Psalm 18

Psalm 18
Christ in Association with Israel from Egypt to the Millennium
Psalm 18. In this Psalm, which is a Psalm of David, we have Jehovah’s deliverance of Christ in association with Israel from all their enemies. It covers the whole history of the nation, but does not detail the failure and ruin of the nation. Rather it takes up God’s goodness to the faithful. The inscription shows that Psalm 18 is a song David sang to the Lord in the day when all his enemies were put down. It is a song of triumph! We know this is a Messianic psalm because it is quoted by Paul in Romans 15, in relation to the conversion of Gentiles accomplished by Christ. Paul applied it to the gospel of the grace of God going out to the Gentiles, but the full prophetic fulfillment of it is the Gentiles turning to the Lord in the Millennium. This Psalm is repeated verbatim in 2 Sam. 22.
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David, the servant of Jehovah, who spoke to Jehovah the words of this song in the day that Jehovah had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies and out of the hand of Saul. And he said,
1 I will love thee, O Jehovah, my strength.
2 Jehovah is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my GOD, my rock, in whom I will trust; my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower.
3 I will call upon Jehovah, who is to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
vv.1-3 Trust in Jehovah. In the opening verses we have Christ in association with the godly remnant of Israel, confessing their implicit trust in Jehovah for deliverance. He refers to Jehovah under many figures; a rock, a fortress, a deliverer, a shield, a horn, a high tower, etc. These verses give the theme of the song: confidence in Jehovah who has the power, the strength, and the will to deliver the faithful from their enemies. Surely this sentiment will be one of the great themes of Israel’s praise to the Lord in the Millennium.
4 The bands of death encompassed me, and torrents of Belial made me afraid.
5 The bands of Sheol surrounded me, the cords of death encountered me.
6 In my distress I called upon Jehovah, and I cried out to my God; he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, into his ears.
vv.4-6 Christ in Distress Cries to His God. The darkest time in Israel’s history is described in vv.4-6. In one sense it refers to Israel in bondage in Egypt. In another sense it refers to the faithful remnant in the darkness of the Great Tribulation. In another sense it refers to Christ on the cross, facing death, and crying out in prayer to His God for deliverance. In the middle of v.6 there is a change, and the prayer is answered!
7 Then the earth shook and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains trembled and shook, because he was wroth.
8 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals burned forth from it.
9 And he bowed the heavens, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.
10 And he rode upon a cherub and did fly; yea, he flew fast upon the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his secret place, his tent round about him: darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
12 From the brightness before him his thick clouds passed forth: hail and coals of fire.
13 And Jehovah thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice: hail and coals of fire.
14 And he sent his arrows, and scattered mine enemies; and he shot forth lightnings, and discomfited them.
15 And the beds of the waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were uncovered at thy rebuke, Jehovah, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.
16 He reached forth from above, he took me, he drew me out of great waters:
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me; for they were mightier than I.
18 They encountered me in the day of my calamity, but Jehovah was my stay.
vv.7-18 Jehovah’s Deliverance: The Exodus, Resurrection. These verses we have God’s answer to Christ’s cry of distress, and Israel’s cry for deliverance. That cry was heard, and God answered with His mighty power. These verses poetically describe the great power of the Lord coming forth in the deliverance of His people. In v.11 we may have a reference to the darkness God sent on the Egyptians, so that they could not see Israel to attack them. In v.12 we have a reference perhaps to the bright glory cloud of Jehovah’s presence that was with Israel in that time. In v.15 we have a reference to the parting of the waters of the Red Sea. The great wind is pictured here as the blast of the breath of Jehovah’s nostrils. In v.16 we have Jehovah’s deliverance of Israel out of the waters of the Red Sea. All of this also is a prophetic description of two things: (1) the deliverance of Christ from death, pictured as coming out of the waters of death, in resurrection, and (2) the deliverance from Israel from all of their enemies out of the Great Tribulation!
19 And he brought me forth into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
20 Jehovah hath rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
21 For I have kept the ways of Jehovah, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22 For all his ordinances were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me;
23 And I was upright with him, and kept myself from mine iniquity.
24 And Jehovah hath recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25 With the gracious thou dost shew thyself gracious; with the upright man thou dost shew thyself upright;
26 With the pure thou dost shew thyself pure; and with the perverse thou dost shew thyself contrary.
27 For it is thou that savest the afflicted people; but the haughty eyes wilt thou bring down.
28 For it is thou that makest my lamp to shine: Jehovah my God enlighteneth my darkness.
29 For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.
vv.19-29 Israel Established in the Land, Victorious. In these verses we have Jehovah’s deliverance of Israel, bringing them into the land of Canaan because He delighted in them. Clearly these words cannot be strictly limited to the nation at large, because the nation was unfaithful. But in verse 20 the summer speaks of Jehovah rewarding him according to his own righteousness, according to the cleanest of his hands. This of course speaks of Christ who always did the will of God and kept his Waze (v.21), End it also includes the faithful remnant in association with him. In verse 23 there is a reference to an equity, and to the faith for keeping themselves from it. Clearly here we have the remnant speaking. Christ has no iniquity in a personal sense. But it is his grace that will keep the remnant from falling into the paths of the wicked. Verses 24 through 26 we find that the government of God was working on behalf of the faithful. They vindicate God‘s righteous character in all of his ways with them. In verse 27 through 29 the faithful confess that it is really the Lord who delivered them, it is though is repeated over and over again.In verse 29 it is clearly God helping Israel in their fight against their enemies. No doubt this is not only speaking of David’s victory over his enemies, but also looking on to Israel’s final battles in the indignation, where in Messiah will lead them out in a victorious conquest of all of their enemies.
30 As for GOD, his way is perfect; the word of Jehovah is tried: he is a shield to all that trust in him.
31 For who is +God save Jehovah? and who is a rock if not our God?
32 The GOD who girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect,
33 Who maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places;
34 Who teacheth my hands to war, and mine arms bend a bow of brass;
35 And thou didst give me the shield of thy salvation, and thy right hand held me up; and thy condescending gentleness hath made me great.
36 Thou didst enlarge my steps under me, and mine ankles have not wavered.
37 I pursued mine enemies, and overtook them; and I turned not again till they were consumed.
38 I crushed them, and they were not able to rise: they fell under my feet.
39 And thou girdedst me with strength to battle; thou didst subdue under me those that rose up against me.
40 And mine enemies didst thou make to turn their backs unto me, and those that hated me I destroyed.
41 They cried, and there was none to save; — unto Jehovah, and he answered them not.
42 And I did beat them small as dust before the wind; I did cast them out as the mire of the streets.
vv.30-42 Messiah and Israel given victory over all enemies. In these verses the faithful summarize the great themes of Gods government and God’s character. Gods way is perfect in all He does, and this is born out in prophecy. The Word of the Lord is tested, and is proven to be accurate and abiding. The Lord’s preservation is proven to be effective to all those who trust in Him. In v.31, Jehovah is exalted above all other gods. History both past and future will prove the greatness of Jehovah. In v.30, Jehovah is the One who gives the faithful strength and guides their way. In v.33, Jehovah is the One who gives the faithful speed and ability to escape to their high places, like a deer. In v.34, Jehovah is the One who enables the faithful to fight against their enemies and to be victorious. In v.35, Jehovah is the One who protects His people, upholds them, and makes them great. In vv.37-42 we have a description of the great victory that Jehovah will grant to Israel against all their enemies, through His own strength and wisdom.
43 Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; thou hast made me the head of the nations: a people I knew not doth serve me.
44 At the hearing of the ear, they obey me: strangers come cringing unto me.
45 Strangers have faded away, and they come trembling forth from their close places.
vv.43-45 Israel, under Messiah, at the head of the nations. In these verses we have not only a summary of the Lord’s deliverance of Israel, but also their place in the Millennium. It speaks of Israel as made the head of the nations, a reference to their place of prominence in the kingdom of the Messiah. It speaks of foreign peoples, strangers coming cringing or fearfully before Israel and Messiah to obey them and submit themselves to them.
46 Jehovah liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of my salvation,
47 The GOD who hath avenged me, and hath subjected the peoples to me;
48 Who hath delivered me from mine enemies: yea, thou hast lifted me up above them that rose up against me; from the man of violence hast thou delivered me.
49 “Therefore will I give thanks to thee, Jehovah, among the nations, and will sing psalms to thy name.” [quoted Romans 15:9]
50 It is he who giveth great deliverances to his king, and sheweth loving-kindness to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.
vv.46-50 Praise to Jehovah for His deliverance. In the closing verses of the song, the faithful pour out their praise to Jehovah for His deliverance. It summarizes the themes of the Psalm, and states these things as the foundation of the nations’ praise to Jehovah in the Millennium. Above everything, Jehovah is given all the credit, Israel takes none of it for themselves. We find in Romans 15 that Paul quotes v.49 in relation to the conversion of Gentiles accomplished by Christ. Paul applied it to the gospel of the grace of God going out to the Gentiles, but the full prophetic fulfillment of it is the Gentiles turning to the Lord in the Millennium. The final verses speak of “his king… his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore”. This now doubt refers to the Messiah, great David’s greater Son!
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