I find five easy divisions in this Psalm.
- God is our refuge (Psalm 18:1-3)
- David tells God his troubles and pleads for help (Psalm 18:4-6
- God responds to David (Psalm 18:7-19)
- How God treats the righteous (Psalm 18:20-27)
- David tells what God has done for him (Psalm 18:28-50)
This Psalm reminds me that God isn’t always peaches and cream. He love us, yes, but He can be destructive, angry, judging.
7Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
8Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9He bowed the heavens and came down;
(N) thick darkness was under his feet.
10He rode on a cherub and flew;
he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
11He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
thick clouds dark with water.
12Out of the brightness before him
hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
13The LORD also thundered in the heavens,
and the Most High uttered his voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
14And he sent out his arrows and scattered them;
he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
15Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at your rebuke, O LORD,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
I think I’d rather be on His good side.
On another note, I don’t fully understand how David could say that he was blameless and pure (Psalm 18:20-24), unless he wrote this Psalm before the Bathsheba incident. Maybe David just understood that God’s forgiveness surpasses any sin. Forgiven sin, like an expunged crime, vanishes – never to be remembered.
My favorite verses are 20-27. If we live righteously, we can expect God’s favor. Haughty and crooked people should have no expectation of salvation. As Christians, we should live as David describes in verses 21-23. And then, as we strive to serve God, He makes us righteous (Psalm 18:24), which is something only He can do.
21For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22For all his rules were before me,
and his statutes I did not put away from me.
23I was blameless before him,
and I kept myself from my guilt.
24So the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
Psalm 18:21-24 (ESV)
The rest of this Psalm David rejoices in how he pounds his enemies into dust, and I appreciate him sharing such things, but I’m not sure that we, as Christians, should follow his example in this. If anyone disagrees with me, I’d love to hear about it.