More from Psalm 18 today, fourteen verses that divide neatly into three sections.
In the first section (v16-19), David recalls how God had rescued him. ‘He reached down from on high and took hold of me.’ What a lovely way to describe salvation! He didn’t say; ‘I was doing quite well but the Lord helped me a bit’. He recognised that he was in a hopeless position. His foes were ‘too strong’ and without the Lord’s help he would have been finished but the Lord helped him because ‘he delighted in me’.
The next section isn’t easy to understand. David says things that we would never say such as; ‘The Lord has dealt with ma according to my righteousness’. For me there is a clear context here. David had been anointed as king when very young but his life, as we have seen, had been very difficult. He had chosen to be loyal to Saul yet Saul had tried to kill him several times. David had opportunities to kill Saul but always refused, even when his friends had begged him to take Saul’s life. He had triumphed over the sin and God had fulfilled his promise to David. He could truly say; ‘I have not turned away from his decrees’. David had been faithful and God had rewarded him. The problem is that David did not always triumph over sin and the time would come when David would be captured by sin. It was then that David would have to rely on the grace of God rather than his own righteousness. In repentance he would say;
“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:1-2)
Even David fell into sin like the rest of us but grace is greater than our sin. God forgave him. He would write; ‘as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.’ Our sins are not recorded in Scripture (Praise the Lord!) but we still need God’s forgiveness. The cross reminds us that God hates sin but loves sinners like David and sinners like me and you.
The last section reminds us that God will deal appropriately with everyone. We see injustice and sin all around us but we must always remember that there will be a reckoning. We will all stand before him one day. Let us be ready, trusting in what God has done for us in Christ. Standing in grace.
Your grace is enough, more than I need, at Your word I will believe
I wait for You, draw near again let Your Spirit make me new (Rueben Morgan)