Psalm 18 personalizes God unlike any Psalm which has preceded it. A significant point of interest rests on the historical situation surrounding this Psalm. 2 Samuel 22 records practically the exact Psalm. It is quite possible that Psalm 18 contains the last words King David ever penned; a final summation of God’s accomplishments done through him and for him. One difference to note between the two presentations of this psalm is the first verse: I love you, O Lord, my strength. This addition should not be minimized, for as Spurgeon poetically points out, this single verse “is a most precious addition, placed above all and after all to form the pinnacle of the temple, the apex of the pyramid. Love is still the crowning grace.”

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.

(Psalm 18:1-3)

Following his proclamation of love, King David expounds on who God is to him. Notice the several personal designations for God: my strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my God, my rock, my shield, horn of my salvation, and my stronghold. This is what God means to him and what God has done for him! Each an every description David provides for God speaks of a personal relationship. Each drips with an illustration of truth and a related historical account. This is why David rightly proclaims that God alone, is worthy to be praised. This introduction fully recognizes who God is in our lives and sets up the proclaimer for a vivid presentation of truth:

The cords of death encompassed me;
the torrents of destruction assailed me;
the cords of Sheol entangled me;
the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
He bowed the heavens and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
He rode on a cherub and flew;
he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
thick clouds dark with water.
Out of the brightness before him
hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
and the Most High uttered his voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
And he sent out his arrows and scattered them;
he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at your rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
He sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.
He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

Psalm (18:4-19)

There are two very important aspects to notice in this passage. First, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit David accurately paints a picture of the crucifixion. Second, this startling description of God is anything but what the common person would call beautiful. Instead what we find is an illustration of truth. Michael Wilcock rightly explains that this verse is “not for the mind’s eye, but for the mind itself, and the prime consideration was not aesthetics but truth.” Presented here is a picture of God’s righteous judgment on a deserving people. It is my contention that analyzing these descriptions any further would detract from the rich imaginative presentation of truth before us. Sometimes Lastly notice the end of the passage: but the Lord was my support. Harkening back the psalm’s introduction David unabashedly holds that this is his God and He is glorious! All of this was, is, and will be done simply because he delighted in me.