This Psalm is regulated by three positive pledges David made in response to the great deliverance the LORD gave Him from ‘all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul’: ‘I will love Thee O LORD my strength (v.1)...I will call upon the LORD (v.6)...Therefore will I give thanks unto Thee, O LORD’ (v.49)
The first pledge he makes is the only time this statement is found in the Word of God: ‘I will love Thee O LORD’, but it is not surprising for David to be the one to utter this pure outpouring of his great devotion to the LORD for he, above all others in the Scripture, received the most recorded personal revivals, compassionate forgiveness, manifold blessings and powerful deliverances through the never-ending mercy of the LORD.
And here, this promise of love for his LORD demonstrates his unwavering affection and devotion for the LORD Who alone could provide him with these supernatural rescues from impending danger and death. Saul was his chief enemy and made multiple attempts on his life when David was just a young man. It was not for his insurrection against this first king of Israel, but instead it was because of his loyalty to king Saul that he was wrongly pursued and hunted as prey by this insanely jealous man.
But, through it all, David received these miraculous deliverances and this Psalm is his love song to his LORD for all that He had done for him as it thoroughly describes his deep distress and the LORD’s working in the warfare and the vicious assaults of the enemy. His initial pledge in (v.1) is followed by an eight-fold description of David’s LORD: ‘The LORD is my Rock, and my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my Strength, in Whom I will trust; my Buckler, and the Horn of my salvation, and my High Tower.’
This is the most extensive list of titles recorded in the Word of God and underlines the depth of David’s understanding of the person of God. He sees God as The Unchanging Rock, The Place of Refuge, The One Who is able to rescue him from danger, the One he worships, his Source of Strength, the Object of his faith, his Protecting Shield, and the All Powerful One Who is able to provide deliverance, and the God Who is able to keep lift him up out of reach of the enemy.
This full and complete declaration of David provides us with a real good perspective of how we should view the LORD in order to receive the blessing of His person in our own everyday circumstances. This is one of the basic reasons David is said to be ‘a man after God’s own heart’ for He understood His person and utilized this knowledge in his own daily experience. Then in (v.3) he makes his second promise: ‘I will call upon the LORD, Who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from my enemies.’ This familiar action of David’s demonstrates his dependence on the LORD and his recognition of the LORD’s value in giving him the necessary deliverance from his foes.
His immediate illustration of the LORD’s working is seen in (v.4-6) ‘The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears.’ The multitude and magnitude of David’s troubles are unfolded here including death, ungodly men, and hell itself. But, he persisted in making his plea to God knowing that He would hear and respond, and respond He did as described in the next lengthy section of this Psalm (v.7-19).
God’s immediate and thorough actions are mighty and miraculous in nature including shaking the earth, emitting smoke, fire and coals, coming down with ‘darkness under His feet’, riding upon a cherub, flying upon the wings of the wind, making the darkness and thick clouds His secret place, with His luminating Shekinah glory going before Him, hail stones, thunder and coals of fire accompanying ‘His voice’, sending out arrows and lightning scattering and shattering the enemies of David, the mysterious ‘channels of water’ and the ‘foundations of the world’ were uncovered by His ‘rebuke O LORD, at the blast of the breath of Thy nostrils’. All this awesome demonstration ushers the God of heaven into the scene of David’s dramatic rescue.
Then, ‘He sent from above, He took me, He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me.
The actual deliverance of David is described in detail here, delineating God’s intervening presence, He personally sent, took, drew out and delivered him from this multitude of enemies that he described as strong, hateful and too strong for David to deal with on his own. They went before him in the ‘day of my calamity’ and then he gives a personal description of his God describing Him as his ‘stay’, the steady and strong anchoring place of David!
He also gives a beautiful description of the actions of the LORD telling us of the nature of the place God put him as large, broad, a place of prosperity and protection, with plenty of room for him to realize the full blessings of his God.
The bottom line here is the found in the word ‘deliver’ which means to rescue or save from destruction or distress. Yes, God delivered David from his enemies, but the reason for this mighty display of God’s power is found in the end of (v.19) ‘because He delighted in me’. David was a man who caused the heart of God to pulsate with joy. David was just like a favorite desert that is relished, eliciting this awesome rescuing response from the God of heaven.
David then gives the reasons God delighted in him: ‘The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath He recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments were before me, and I did not put away His statutes from me. I was also upright before Him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His eyesight.’
David’s personal testimony concerning his obedience to God’s commands are the reasons for this reward of deliverance from heaven. It’s as simple as that. He, by his holy living, keeping God’s ways, and his upright lifestyle which was regulated by the Word of God brought the reward to him right then, in this life. But, not only in this life but also the rewards are now bringing fruit to David in his eternal life in heaven.
In (v.25-29) David sets forth justification for God’s actions: ‘With the merciful Thou wilt show Thyself merciful; with an upright man Thou wilt show Thyself upright; With the pure Thou wilt show Thyself pure; and with the froward Thou wilt show Thyself froward. For Thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks. For Thou wilt light my candle: The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by Thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.’
His explanation here demonstrates God’s like response to the conduct and character of man ending with the LORD’s ability to miraculously bring light to those in darkness and cause a mere human being to have the ability to perform wondrous supernatural physical acts as the LORD empowers him.
Then in (v.30-36) He continues to magnify the LORD by giving a grand assortment of praises and acclamations to his God: ‘As for God, His way is perfect: the Word of the LORD is tried: He is a Buckler to all those that trust in Him. For who is God save the LORD? Or who is a Rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.’
These first four verses are addressed to his audience of believers. In the last two verses he turns his heart to heaven and speaks directly to the LORD ‘Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation: and Thy right hand hath holden me up, and Thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.’ (v.35,36)
All of the accomplishments of David’s life are here ascribed to the wonderful working of the LORD showing that his greatness is directly attributable to the LORD’s gentleness which is the key statement of this group of acclamations. He continues his address to the LORD in (v.37-42)describing the actual conflict which he encounters with his enemies: ‘I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed. I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. For Thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me.’
His down to earth blow by blow description uncovers the reality of the physical conflict he encountered day by day paralleling the spiritual battle we as New Testament believers face in the heavenly warfare with the devil’s army defined as ‘principalities and powers the rulers of the darkness of this world against spiritual wickedness in high places.’ (Ephesians 6:12)
This is the application for us today and David’s tactics are as good today as they were then as he gives us three definite expectations of victory from the LORD: 1. God will provide us with the ‘strength unto the battle’ through His Spirit as we look to Him by faith when under the enemies assault.(Ephesians 6:10,11) 2. We must expect Him to bring us the victory by faith (Hebrews 11:6) 3. We must also expect Him to have the victory in hand ahead of time through the actual destruction of the devil’s ability to be effective in our lives ( Hebrew 2:14).
His statements in (v.43-45) are examples of his exaltation of the LORD when he looked forward to becoming king ‘the head of the heathen’ with ‘strangers’ submitting themselves unto him all along attributing this future action to the LORD’s working.
In conclusion to this great ‘love song to his LORD’ he expresses a beautiful chorus of praise: ‘The LORD liveth; and blessed by my Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me. He delivereth me form mine enemies: yea, Thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: Thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Therefore will I give thanks unto Thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto Thy name. Great deliverance giveth He to His king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.’ (v.46-50)
The last of the ‘I will’ pledges from this lover of the LORD is given: ‘I will give thanks...and sing praises unto Thy name’ which typify the whole tenor of this great Psalm showing David’s full dependence and marvelous praise of the God of Deliverance, Jehovah, His Rock and the God of his salvation!
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