Psalm 18:1–24: This is a prayer about rescue.
This is a story about something that God has done. David doesn’t go into details, though the title of the psalm suggests it comes from the time with David was on the run from Saul.
He begins with a significant statement: I love you.
This is the only time this statement occurs in the entire book of Psalms. So why here? And what does the writer mean when he says that? I think the clues are in the rest of the poem.
I love you, O LORD, my strength.
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.
I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
When we break it up in pieces, this poem begins establishing the relationship between God and David. You see how many times he states his close association with God? Strength, rock, deliver, god, rock, shield, salvation. The rest of the psalm unpacks how this came to happen.
In verses 4 and 5, state, in four different ways, that David was in a really bad place. Then in verse 6, we find out how he responded to this desperate situation.
I’m reminded of the line from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in regards to Aslan: “Who said anything about safe?”
This deity isn’t safe. This deity portrayed in this poem is a deity that means business. This is a deity I want on my team. This is not a meek and mild, cute and cuddly deity. This deity is downright scary.
Verses 16 thru 19 talk about how God rescued the writer, and then verses 20 thru 24 about why the writer was worthy of rescue.
If this psalm is any indication, then the wrath of God is a very real thing, but when are living lives of obedience we can have assurance that that wrath is reserved for the things that antagonize us.