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.
“They cried, but there was none to save them; even unto the Lord, but he answered them not.” Prayer is so notable a weapon that even the wicked will take to it in their fits of desperation. Bad men have appealed to God against God’s own servants, but all in vain; the kingdom of heaven is not divided, and God never succours his foes at the expense of his friends. There are prayers to God which are no better than blasphemy, which bring no comfortable reply, but rather provoke the Lord to greater wrath. Shall I ask a man to wound or slay his own child to gratify my malice? Would he not resent the insult against his humanity? How much less will Jehovah regard the cruel desires of the enemies of the church, who dare to offer their prayers for its destruction calling its existence schism, and its doctrine heresy!
“They shall cry, but there shall be none to help them,” etc. Sad examples enough there are of the truth of this prophecy. Of Esau it is written that he “found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” Hebrews 12:17. Of Antiochus, though he vowed in his last illness, “that also he would become a Jew himself, and go through all the world that was inhabited, and declare the power of God, yet,” continues the historian, “for all this his pains would not cease, for the just Judgment of God was come upon him.” 2 Maccabees 9:17, 18. But most appropriately to this passage, it is written of Saul, “When he enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams nor by Urim, nor by prophets.” 1 Samuel 28:6. And therefore, the prophet warns us: “Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains (Jeremiah 13:16): as Saul’s feet, indeed, stumbled on the dark mountains of Gilboa. “Even unto the Lord shall they cry:” but not, as it has been well remarked, by a Mediator: and so, crying to him in their own name, and by their own merits, they cry in vain.—John Lorinus (1569-1634), and Remigius (900), quoted by J. M. Neale.
“Even unto the Lord.” As nature prompteth men in an extremity to look up for help; but because it is but the prayer of the flesh for ease, and not of the Spirit for grace, and a good use of calamities, and not but in extreme despair of help elsewhere, therefore God hears them not. In Samuel it is, “They looked, but there was none to save them,” q.d., If they could have made any other shift, God should never have heard of them.—John Trapp.
Unavailing prayers—on earth and in hell.
The Treasury of David.
#Prayer Focus: Pray for Our Prodigals
#Praise the Lord
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