Psalm 18:1-24

An awesome, humbling portrait of one man’s experience of God’s salvation. There’s a picture of the sufficiency and security of God for salvation at the beginning, then David expresses his immense need for help. He was at the point of death, with nothing in view to save him from his certain destruction. He then describes God’s passion for desiring to help David, to save him from his troubles. The anger and emotion attributed to God as He leaves heaven to descend to earth and care for the one He loves is inspiring for anyone who has been in the depths and wonders if there is any who loves me, any who cares whether I exist: God cares.

Verses 16-19 describe the actual salvation that David experienced. It is entirely God’s doing. David’s enemy had no hope of stopping God’s plan to save David. And there was nothing that David did of his own that saved him. God plucked him from his misery. God saved. Sounds like Paul’s salvation by grace through faith. As the hymn writer says, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.”

The last set of verses, 20-24, are a struggle for me, though. There David says that God dealth with him according to David’s righteousness, and that he had upheld God’s statutes – there was no fault on him. Where does this righteousness come from? Is it a righteousness credited to David somewhere along the way, as Genesis 15 says that righteousness was credited to Abraham? Is it akin to the righteousness we have by means of the blood of Jesus?

Since finishing Jerry Bridges’ The Pursuit of Holiness, I have been struggling with this – and the Bible passages I’m reading seem to keep bringing it up. What is my role? David could say he was blameless before God. I cannot do the same. Yet, I believe that Christ’s work is sufficient for my sin, that there is nothing that I can do other than bring what Isaiah called “filthy rags.” I feel a calling to live a holier life, and I struggle with the areas I know fall short that I cannot seem to change.

Pray for me. And I’ll be praying for you.

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