April 11: Psalm 18

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April 11: Psalm 18

Praise for deliverance

Long Meter double 88.88 D                     Guidance (He Leadeth Me), p. 110
Before the Throne of God Above
Sweet Hour (Sweet Hour of Prayer), p. 119

I love You, Lord! You are my strength, the Lord, my rock, my fort, my power,

My God, my hiding place, my shield, my horn of safety, and my tower.

Because He’s ever to be praised, unto the Lord I lift my cry;

For I shall be delivered thus from all the foes who me defy.

With cords of death on every side, I was assailed by floods of sin,

Entangled by the grave’s strong cords, my way with snares of death hemmed in.

In my distress I called the Lord; my cry to God for help was clear.

He from His temple heard my voice; my cry before Him reached His ear.

The earth then quivered to its depths; the mountains rocked with trembling frame;

The whole world’s firm foundations shook, because He in His anger came.

His nostrils smoked; His mouth belched fire; and glowing coals flamed forth from Him.

He bent the sky as He came down; thick darkness hovered under Him.

He swiftly on a cherub flew; on wings of wind He rushed in flight.

He hid Himself in darkness deep, thick clouds about Him black as night.

Then through the clouds His brilliance burst with lightnings, hailstones, coals of fire.

The Lord Most High then thundered forth; he spoke with hailstones, coals of fire.

The deadly arrows He sent forth dispersed His foes in wild retreat.

The flaming lightnings He shot out made their discomfiture complete.

Then channels of the seas were seen, laid bare the world’s foundations vast;

At Your rebuke, O Lord, they shook, and at Your nostrils’ angry blast.

He reached from heav’n and rescued me from many waters swelling high;

From those that hate me set me free, from foes that stronger were than I.

In my distress my foes came on; The Lord was my security;

He brought me forth and gave me room, because He took delight in me.

According to my righteousness I am rewarded by the Lord;

According as my hands were clean, He gives to me a just reward.

I’ve kept the pathway of the Lord and from my God did not depart,

I’ve kept His judgments in my sight, His statutes shut not from my heart.

Sincere toward Him, I set my guard to keep myself away from sin.

My righteousness the Lord rewards as in His sight my hands are clean.

To gracious men You gracious are; the perfect You perfection show;

The pure You show that You are pure; Your cunning will the crafty know.

A humble people You lift up; but haughty eyes you humble low.

You light my lamp and make it shine. The Lord my God makes darkness glow.

By You I can attack a troop. And by my God I leap a wall.

Our God! How perfect is His way! No promise of the Lord can fall.

He is a shield around all those who flee to Him from foes abroad.

For who is God, except the Lord? Who is a rock, except our God?

My God girds up my loins with strength; my way He perfects with His hand.

He makes my feet swift like the doe’s; on heights triumphant makes me stand.

My arms can bend a bow of grass; hands trained by Him for battle wait.

Your gift, my shield! Your hand, my help! Your gentleness has made me great.

You for my steps have cleared the way; my feet slide not while I pursue;

I overtake my fleeing foes; I turn not till I thrust them through.

My foes can rise again no more; they at my feet are fallen now.

For You have made me strong for war; You’ve made my foes beneath me bow.

You made them turn their backs and flee, that I my haters might destroy.

They cried for help, but no one came; They begged the Lord; He sent no joy.

I crushed them small as flying dust; like trampled mud I let them fall.

You rescued me from peoples’ strife, made me the head of nations all.

A people I knew not will serve and, when they hear me, will obey.

The sons of strangers, trembling come and from their strongholds fade away.

Jehovah lives! Blessed be my Rock! The God Who saves exalted be!

The God Who vengeance executes, and humbles nations under me.

He saves me from my enemies; Yes, You will now exalt me far

Above the men of violence who risen up against me are.

I therefore will give thanks to You among the nations all, O Lord;

And I will sing the psalms of praise, to Your great name will praise accord.

He to His king salvation gives, to His anointed shows His grace;

His mercy evermore extends to David and his promised race.

Second Samuel 22 gives a nearly identical version of Psalm 18, similarly providing the historical context of David’s deliverance from the unjust persecution of Saul. Many Christians have seen fit, over the centuries, to pray psalm 18 in the context of the suffering and trial of Christ before Pontius Pilate. Indeed, certain lines of the psalm lend themselves readily to such a reading. Jesus was subjected to trial under the two greatest legal codes of that day, those of Israel and Rome, and in neither could His innocence find vindication. Within the finest forensic systems of humanity then devised, the most just man in history could obtain no justice. Psalm 18 fits congruously into that dramatic context. Many lines of Psalm 18, however, lay greater stress on the rich blessings of the Lord’s triumph over evil. For example, the calling of the Gentiles to salvation. Rejected by the Jews at His trial, Jesus [through David in this psalm] speaks of the other nations: “You have delivered me from the contentions of the people; You have placed me as head of the nations; A people whom I have not known serve me…Therefore I will give thanks to You among the nations, O Lord, and praise will I sing to Your name” (verses 43,49). Later the Apostle Paul will quote this verse from Psalm 18 by way of explaining his thesis that “the Gentiles should glorify God for His mercy” (Rom. 15:9). (Reardon, p. 33-34)

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