Psalm 18 was written by David, who spoke this song of thanksgiving on the day that the Lord delivered him from Saul and his enemies, contains a very clear message.
The message is particularly important to remember during the Corona Virus crisis and I believe the crux of the message is found in verse 31..
“For who is God,except the Lord ? And who is a rock except our God?”
Quite simply, rocks symbolise strength and stability. Our God epitomises ultimate strength. Our God is utterly stable and reliable. Nothing or no-one compares to Him. With the world in total disarray, people have quickly realised that those things they relied upon including their work/career, money/stockmarket/superannuation, daily routines, familiarity and the like is likened to standing on sinking sand. All this and more can be taken away in an instant. Nothing can be relied upon except the Lord. By placing your confidence in God alone will literally be likened to standing on a firm rock while surrounded by rising, stormy waters.
As well as describing the Lord as our Rock and Strength, there are over 10 other names or descriptors David penned in Psalm 18, some of which are worth mentioning, albeit briefly now.
Afortress is a military stronghold or heavily fortified building where one is safe and protected from their enemies. We are heavily guarded on all sides by the Lord and shielded from mortal harm. Such knowledge should give us great comfort.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer: My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My saviour.”
2 Sam. 22:2-3
Not only is God able to protect us, He is able to rescue us from harm and danger. In fact, He is the only one who can do so. Jehovah Nissi means ‘our deliverer’ and is one of God’s many names. Each name of God describes a facet of His character.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust..” Psalm 18:2
A shieldis a device that is used as protection against an enemy’s blows. This point is preciously poignant. A shield, by virtue of it’s use, takes the blows meant for something/someone else. Just think about this for a moment. God uses Himself as your shield! What selfless love, what sacrifice! This symbolises a beautiful picture indeed! Take hope in the knowledge that the Lord is your shield.
“O God, the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the days of battle.” Psalm 140:7
Horn (of my Salvation)
In ancient battle times, the horn was used to push, scatter and destroy the enemy in order to save from harm. It was also seen as another symbol of strength. The horn is a symbol reflecting the Lord’s multifaceted powers. God has and will conquer every opposition – in the physical and the spiritual. Our Lord Jesus conquered sin and death at the cross and every power and principality in the heavenly realms. In the New Testament, Jesus is the horn of our salvation. The very name Jesus means- The Lord IS salvation. So, however strong our spiritual (or physical) foe- the horn of our salvation is stronger still.
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because He looked upon us and wrought redemption to His people and raised up unto us a horn of salvation.” Luke 1:68
In order to gain the context of this descriptor of God as our Support, the preceding 3 verses need to be read and highlighted as well. David was writing how desperate his circumstances were. He was alone, vulnerable, hated, overwhelmed and weak from the constant pursuit of his adversaries. Like many of the Psalms, we read of a realistic and often raw picture of emotions laid bare. The psalmists reveal they were ordinary people, who were as flawed as the rest of us and not immune from trials and tribulations. But David is able to say at the conclusion of his list of troubles…
“BUT the Lord was my support..” Psalm 18:18b
Can you confidently say the same?
Psalm 18 also describes the might and awesomeness of our God as seen through His creation and the justice and mercy of God as outlined in the contrast between His dealings with the faithful and the wicked. As you read the psalm from start to finish, David is overflowing with thanksgiving.
Psalm 18 has been described by commentators as a royal song of thanksgiving and victory.
Herein lies the challenge for every believer and one I’d encourage my readers to embrace, particularly during the Corona Virus pandemic. Live in a state of thankfulness due to the knowledge you possess and personal testimony you hold of your Lord God- His character and attributes. And celebrate in advance the victory that is already ours due to the finished work of Jesus.