I have spent a lot of time in the past month or 2 in Psalm 18. Any of you who have heard my testimony may remember that my life verse comes from this psalm, "He rescued me because He delighted in me." When I was searching for a verse to have printed on my karate class t-shirts, I ran across the rest of the psalm, and wow, it was perfect. The shirts read, "It is God who arms me with strength... He trains my hands for battle." As I read the entire psalm, it struck such a chord with me that I began to research and to write. My husband gave me a wonderful book on the Psalms by Perowne, and I have used his translation in the devotionals that I have been writing. So, for a while, I will continue working my way through this psalm and posting what God is teaching me through it. I pray that you will be as blessed as I have been!
I love this psalm! It is the theme of my karate class, specifically named in my logo. This particular psalm was written by David, king of Israel, toward the end of his life. He was a mighty warrior, single-handedly defeating Goliath (at least twice David’s size) in combat. He had been hunted by Saul before he became king, and afterwards continually harassed by rivals who wanted his kingdom, even his own son. He led an incredibly powerful army who defeated all their enemies. His word was law in his land. And he was also gifted in music, played the harp, wrote many of the psalms in the Bible. The psalms were a collection of songs sung by the people of Israel. If you research the Samurai of Japan you find that many of them were also artists. Perhaps art and music are a good way to balance the horrors and destruction of war.
Fervently do I love Thee, O Jehovah, my strength.
Jehovah is my stronghold and my fortress, and my Deliverer;
My God is my rock wherein I find refuge.
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my high tower.
I call upon Jehovah who is worthy to be praised,
So shall I be saved from mine enemies.
King David, mighty warrior, writes this song of victory toward the end of his life. The first line sets the tone. David declares his fervent love for God, and acknowledges that God is his strength. As a boy David killed Goliath. As a young man he became the king and the head of a vast army that won many battles. Yet David realizes that he has not done these things in his own strength, it was God doing them.
The next couple of verses David describes God using the experiences of his own life. Palestine contained caves and rocks, high towers (fortress) perched on inaccessible crags where he and his men often hid from the wrath of Saul. The shield covers the body and is a defensive weapon, the horn is a symbol of strength in attack (as an animal uses its horns to attack). So David is saying that he hides in God, God saves him, protects him, and gives him the power to advance against the enemy. Then he says, "I call to the Lord." This means more in the original Hebrew... it means the constant habit of my life has been to call upon Jehovah, and He has saved me; and whenever I call upon Him in the future I shall be delivered. Is the constant habit of my life to call upon God? Do I remember, and realize, that my past victories are due to God’s strength, not my own? Do I trust Him to answer my needs in the future?