David believed that his prayers reached God, he connected his every movement and moment with the response of God. We often attribute the answers to our prayers as a natural phenomenon, a coincidence, or a result of our endeavours. Every mountain, rock, valley or forest points towards the power of the Creator, and David used His creations as camouflage. When the enemies of David trembled, he did not claim any credit to himself but could understand the anger of God that frightened his enemies. The climatic conditions that favoured David, helped him recall the way in which God functions. When his enemies were scattered, he attributed it to the power of God, who sends lightning ahead of His voice. The valleys of the sea might be a reference to God’s miraculous parting of the red sea to save His people from the hands of their enemies.

God Rescued Me

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;

he drew me out of deep waters.

He rescued me from my powerful enemy,

from my foes, who were too strong for me.

They confronted me in the day of my disaster,

but the LORD was my support.

He brought me out into a spacious place;

he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Psalms 18:16-19

God delivered David from all his enemies, and what David had recorded in his personal experience had become a prelude to the redemption story of God. Jesus came to this earth to save us from our sin, the greatest enemy of man. Out of our graves, God brought us to a spacious place. God did this two thousand years ago because He delights in us. Every incident of our lives should connect us to the redemption story, and if we do not realize the accomplishments of the redemption story in our lives, then we should understand that we are not walking with God.

My Righteousness

The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.

For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I am not guilty of turning from my God.
All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.
I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin.
The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

Psalms 18:20-24

Whenever David referred to “My Strength,” he actually referred to the strength of God instead of his own. When David spoke about his righteousness, he did not refer to the righteousness of God but referred to his. Can anyone be righteous on their own? From this portion of scripture, we can understand how people of the old testament were unaware of the grace of God, while they were well aware of all other characteristics of God. God emphasized the truth in the old testament that He will be compassionate to people in all situations (Isaiah 54:10).

Until the day God demonstrated His love by sending His Son to this world, and Jesus died on the cross for our sins, no one understood the grace of God as clearly as we now understand. David indeed had not denied the grace of God, but at the same time, he could not explain the grace as much as we can. Instead, he talked about how much he strived hard to make his life worthy of His love. Though it appears that David attributed his success to his righteousness, the words before this portion vividly depict how much David relied on God and not on his own righteousness or strength.

Who Is God To Us?

To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.

Psalms 18:25-29

If God is faithful only to the people worthy of His faithfulness, then who is God for us? Our God is faithful even when we are unworthy and unfaithful to Him. But this portion of Psalm explains how God dealt with hypocrites. When David did not hide anything from God, he received favour from Him and understood the ways of God. When we accept our weaknesses, God is always ready to strengthen us and save us by His grace. People seldom reveal their state of affairs to God and conceal the facts. When we prove ourselves righteous, inadvertently, we project God as an unrighteous God. In that case, God gave them what they deserve.

In one of His parables, Jesus spoke about a man who tried to justify his deed and tried to cover up his mistakes. “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed” (Matthew 25:24). God does not like our sugar-quoted words, as He already knows what is in our hearts. When we accept who we are, God is faithful to fulfil His promises in our lives, and we will gain the confidence to scale even the loftiest of walls.

The Acknowledgment

As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except for our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me;
your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet so that my ankles do not give way.

Psalms 18:30-36

David recorded these words as his testimony, proven in many hardships that he faced throughout his life. Trusting God in all walks of our lives gives us ample opportunities to understand the ways of God and its perfection. God gave many resources, and those have become a snare for us to attribute every event of our lives to God and God alone. David thanked God for giving him feet like a deer’s that helped him run swiftly from his enemies. David would not have forgotten his first battle against the Philistine giant and admired how God trained his hands to defeat Goliath. He remembered how God provided him with a roadmap for his success and strengthened his feet.

The Realization

I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.
You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me.
You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.
They cried for help, but there was no one to save them — to the LORD, but he did not answer. I beat them as fine as windblown dust; I trampled them like mud in the streets. You have delivered me from the attacks of the people; you have made me the head of nations. People I did not know now serve me, foreigners cower before me; as soon as they hear of me, they obey me. They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.

Psalms 18:37-45

These verses might have been uttered during the last phase of his fugitive life, as his people were gearing up to stone him. Amidst severe opposition, David did not trust his people but trusted God and enquired about his future course of action (1 Samuel 30:6). When God told David that He would rescue his people, he trusted Him and went with four hundred men as two hundred men were exhausted and stayed back. David knew that he alone could not have rescued his people from his enemies unless God did help. When the enemies of David trembled and came out of their stronghold he understood that God had terrified them. When our enemies tremble at our sight, do we realize the work of God or credit it to our bravery?

A Future Hope

The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!
He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me,
who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me. Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name. He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever.

Psalms 18:46 -50

The entire Psalm reflects the life of Jesus, His death, resurrection, exaltation, and this portion refers to the Kingdom of God. The Gospel of Matthew and Luke recorded the lineage of Jesus’ birth. If we keenly observe, at every stage, the devil tried to cut off the continuity of this lineage either by making people go far from God or by ending their lives without any heirs. But God preserved this lineage till the birth of Jesus and destroyed satan’s plan.

David, who escaped the death that had chased him throughout his life, now understood the purpose of God in the lives of His anointed ones. Though David remembered Saul as the violent enemy, God sent His Son to save us as Jesus conquered our deadly enemy, death. With his understanding of God’s unfailing love, David now believed that the blessings and protections he enjoyed throughout his life would continue in the lives of his descendants, and the Son of Man would appear at the appointed time in the same preserved lineage. People will praise the name of the Lord forever, and through their praises, the gentiles will come to know of His victory over death, and they will seek God to receive eternal life. When we understand the plan of God in our lives, we will be trading our exhaustion with great excitement.

Lord, open our eyes to correlate the events of our lives with your Kingdom and its glory.

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