Broyles calls this psalm “a royal psalm of military victory”. And as we move on to the concluding verses of the psalm we can see why. Listen to what King David has to say:
29 With [God’s] help I can advance against a troop,
with my God I can scale a wall…
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect…
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
and your right hand sustains me;
your help has made me great…
37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them so that they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.
39 You armed me with strength for battle;
you humbled my adversaries before me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.
41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
to the Lord, but he did not answer.
42 I beat them as fine as windblown dust;
I trampled them like mud in the streets.
43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
you have made me the head of nations.
People I did not know now serve me,
44 foreigners cower before me;
as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
45 They all lose heart;
they come trembling from their strongholds.
The most important thing about David’s words though is that David acknowledges that without God’s help, God’s strength, God’s intervention, there would have not been such a victory. Certainly, David did all that was expected of him as the Warrior King, but it was God who ultimately made the difference.
In fact, David summarizes the situation by saying,
30 As for God, his way is perfect…
31 For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
…your help has made me great.
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and [He] makes my way perfect…
With so much tension in our world in these troubled times, and with so many people, particularly in Syria, but also in other places, dying due to senseless killing by all those involved, we certainly do not want to glorify war. As one ANZAC veteran said at my grandchildren’s school assembly recently, “In the end, no one wins in war.”
But, at the same time, we can’t hide our heads in the sand either. As Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (a German philosopher, 1770-1831) once said, “History proves that man learns nothing from history”, and so wars have continued throughout the ages, and sadly will continue until the Lord returns.
Then of course as we read the Bible, we realize that there is another dimension to all this that we can’t forget and that is spelled out very clearly for us by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6 as follows:
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
And so, Paul exhorts us as believers to:
10 …be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
Sounds a lot like what David did at the time of writing Psalm 18.
And, as a result, he experienced victory and so can we.
I love the way David then concludes this wonderful Psalm with praise, thankfulness and adoration, giving us an example to follow:
46 The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God my Saviour!
47 He is the God who avenges me,
who subdues nations under me,
48 who saves me from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
from a violent man you rescued me.
49 Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing the praises of your name.
50 He gives his king great victories;
he shows unfailing love to his anointed,
to David and to his descendants forever.
It would be easy to get down when we watch the news on TV and hear of all the injustices, atrocities done in the name of one religion or another and the suffering of innocent people, but Easter reminds us that the Ultimate Victory has been won.
Jesus “by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross… has now been exalted [by God] to the highest place
and [He has given] him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:8-11)
Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
Father, enable us, in this spiritual warfare we find ourselves in, to not only stand firm, but advance against a troop, and with you, our God…to scale a wall…It is you God who arms us with strength and makes our way perfect. In these tumultuous days we live in, train our hands for battle. May we, your people, be strong in you Lord and in your mighty power. And may we praise you, Lord, among the nations, for you, Lord, are their only hope. Amen