Psalms 18:1-24

Text:

"1 I love you, O Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. 4 The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; 5 the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. 7 Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled   and quaked, because he was angry. 8 Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth;     glowing coals flamed forth from him. 9 He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. 10 He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. 12 Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds. 13 The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire. 14 And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them. 15 Then 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. 16 He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. 17 He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. 18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. 19 He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me. 20 The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. 21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 22 For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me. 23 I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt. 24 So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight."

Lexicon:

vs. 2 - rock (cela') - "refuge where one is safe from foes, fortress, security, lofty place"

vs. 2 - fortress (matsuwd) - "net, stronghold, peak of a mountain, defense, castle"

vs. 2 - deliverer (palat) - "to bring into security, to bring to safety, to carry away safe"

vs. 2 - shield (magen) - "buckler, protector, scaly hide of a crocodile"

vs. 2 - horn of salvation - In the tabernacle, the horns of the altar provided salvation for those who held onto them.  This is where the sacrifice to the Lord was done, and no one dared to kill another in this sacred place.

vs. 2 - stronghold (misgab) - "high place, refuge, secure height, retreat"

vs. 3 - who is worthy to be praised (halal) - "to shine, to make a show, to boast of, to rave, to celebrate, to glory"

vs. 16 - drew (mashah) - "to pull out, to save, to preserve"

vs. 17 - rescued (natsal) - "to snatch away, to deliver, to save, to deliver from sin and guilt, to recover, to strip off something, to pull out"

vs. 18 - support (mish'en) - "a protector, a sustenance, support of every kind"

vs. 19 - delighted (chaphets) - "to be pleased with, to take pleasure in, to incline to, to bend, to be moved, to be favorable, to love someone"

vs. 24 - rewarded (shuwb) - "to return, to turn back, to restore, to refresh, to repair, to bring back, to cause to return, to recompense, to answer"

vs. 24 - righteousness (tsedeq) - "rightness, straightness, what ought to be so"

vs. 24 - cleanness (bor) - "pureness, innocence"

What does this reveal about God's character?

God is our rock, deliverer, fortress, secure place, refuge and stronghold.  He is secure and lifts me up to be secure with Him.  He guards and protects us from those who seek to do evil against us.  God is absolutely worthy of all praise and glory and honor because of who He is, not what He does.  The great acts and miracles He performs on our behalf are icing on the cake.  The character of God, who is Supreme and above all things, deserves and demands praise and celebration.  God is loving.  He loves each of us and bends down to us.  He is favorably inclined toward us and delights in rewarding us for our uprightness and pureness in obedience to His commands.  

Questions:

1) Upon what have I built my life on, if other than God?  

2) Do I believe God is a safe place?  If not, list the reasons you think God is not safe or will not keep you safe. Please, be so bold as to pray about this list.  Ask God to open your eyes to see His goodness, and ask Him to make Himself real and tangible to you - to prove He is a safe place and a refuge for your soul.

3) Do I celebrate the Lord for who He is or what He does?  The acts of God are great and miraculous, indeed, but do I praise God simply for being Him?

4) In what ways have I pursued righteousness and purity in Christ through His commands?  In what ways have I chosen to discount, overlook or disobey His commands?  

Prayer:

Father God, you are my rock and my refuge.  You have always been there for me.  A safe place I can run to and rest in.  Father, if there is anything in my life that I have put before you or built my life on or around other than you, please reveal it to me now (Psalms 139:23-24).  I ask for forgiveness for those sins and ask you to cleanse my heart and give me a steadfast spirit that desires and seeks after you and you alone (Psalms 51:10).  Thank you, Father, for the miracles I've seen in my life - both the big and the ordinary, everyday miracles around me. Help me not to get caught up in the works of your hands, but keep my eyes steadfast upon you.  Renew my love and my commitment to you and your commands.  Instruct me how to live righteously and remain pure before you, O Lord.  Thank you for all the ways you gently correct me when I veer off course.  Let my heart forever remain soft and malleable toward you.  In Jesus' name I pray, Amen!