Sunday Psalms 18 - Jesus is the Rock

Psalm 18: JESUS is the Rock Who Saves Us from Our Enemies!

When we are in trouble, we cry out for rescue. If we’re alone, there may be no one to hear you. Who are your enemies? Enemies don’t have to be bad people or evil dictators or villains. They could be the storms and trials of life. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. Psalm 18, is a gratitude prayer from David to God in response to his being saved from his enemy, King Saul. It’s also a forward or prophetic look to Jesus, our ultimate savior. Let’s dig in…

Before I read the psalm, I want to bring up a news story I saw this morning. Yesterday, the CFO of Bed Bath and Beyond, committed suicide by jumping from the 18th floor of a high-rise in NY. He came to the company in 2020 to help reorganize it. A few days ago, they announced that they’d be closing 150 stores and laying off 20% of their employees. This man, only 52 years old, must have felt so guilty that he used a permanent solution for a temporary problem. Apparently, he was the “subject of an insider trading and fraud lawsuit just before his death, documents show.”

In other news, in an interview with Sebastian Gorka, “Bonnie Nichols, the wife of J6 political prisoner Ryan Nichols [describes] the physical and psychological torture that her husband has undergone while being incarcerated for over 600 days.” Ryan Nichols is a Marine veteran suffering from PTSD. Furthermore, he’s being tortured and treated in ways that are reminiscent of Communist Cuba’s political prisoners. Sadly, he is currently on suicide watch. Incidentally, he’s not being held in a foreign jail. He’s in Washington D.C. imprisoned for allegedly participating in the January 6th, 2021, “riot”.

I brought these news items up because of the topic of this next psalm. Undoubtedly, we all need JESUS!

Psalm 18

For the choir director: A psalm of David, the servant of the Lord. He sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang:

I love you, Lord;
    you are my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
    my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
    and my place of safety.
I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and he saved me from my enemies.

The ropes of death entangled me;
    floods of destruction swept over me.
The grave (sheol) wrapped its ropes around me;
    death laid a trap in my path.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
    yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
    my cry to him reached his ears.

Then the earth quaked and trembled.
    The foundations of the mountains shook;
    they quaked because of his anger.
Smoke poured from his nostrils;
    fierce flames leaped from his mouth.
    Glowing coals blazed forth from him.
He opened the heavens and came down;
    dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.
10 Mounted on a mighty angelic being, (cherub) he flew,
    soaring on the wings of the wind.
11 He shrouded himself in darkness,
    veiling his approach with dark rain clouds.
12 Thick clouds shielded the brightness around him
    and rained down hail and burning coals. (lightning bolts)
13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded
    amid the hail and burning coals.
14 He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies;
    great bolts of lightning flashed, and they were confused.
15 Then at your command, O Lord,
    at the blast of your breath,
the bottom of the sea could be seen,
    and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.

16 He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
    from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
18 They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
    but the Lord supported me.
19 He led me to a place of safety;
    he rescued me because he delights in me.
20 The Lord rewarded me for doing right;
    he restored me because of my innocence.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
22 I have followed all his regulations;
    I have never abandoned his decrees.
23 I am blameless before God;
    I have kept myself from sin.
24 The Lord rewarded me for doing right.
    He has seen my innocence.

25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful;
    to those with integrity you show integrity.
26 To the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
27 You rescue the humble,
    but you humiliate the proud.
28 You light a lamp for me.
    The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
29 In your strength I can crush an army;
    with my God I can scale any wall.

30 God’s way is perfect.
    All the Lord’s promises prove true.
    He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
31 For who is God except the Lord?
    Who but our God is a solid rock?
32 God arms me with strength,
    and he makes my way perfect.
33 He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
    he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
35 You have given me your shield of victory.
    Your right hand supports me;
    your help has made me great.
36 You have made a wide path for my feet
    to keep them from slipping.

37 I chased my enemies and caught them;
    I did not stop until they were conquered.
38 I struck them down so they could not get up;
    they fell beneath my feet.
39 You have armed me with strength for the battle;
    you have subdued my enemies under my feet.
40 You placed my foot on their necks.
    I have destroyed all who hated me.
41 They called for help, but no one came to their rescue.
    They even cried to the Lord, but he refused to answer.
42 I ground them as fine as dust in the wind.
    I swept them into the gutter like dirt.
43 You gave me victory over my accusers.
    You appointed me ruler over nations;
    people I don’t even know now serve me.
44 As soon as they hear of me, they submit;
    foreign nations cringe before me.
45 They all lose their courage
    and come trembling from their strongholds.

46 The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock!
    May the God of my salvation be exalted!
47 He is the God who pays back those who harm me;
    he subdues the nations under me
48     and rescues me from my enemies.
You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies;
    you save me from violent opponents.
49 For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations;
    I will sing praises to your name.
50 You give great victories to your king;
    you show unfailing love to your anointed,
    to David and all his descendants forever.

Psalm 18 NLT

Points to Ponder

  • This also appears in 2 Samuel 22.
  • It was written after King Saul’s death at the Battle of Gilboa. (1 Samuel 31)
  • David spent 20 years hiding and running from Saul who wanted to kill him because of jealousy.
  • David uses a lot of imagery and metaphors to convey his utmost thankfulness to God for saving his life.
  • Portions of Psalm 18 are a revelation of Jesus.
  • We worship God because He is worthy — whether we feel like to or not. You can’t be sad and be praising God at the same time. It just doesn’t work that way!
  • God was angry at Saul because of his disobedience. Like a warhorse, David envisions God snorting smoke and spitting fire. He rides in on a dark storm cloud and the heavens are like a bow aimed at Saul’s demise.

Pastor Sandy Adams explains…

Some folks read Psalm 18 metaphorically, but I take it literally. The Battle of Gilboa involved divine intervention. God sent from heaven hail, lightning, brimstone, and an earthquake – along with the Philistines – to defeat Israel and bring down Saul.

And as I mentioned there is also a prophetic meaning to Psalm 18. Bible teachers see in this Psalm the storm and darkness that occurred 1000 years after it was written while Jesus hung on the cross.

At first glance, David seems to be saying he deserves God’s blessing. His righteousness was conceived by “the cleanness of his hands.” But David isn’t talking about his righteousness with God. Before God, David’s goodness was as filthy rags. David is referring to the way he’s treated Saul – his righteousness with people. David acted God’s way.

David respected Saul, even though he hadn’t been respectable. David honored God’s Anointed One and trusted God to deal directly with Saul. David was blameless. His hands were clean. And God rewarded him. Even when he could’ve struck Saul himself, David chose to trust God to fulfill His promises His way. David’s actions testified to his great faith.

Sandy Adams

If you’ve ever been hiking in the mountains, you know that trails can become very narrow and there’s a mountain on one side and a steep cliff on the other. David spent a lot of the prior 20 years hiding in the mountains. Hence, he praised God for making him as sure-footed as the deer. Deer, to keep safe from predators, go up mountainsides easily. God gave them skinny legs and hooves that help them to be sure-footed. It seems to David that God widened his path so he would not fall.

The Davidic Covenant

The last phrase refers to 2 Samuel 7 where God promises David an heir who would reign over Israel forever. This heir would establish an eternal kingdom. In the Gospels, both Matthew and Luke show Jesus’ lineage to King David. That’s the importance of those boring genealogies. They prove that Jesus is the long-awated Jewish Messiah — Yeshua Hamashiach.

Jesus is THE ROCK

Besides that, He is a fortress, shield, deliverer, and stronghold. The folks at Spoken Gospel again, explain it very nicely…

David thanks God for coming to his aid and destroying his enemies (Psalm 18:16-17). He is full of gratitude that this same God also graciously wraps himself in darkness so that his holy power will not destroy those who look to and love him (Psalm 18:11).

Rather than destroying him, God’s holy power strengthens David. God gives him the strength to bend a bow made out of bronze (Psalm 18:34), and makes his feet faster than a deer’s (Psalm 18:33). Because of God, both David’s earthly and spiritual enemies are judged and destroyed. 

David ends his psalm by repeating God’s promise that one of his offspring will sit on the throne forever (Psalm 18:50b). David is confident that an heir to his throne will loyally love his people and rescue them, not just for a period of time, but forever (Psalm 18:50a).

Where is the Gospel?

The loyal, loving, and victorious heir to David’s throne is Jesus (Matthew 1:1). He is the offspring of David who brings salvation to all people out of his compassion and love forever. Jesus is a rock, shield, fortress, deliverer, and a stronghold to all who bend the knee to him. And one of the ways Jesus lovingly brings salvation to his people is by destroying evil and those who love it. 

The loyal, loving, and victorious heir to David’s throne is Jesus (Matthew 1:1). He is the offspring of David who brings salvation to all people out of his compassion and love forever. Jesus is a rock, shield, fortress, deliverer, and a stronghold to all who bend the knee to him. And one of the ways Jesus lovingly brings salvation to his people is by destroying evil and those who love it. 

Spoken Gospel

Trust Jesus, YOUR Rock

Thinking back to my Catholic upbringing, the church didn’t teach me to rely on Jesus. We prayed to dead people — Mary and the saints. Jesus is the Living God. He is with us 24/7. He IS our Rock, fortress, high-tower, stronghold, shield, protector, AND deliverer! HE doesn’t move. He is solid. You can hang on to Him.

How to Pray Psalm 18

These are my words paraphrasing this psalm. Get out a pen and paper and write your own. Better yet, get a journal and go through all the Sunday Psalms and write down your prayers. As Jesus said…

13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

John 14:13-14

Here goes…

I love you, Lord Jesus; you are my strength. You are my rock, my fortress, and my savior. In You and only You, I find protection. You are my shield, the power that saves me, and where I feel safe. Only You are worthy of praise, You who saved me from me. (Insert your enemy here.) I was my own worst enemy. You reached down from heaven and rescued me; You pulled me out of deep waters, the muck and mire. Thank you for leading me to Your safety.

To the faithful, you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure, you show yourself pure, but to the crooked, you show yourself shrewd. You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud. You light a lamp for me. The Lord Jesus, my God, lights up my darkness.

Your way is perfect and you keep your promises! A shield for all who look to You for protection. For who is God except You, Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.

The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted! For this, O Lord, I will praise You and sing praises to your name. I will spread the Good News of Your salvation everywhere as we patiently await Your deliverance from this evil world! Come, Jesus, come! Maranatha! I pray this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

Paraphrase of Psalm 18 by Giselle Aguiar

Do You KNOW Jesus?

It’s not enough to just know WHO Jesus is. Therefore, if you want all the benefits of the salvation that only comes THROUGH JESUS, you must…

Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.

  • Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
  • Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180-degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him. When you ask Jesus to forgive you He will. ALL your sins will be wiped clean — past, present, and future! And All means ALL!
  • Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
  • Receive the gift of Holy Spirit in your heart.

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace, Joy, Peace, and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

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I’ll Be Believing – Point of Grace


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