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Meditation Psalm 18a

For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:
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.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
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.

(Ps. 18:1-6 NIV)

A very similar version of this Psalm is found in 2 Sam 22. The Psalm is a hymn of praise. The Psalmist confesses his personal love for the LORD. The love that the Psalmist has for the LORD is a response to the care and protection that the LORD has shown to him. The apostle John said

‘We love because he first loved us.’

1 John 4:19 NIV

David uses different metaphors to describe the LORD:

  • Rock
  • Fortress
  • Deliverer
  • Refuge
  • Shield
  • Horn of salvation
  • Stronghold
Rock

Whenever we face difficulty in life it is good to pray to God our Rock, God our Fortress; whatever is appropriate. These metaphors are drawn from the military or from the wilderness. If we experience loneliness, then we pray to God our Rock in the wilderness. If we feel that everything is changing very fast and is unstable, to shelter in God our Rock is to find that place of stability standing upon the Rock of our Salvation. When we need a secure place, we should pray to God our Fortress. The Fortress is normally built upon a hill – a place that is secure and provides a vantage point to view around us. When we are being attacked, by our own thoughts, by the attitudes or words of others, then we pray to God our Shield. Nothing can penetrate when God is our Shield. When we are feeling weak, spiritually or emotionally, then we pray to God, the Horn of our salvation – the strength of our Salvation, the Mighty One coming in deliverance.

It is a useful exercise to write out a prayer using one or more of these metaphors that you can identify with.

This outburst of metaphors helps to build the Psalmist’s confidence in the LORD. He calls out to the LORD who is worthy of praise and has saved him from his enemies. Each metaphor gave the Psalmist a reason to praise and a reason for his confidence to grow. The battle in his heart had been won before the battle in reality had to be fought.

He was engulfed and ropes dragging him down to death had wrapped themselves around him, waves and torrents of destruction were overwhelming him. The pull of the grave, with the ropes of the grave totally wrapping around him was dragging him down. Before him he could see the snares of death. It is a description of helplessness. He could offer no resistance to this avalanche of circumstances. In the midst of distress, out of the cauldron of anguish, he called to the covenant LORD for help. On the basis of covenant love and with these metaphors in his mind and on his heart he cries for help. In the Temple upon the throne the Sovereign LORD hears, right into His ears. The LORD hears the prayers and cries of His people. In our helplessness, engulfed in our needs, we cry to Heaven, and in Heaven God hears, and from Heaven God answers. The God who is our Rock hears and he lifts us up and sets our feet upon God our Rock, He gives us a song to sing, because He is worthy to be praised.

Prayer
Lord God, the strength of our salvation, you are worthy to be praised. We stand amazed in Your presence because you have placed our feet on solid ground. You cause us to stand, and we stand firm in the Lord because You are our strength. Help us as we draw near to You, help us to resist our fears, to banish our doubts and to strengthen our faith, for it is in the name of Christ we pray