Psalm 18 - overcomer - The Lord's 2nd Coming
The 10th psalm to the overcomer. This Psalm is one of my favorites. It brings me out of myself, lifting me up to the heavens, yet still meets me right where I am at. I wrote some of this song in Sedona, Arizona looking up at the red rock mountains. My wife and I went there for our 25th wedding anniversary. However, I was not making progress in finishing the Psalm because it is so long. I needed to spend a concentrated block of time on it, but I didn't have a continuous block of time, nor did I realize that that was what was needed. Then one day my radiator hose blew on the way to work. I wanted to take my car to my regular mechanic near my house, but he couldn't take the car right away, so I went with the tow truck driver's recommendation because he told me I could be on my way in only 1 hr. Actually there were other cars ahead of me, and my car wasn't fixed until 3 pm. While I waited there 6 hrs, I walked around the neighborhood composing and singing this Psalm, and I finished it.

This is David's longest psalm, and the 3rd longest psalm in the Bible by number of words. (The 2 longest are Ps 119 &  78. Psalm 89 has more verses, but less words.)

This is the only psalm repeated twice in its entirety in the Bible. I believe that David sung these psalms on many occasions, and when he sung them, he sometimes sung some words differently.  2 Sam 22 and Psalm 18 versions are both inspired. Comparisons between Ps 18 & 2 Sam 22 will be in black text. For a full detailed comparison click here to open in a new window.

1. vv1-3 Introductory praise of all Christ is to me
2. vv4-6 David's trouble and prayer foreshadowing the ungodliness at the end of the age.
3. vv7-15 The beginning of the Lord's 2nd coming to the clouds
4. vv16-18 Rapture of the manchild at the beginning of the great tribulation, the last 3.5 years of this age.
5. vv19-28 Judgment seat of Christ
6. vv29-42 Armageddon
7. vv43-50 Conclusion - the church age
v 1 This is the 10th psalm to the overcomer. I believe it tells of the Lord coming down from the 3rd heavens to the clouds(v9-11), the rapture of the overcomers (v16-19), the judgment seat of Christ (v20-26; 2Cor 5:10), the battle of Armageddon (v29-42), and the salvation of the gentiles (v.43-47).

Besides being "to the overcomer", this psalm is also "to the servant of the Lord". There are only 2 psalms to the servant of the Lord, this and Psalm 36. To attain to the rapture of the overcomers, we must be a servant of the Lord, not of men nor of a work (Acts 13:2; Ezek 44:10-16) . This psalm helps us to be a servant of the Lord as well as an overcomer. This Psalm is about the Lord's 2nd coming, like the book of Revelation. Revelation is also written to the servants of the Lord (Rev 1:1).

"I'm in love with You" is literally "I am compassionate for You." The verb normally means to show tender mercy.  This is the only place it is translated as love. Luther translated it as "dearly love", Amplified Bible as "fervently, devotedly love". I think it is good to translate it, "I am compassionately in love with You" or "I'm crazily in love with You" (2 Cor 5:13-15) or "I unreservedly love You" or "I tenderly love You". It is a fulfillment of Rom 12:1 "I beseech you by the mercies of God to offer your bodies a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." The mercies or compassions of God motivate us to love Him without reservation. To be an overcomer and a servant of the Lord, we must love Him compassionately. (Exo 20:6; Deut 6:5; 7:9; 10:12; 30:6, 20; Judg 5:31; Neh 1:5; Ps 5:11; 31:23;  69:36; 97:10; 116:1-2; 119:132, 165; 145:20; Isa 56:6-7; 64:4; 1 Cor 2:9; Dan 9:4; John 14:21-24; 21:15-17; Rom 8:28; 1 Cor 8:1-3; 14:1; 2 Cor 5:13-15; Eph 5:23-34; 2 Thes 3:5; 2 Tim 4:8; Heb 10:24; James 1:12; 2:5; 1 Pet 1:7-9; 1 Jn 2:5-6, 15; Jude 1:21; Rev 2:4-5). Our love for God enables us to overcome in the day of judgment (1 Jn 4:16-5:3; v20-26; 2Cor 5:10).

The only way to be strong enough to be an overcomer is for the Lord to be our strength. Just as no one can fulfill the sermon on the mount unless by the Lord's life.

Ps 18:1 uses two different words for hand in "hand of all his enemies" and "hand of Saul". The 1st "hand" is caph, "open palm", and the 2nd is yad, the more general and common word for hand. 2 Sam 22:1 uses caph for both. I think “open palm” in 2 Sam 22 means that David was in the open palm of his enemies. They could scare him but never really had power over him. In Psalm 18, the Holy Spirit changed the last caph to yad, to apply to the time of the great tribulation, when antichrist will have power to overcome the saints (Rev 13:7).

 2 Sam 22:1 does not include David's first words, "I love You compassionately, O Lord, my Strength." I think that when David first sung this Psalm, he thought this sentence in his heart, but did not say it out loud. After singing the psalm some times, it overflowed into the written word.
v2 - "Horn of salvation" is only used in this Psalm (and the copy in 2 Sam 22) and in Luke 1:69.  
There are 9 things the LORD is to David here. (10 in 2Sam 22). Each one is preceded by "my". The first Rock is the Hebrew sela which is mainly a sharp, big protecting rock (Jdg 20:47). The second Rock is the Hebrew tsur which is mainly immovable, that we can stand upon (Exo 17:6).
All these items are defensive except the 2nd Rock and Horn of my Salvation. The Horn of my Salvation is a powerful personal salvation that I bring to others.

2 Sam 22:3 adds "and my Refuge, my Savior; You save me from violence" to the end of 18:2.
v4 - "the floods of the ungodly" - When God removes the restraining power over sin (2Thes 2:1-12; Zech 5:1-4) , there will be the most ungodly generation - similar to the generation before the judgment of Noah's flood (Lk 17:26-27; Matt 24:37-39; Gen 6:1-13)  and similar to the people of Sodom (Lk 17:28-30; Gen 13:13;19:4-9; Isa 3:9; Jer 23:14; 2 Pet 2:6-10; Jude 7). The floods of the ungodly give us good reason to be afraid for our families, our lives, our living, and our ability to live honestly.

 v6 - the temple today is the church (Eph 2:20-22)
v7 - 2 Sam 22:8 has "and heaven's foundations trembled and shook" instead of "mountain's foundations". This shows that mountains symbolize the heavens. When both the heavens and the earth are shaken, that will be the Lord's 2nd coming. (Heb 12:26-27).

This is not a common earthquake, but a shaking of the foundations, both of heaven and of earth.

I believe that this refers to the earthquakes that start the great tribulation. (Rev 6:12-17; cf.  8:5; 11:13,19; 16:18)
v8 - I believe this refers to Rev 8:5-10.
v9-11 - I believe this refers to the Lord descending from the 3rd heavens to the physical atmosphere around the earth, where He is hidden by clouds. (Acts 1:9-11; Isa 19:1; Mt 24:30; 26:64; Mk 13:26; 14:62; Lk 21:27; Rev. 1:7; 10:1; 14:14)

2 Sam 22:11 says "He was seen on the wings of the wind" instead of "He flew on the wings of the wind" in Ps 18:10. Ps 18:10-11 corresponds with Rev 10:1, where the Lord is clothed with a cloud. 2 Sam 22:11 matches Rev 14:14 & Matt 24:30, when the Lord is on top of the cloud. At this time the Lord will be visible to all the people on earth.
 v12-14 - I think this refers to Rev 11:19 & 16:18.
v15 - Bodies of water will be dried up by the breath of the Lord's nostrils, so that the sea beds and river beds are empty, exposing the foundations of the earth, like in the Grand Canyon. In particular the Nile, the Euphrates and the tongue of the Red Sea will be dried up (Isa 11:15; Rev 16:12). The tongue of the Egyptian sea probably refers to the Gulfs of Suez and Aqaba. The Gulf of Suez is 3,500 feet deep. The Gulf of Aqaba is exceedingly deep, over 1 mile deep. This would dwarf the Grand Canyon. ( The children of Israel crossed the Gulf of Aqaba in Exodus at a place that was about 1/2 mile feet deep. Exo 43:16-17; Isa 51:10)

2 Sam 22:16 says "channels of the sea" instead of "channels of waters". The most striking supernatural event here will be the drying up of the tongue of the Red Sea. But other bodies of water will be dried up also, which is covered by the more general "waters" in Psalm 18.
v16 - I believe this is the rapture of the manchild in Rev 12:1- 6. The dragon trying to devour the manchild corresponds to the great waters (Rev 12:15), strong foes and extreme calamity. However, the rapture of the manchild is to God's throne, but here the Lord has already descended to the clouds in v9. It may be that God's throne descended with Him from the 3rd heavens to the clouds. The manchild is raptured before the start of the 1260 days, which is the great tribulation (Mt 24:21-22; Mk 13:19-20), but the rest of God's people, signified by the woman, remain. A few Christians will be raptured before the great tribulation (Rev 3:10; 14:1-5), but most of us will be raptured at the end (Rev 7:13-17; 14:14-16; 1 Thes 4:16-17). Those overcomers who are raptured at the beginning of the tribulation are the manchild in Rev 12:5, who was caught up to God's throne We should pray that we be counted worthy to escape the great tribulation and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:34-36).
v17 - I think this refers to the great tribulation when antichrist and his followers will be stronger than the saints. (Rev 13:7)
v18 - Because the Lord was David's stay throughout his daily life, in the day of his extreme calamity, the Lord became his stay.
v19 - I think the large place is our transfigured, spiritual body, which is not subject to all the limitations of our earthly body (Phil 3:20-21; 1 Cor 15:45-54). The Lord will rapture those whom He delights in. We must individually be delightful to Him in order to be raptured (Heb 11:5-6). This is not by accomplishing great things, but only by the personal exercise of living faith (Heb 10:37-39; Ps 37:23-24).
v20-22 - The Lord will reward us according to our works (2Cor 5:10;1 Cor 3:8, 13-15; Rev 22:12). The rapture before the great tribulation is a reward. We cannot be justified before God by our works, but after being justified we are rewarded according to what we have done.
v23 - 2 Sam 22:24 says "blameless unto Him", while Ps 18:23 says "blameless with Him." To be blameless unto Him is to live unto Him (2 Cor 5:9,13-15). This is deeper than to live "for Him". To be perfect with Him, is to not do things apart from Him, but to abide in Him (John 15:4-8).

To be blameless (or perfect) with Him or unto Him is not to be sinless, but to live by faith (Heb 10:37; Ps 37:23). Each of us has our own "my iniquity" in our nature, and we need to keep ourselves from it, by fleeing from it. (1 Cor 6:18-20; 10:14; 1 Tim 6:10-11; 2 Tim 2:22).
v24 - 2 Sam 22:25 says "according to my cleanness before His eyes" instead of "my hands' cleanness". Our person, motives, thoughts and our doings must be clean before God's eyes.
v25 - Showing mercy is the real perfection (Matt 5:48; Lk 6:36) and obtains for us mercy when we have to stand before the Lord (Matt 5:7; 9:13; 12:7; 23:23; James 2:13).
v26 - This verse literally says, "the perfect mighty man". The perfect mighty man is one who does not shrink back, but lives by faith as in v23 (Heb 10:37; Ps 37:23). The Lord upholds him.
v27-28 - "afflicted" could be translated as "poor" or "meek" or "humble". Those who are religiously proud will be humbled when they see those whom they despised exalted by the Lord. When we are raptured, we will see things clearly (1 Cor 13:12).
How can a religiously proud person like me become genuinely humble? By enjoying the Psalms.

2 Sam 22:29 says, "For You are my lamp, O Lord" instead of "For You will cause my lamp to shine". When the Lord causes our lamp to shine, that shining is the Lord Himself shining out of us.
v29 - When we are free from our darkness we can do the impossible (v19).
v30 - God's way is perfect. All our trials are ordered by His hand for our perfection. We can say this because we put our trust in the Lord's word and were tried by it (Rev 3:10; Ps 12:6-7; Heb 4:1-3).

"He waits in His patience till we can look in His face and say - not with a sigh, but with a song - 'As for God, His way is perfect.' This is victory; nothing less can be called by that shining name." - Amy Carmichael
v31 - v 27a, 30b-31 are the only parts of this Psalm which are corporate rather than individual. I believe this word is to encourage the majority of us who are left on earth during the great tribulation. To be left during the great tribulation is not that bad. It is not like not being not admitted into the kingdom (Lk 13:28). That will be a terrible loss! During the great tribulation our Lord will still be our shield and our rock, and we will still have His presence to trust in Him.
v33 - "my high places" indicates we are raptured to the heavens. We will each have our own particular rewards (1 Cor 15:41-42; Rev 2:17).

Feet like hinds feet means that we recover from stumbling without falling.
v34 - I believe that this is in preparation for Armageddon (Zech 14:3,5; Rev 17:14; 19:11-16,19; 1 Thes 3:13; Jude 14-15). The Lord will teach us  this now by our persevering in prayer (Eph 6:10-18). I am very deficient in this. We should have answered prayers.
v35 - I love this verse "Your lowliness makes me great." The Lord made Himself lowly that we might share His blessed place (2Cor 8:9; Matt 11:29).
vv37-40 I believe these verses refer to the Lord Himself (Matt 13:40-43; 1 Cor 15:25). Verses 37-39a could apply to the manchild who return with the Lord, but 39b-40 seem to only apply to the Lord.

The Lord will not stop until He consumes all of His enemies.
v41 Since these cried upon (and looked unto 2 Sam 22:42) the Lord, these are tares, false Christians (Matt 13:40-43). Possibly they may include jihadic Moslems attacking Jerusalem, who when they see the Lord coming to fight against them, call on the name of Jesus as they heard to do from Christians that they killed, but it will be too late. They have already seen many miracles during the great tribulation.
v42 These are the nations that attack Israel (Zech 12:8-9; 14:3). The Lord is the stone of stumbling to the unbelieving Jews, and He is the smiting stone to the nations who fight against Him to His face (Matt 21:44; Luke 20:18; Dan 2:34-35). He will crush those nations to powder.
v43 - "The people" whose contentions God saved Jesus from is Israel. This is proved by 2 Sam 22:44, which says "My people".
God made Christ the Head of all nations (Isa 11:10), and made them into a people, the church, whom He did not know formerly( Amos 3:2). They were far off from God unlike Israel, but they have come near by the blood of Christ and the Spirit (Zech 6:15; Acts 2:39; Eph 2:11-13, 17-19; 1 Kg 8:41-43;2 Chron 6:32-33; Matt 8:11; Lk 13:29).
v44 The Gentiles believe on the Lord by the hearing of faith (Matt 8:10; Acts 15:7; Rom 10:14-17).

After the apostles passed away ("men slept") the nature of the church was changed: many false believers entered the church, the church was leavened with pagan teachings, and became a giant tree instead of  sojourners of faith (Matt 13:24-43).

2 Sam 22:45 has the order reversed: Gentiles falsely profess obedience to Christ, then when they hear about Him, they obey. I believe this predicts that at the end of the age many more Gentiles will hear the gospel and become true believers. (see Zech 6:1-8 on the chariots that go north.)
v45 - The sons of the stranger become no longer strangers, but fellowcitizens (Eph 2:19). Their old manner of life disappears as they put off the old man and put on Christ (Eph 4:22-24; Col 3: 9-11; Rom 12:2; 2 Cor 3:18; 2 Cor 5:17; Jn 3:30). They will fear the Lord (1Kg 8:43; 2Chron6:33; Ps 9:20; 19:9;  25:12-14; 31:19; 33:18; 34:7-14; 86:11; 103:11-18; 111:10; 115:11-13; 119:38, 63, 74, 79, 120; 145:19; 147:11; Prov 14:26-27; 15:16; 22:4; 23:17; Eccl 8:12-13; Isa 8:13; 11:1-3; 29:13; 33:6; 59:17-60:5; Mal 4:2; Acts 19:17; Rom 11:20; 2 Cor 5:11;7:1; Eph 5:21; Phil 2:12; Heb 4:1; 12:28; 1Pet 1:17; 2:17; 3:15-16; Rev 11:18; 19:5).

2 Sam 22:46 says "gird themselves" instead of "fear". To gird ourselves is to put on the sober mind of Christ (1 Pet 1:13; 5:5).
v49 This verse is quoted in Rom 15:9 referring to the Gentile believers in Christ. Christ within the believers praises and thanks the Father and trusts the Lord in the church (Heb 2:12-13). This proves that Psalm 18:43-49 speaks of the Gentile believers in the church age, not the millennium gentiles, who are in Zech 14:16-19.