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
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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.
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.)
2 Sam 22:3 adds "and my Refuge, my Savior; You save me from violence" to the end of 18:2.
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.
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.
v13 - I think this refers to 1 Thes 4:16-17. The Lord's descending here is from the heavens to the clouds, because the living and remaining saints will be caught up to the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
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. This may be 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. (Luke 21:34-36).
v17 - I think this refers to the great tribulation when antichrist will be stronger than the saints. (Rev 13:7)
v18 - 2 Sam 22:19 says that the Lord already was David's stay. In Ps 18, the Lord became David's stay. both are true. Because the Lord was David's stay throughout his daily life, in the day of his extreme calamity, the Lord became his stay.
v19 - 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 "perfect unto Him", while Ps 18:23 says "perfect with Him." To be perfect 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).
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.
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).
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).
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).
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).
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".
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.)
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 (Zech 14:16-19).