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18. Psalm 18

I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.

2The 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.

3I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

4The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.

5The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.

6In 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.

7Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.

8There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.

9He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.

10And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.

11He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.

12At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.

13The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.

14Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.

15Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

16He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.

17He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.

18They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay.

19He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

20The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

21For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.

22For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me.

23I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.

24Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.

25With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;

26With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.

27For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.

28For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.

29For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.

30As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

31For who is God save the Lord? or who is a rock save our God?

32It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.

33He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.

34He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.

35Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.

36Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.

37I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed.

38I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet.

39For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.

40Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me.

41They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the Lord, but he answered them not.

42Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets.

43Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me.

44As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me.

45The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places.

46The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.

47It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me.

48He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.

49Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.

50Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.

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Devout Thanksgivings; Devout Confidence

20 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.   21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.   22 For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me.   23 I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.   24 Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.   25 With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt show thyself upright;   26 With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt show thyself froward.   27 For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.   28 For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.

Here, I. David reflects with comfort upon his own integrity, and rejoices in the testimony of his conscience that he had had his conversation in godly sincerity and not with fleshly wisdom, 2 Cor. i. 12. His deliverances were an evidence of this, and this was the great comfort of his deliverances. His enemies had misrepresented him, and perhaps, when his troubles continued long, he began to suspect himself; but, when God visibly took his part, he had both the credit and the comfort of his righteousness. 1. His deliverances cleared his innocency before men, and acquitted him from those crimes which he was falsely accused of. This he calls rewarding him according to his righteousness (v. 20, 24), that is, determining the controversy between him and his enemies, according to the justice of his cause and the cleanness of his hands, from that sedition, treason, and rebellion, with which he was charged. He had often appealed to God concerning his innocency; and now God had given judgment upon the appeal (as he always will) according to equity. 2. They confirmed the testimony of his own conscience for him, which he here reviews with a great deal of pleasure, v. 21-23. His own heart knows, and is ready to attest it, (1.) That he had kept firmly to his duty, and had not departed, not wickedly, not wilfully departed, from his God. Those that forsake the ways of the Lord do, in effect, depart from their God, and it is a wicked thing to do so. But though we are conscious to ourselves of many a stumble, and many a false step taken, yet if we recover ourselves by repentance, and go on in the way of our duty, it shall not be construed into a departure, for it is not a wicked departure, from our God. (2.) That he had kept his eye upon the rule of God's commands (v. 22): "All his judgments were before me; and I had a respect to them all, despised none as little, disliked none as hard, but made it my care and business to conform to them all. His statutes I did not put away from me, out of my sight, out of my mind, but kept my eye always upon them, and did not as those who, because they would quit the ways of the Lord, desire not the knowledge of those ways." (3.) That he had kept himself from his iniquity, and thereby had approved himself upright before God. Constant care to abstain from that sin, whatever it be, which most easily besets us, and to mortify the habit of it, will be a good evidence for us that we are upright before God. As David's deliverances cleared his integrity, so did the exaltation of Christ clear his, and for ever roll away the reproach that was cast upon him; and therefore he is said to be justified in the Spirit, 1 Tim. iii. 16.

II. He takes occasion thence to lay down the rules of God's government and judgment, that we may know not only what God expects from us, but what we may expect from him, v. 25, 26. 1. Those that show mercy to others (even they need mercy, and cannot depend upon the merit, no, not of their works of mercy) shall find mercy with God, Matt. v. 7. 2. Those that are faithful to their covenants with God, and the relations wherein they stand to him, shall find him all that to them which he has promised to be. Wherever God finds an upright man, he will be found an upright God. 3. Those that serve God with a pure conscience shall find that the words of the Lord are pure words, very sure to be depended on and very sweet to be delight in. 4. Those that resist God, and walk contrary to him, shall find that he will resist them, and walk contrary to them, Lev. xxvi. 21, 24.

III. Hence he speaks comfort to the humble ("Thou wilt save the afflicted people, that are wronged and bear it patiently"), terror to the proud ("Thou wilt bring down high looks, that aim high, and look with scorn and disdain upon the poor and pious"), and encouragement to himself—"Thou wilt light my candle, that is, thou wilt revive and comfort my sorrowful spirit, and not leave me melancholy; thou wilt recover me out of my troubles and restore me to peace and prosperity; thou wilt make my honour bright, which is now eclipsed; thou wilt guide my way, and make it plain before me, that I may avoid the snares laid for me; thou wilt light my candle to work by, and give me an opportunity of serving thee and the interests of thy kingdom among men."

Let those that walk in darkness, and labour under many discouragements in singing these verses, encourage themselves that God himself will be a light to them.




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