Title. To the Chief Musician a Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. We have another form of this Psalm, with significant variations (2 Samuel 22:1-51), and this suggests the idea that it was sung by David at different times when he reviewed his own remarkable history, and observed the gracious hand of God in it all. Like Addison’s hymn beginning, “When all thy mercies, O my God, “this Psalm is the song of a grateful heart overwhelmed with a retrospect of the manifold and marvellous mercies of God. We will call it The Grateful Retrospect. The title deserves attention. David, although at this time a king, calls himself, “the servant of Jehovah, “but makes no mention of his royalty; hence we gather that he counted it a higher honour to be the Lord’s servant than to be Judah’s king. Right wisely did he judge. Being possessed of poetic genius, he served the Lord by composing this Psalm for the use of the Lord’s house; and it is no mean work to conduct or to improve that delightful part of divine worship, the singing of the Lord’s praises. Would that more musical and poetical ability were consecrated, and that our chief musicians were fit to be trusted with devout and spiritual psalmody. It should be observed that the words of this song were not composed with the view of gratifying the taste of men, but were spoken unto Jehovah. It were well if we had a more single eye to the honour of the Lord in our singing, and in all other hallowed exercises. That praise is little worth which is not directed solely and heartily to the Lord. David might well be thus direct in his gratitude, for he owed all to his God, and in the day of his deliverance he had none to thank but the Lord, whose right hand had preserved him. We too should feel that to God and God alone we owe the greatest debt of honour and thanksgiving.
If it be remembered that the second and the forty-ninth verses are both quoted in the New Testament (Hebrews 2:13 Romans 15:9) as the words of the Lord Jesus, it will be clear that a greater than David is here. Reader, you will not need our aid in this respect; if you know Jesus you will readily find him in his sorrows, deliverance, and triumphs all through this wonderful psalm.
Division. Psalms 18:1-3 are the proem or preface in which the resolve to bless God is declared. Delivering mercy is most poetically extolled from Psalms 18:4-19; and then the happy songster Psalms 18:20-28, protests that God had acted righteously in thus favoring him. Filled with grateful joy he again pictures his deliverance and anticipates future victories Psalms 18:29-45; and in closing speaks with evident prophetic foresight of the glorious triumphs of the Messiah, David’s seed and the Lord’s anointed.
The Treasury of David.
The dealings of the Lord in his own case, cause the grateful singer to remember the usual rule of God’s moral government; he is just in his dealings with the sons of men, and metes out to each man according to his measure.
With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. Every man shall have his meat weighed in his own scales, his corn meted in his own bushel, and his land measured with his own rod. No rule can be more fair, to ungodly men more terrible, or to the generous man more honourable. How would men throw away their light weights, and break their short yards, if they could but believe that they themselves are sure to be in the end the losers by their knavish tricks! Note that even the merciful need mercy; no amount of generosity to the poor, or forgiveness to enemies, can set us beyond the need of mercy. Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner.
With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. “An upright”—the same word is oft translated “perfect, “he is good throughout, though not thoroughly; not one that personates religion, but that is a religious person. He is perfect, because he would be so. So Noah is termed (Genesis 6:9); “Noah was a just man and perfect (i.e., upright) in his generation:” he was a good man in a bad age. He was like a glowing spark of fire in a sea of water, which is perfect goodness; and therefore the Holy Ghost doth so hang upon his name, as if he could not give over—it is an excellent preacher’s observation—Genesis 6:8, “But Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah begat three sons.” Noah, Noah, Noah, I love the sound of thy name; and so are all your names precious to God, though hated by men, if the name of God be dear and sweet to you. ‘Tis also sometimes translated “plain.” Genesis 25:27. Jacob was אִישׁ תָּם, “a plain, “that is, an upright man, “dwelling in tents.” Esau was “a cunning hunter, “but Jacob was a plain man without welt or gard; you might well know his heart by his tongue, save once when Rebekah put a cunning trick into his head, otherwise he was a most “upright, “downright man. And the plain meaning of it is, a simple, cordial, unfeigned, and exact man: this is the man we are looking for. “Man.” This substansive the Hebrews use to drown in the adjective, but here the Holy Ghost exhibits a word, and a choice one too, signifying a strong, valiant man; the same word (Psalms 45:3), “O mighty man!” that’s meant of our Lord Christ, who was a most strong and valiant man, that could meet the wrath of God, the malice of the devil, and the sin of man, in the face, and come off with triumph. And so the Dutch translate this clause in 2Samuel 22: “With the right valiant person, you behave yourself upright.” In short, if the words were literally translated, they run thus:—a man of uprightness: that is, every way you behold him, an upright man: like an even die, cast him which way you will he will be found square and right; a stiff and strong man to tread down both lusts within and temptations without; an Athanasius contra mundum, a Luther contra Roman; this is a man of an excellent spirit, and such is our upright man. “Thou wilt shew thyself upright,” or, “wilt be upright with him; “for one word in the Hebrew makes all these six, “Thou wilt upright it with him.” If men will deal plainly with God, he will deal plainly with them. He that is upright in performing his duty shall find God upright in performing his promises. It is God’s way to carry to men as they carry to him. If thou hast a design to please him, he will have a design to please thee; if thou wilt echo to him when he calls, he will echo to thee when thou callest. On the other side; if a man will wrestle with God, he will wrestle with him; if thou wilt be fast and loose with him, and walk frowardly towards him, thou shalt have as good as thou bringest; if thou wilt provoke him with never ending sins, he will pursue thee with never ending torments; if thou wilt sin in tuo eterno, thou must suffer in suo eterno, and every man shall find like for like…An upright heart is single without division. Unto an hypocrite there be “gods many and lords many, “and he must have an heart for each; but to the upright there is but one God the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ, and one heart will serve them both. He that fixes his heart upon the creatures, for every creature he must have an heart, and the dividing of his heart destroys him. Hosea 10:2. Worldly profits knock at the door, he must have an heart for them; carnal pleasures present themselves, he must have an heart for them also; sinful preferments appear, they must have an heart too—Necessariorum numerus parvus, opinionum nullus; of necessary objects the number is few, of needless vanities the number is endless. The upright man hath made choice of God and hath enough. Richard Steele.
With the merciful, etc. In Jupiter’s hall floor there are set two barrels of gifts, the one of good gifts or blessings, the other of evil gifts or plagues. Thus spake Homer falsely of Jupiter; it may truly be spoken of the true God, Jehovah; that he hath in his hand two cups, the one of comforts, the other of crosses, which he poureth out indifferently for the good and for the bad; with the kind (or merciful) he will shew himself kind, and with the froward, froward. Now this is not to make God the author of evil, but of justice, which is good; quorum deus non est author eorum est justus ultor, saith Augustine; “God is not the author of sin, but he punishes the sinner justly.” Miles Smith (Bishop), 1632.
Equity of the divine procedure.—C. Simeon.
The Treasury of David.
#Prayer Focus: Pray for Our Prodigals
#Praise the Lord
Please follow my blogs Guam Christian Blog
Bruce’s Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bruce.dinsman
Featured book: https://www.amazon.com/Daily-Service-4-Bruce-Dinsman-ebook
Bruce’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/@bad671