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Psalm 18 - NIV

1   I love you, Lord, my strength.
2   The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3   I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
4   The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5   The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
6   In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
7   The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
8   Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
9   He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
10   He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
11   He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12   Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13   The Lordthundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
14   He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15   The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
16   He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17   He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18   They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lordwas my support.
19   He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
20    The Lordhas dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21   For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
I am not guilty of turning from my God.
22   All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.
23   I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.
24The Lordhas rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25   To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26   to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27   You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28   You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
29   With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall.
30   As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
31  For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
32   It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
33   He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
34   He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35   You make your saving help my shield,
and your right hand sustains me;
your help has made me great.
36   You provide a broad path for my feet,
so that my ankles do not give way.
37   I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38   I crushed them so that they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.
39   You armed me with strength for battle;
you humbled my adversaries before me.
40   You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.
41  They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
to the Lord, but he did not answer.
42   I beat them as fine as windblown dust;
I trampled them like mud in the streets.
43   You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
you have made me the head of nations.
People I did not know now serve me,
44  foreigners cower before me;
as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
45   They all lose heart;
they come trembling from their strongholds.
46   The Lordlives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God my Savior!
47   He is the God who avenges me,
who subdues nations under me,
48   who saves me from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
from a violent man you rescued me.
49   Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing the praises of your name.
50   He gives his king great victories;
he shows unfailing love to his anointed,
to David and to his descendants forever.


Devotional from Alain Emerson



The peerless Old Testament theologian Walter Bruggemann proposes that broadly speaking we could categorise the Psalms into 3 types: Psalms of Orientation, Psalms of Disorientation and Psalms of New Orientation.  It’s pretty self-explanatory and really helpful. Psalms of Orientation remind our hearts and situate our souls in the immovable and steadfast nature of God. Psalms of Disorientation are those psalms of Lament and penitence where the Psalmist expresses anger, frustration; disappointment, shame and sinfulness.  These are Psalms where we feel lost; not sure where to turn and longing for a new place of security in our lives.  Finally there are Psalms of New Orientation where the Psalmist expresses thanksgiving to God for bringing us through in a new place in words of delight at sins forgiven and words of hope as a fresh intrusion of grace coming into our loves.

The reason I love Psalm 18 so much is it feels like all three dynamics are at work within the one Psalm and isn’t this a story of life itself. The swirling cycle of gratitude, disappointment, victory all happening often in one day!!

When we look at the first 3 verses we have a declaration of God’s strength and immovable. We are orientated in the revelation of God as our ‘Rock’, our ‘Fortress’ and our ‘Deliver’. This is a God we can put our trust in. This is a great way to start the day.

But the Psalm doesn’t stop here. The mood changes, just in the same way we experience through our lives a sudden shift - from the warm cosy place of orientation,  to a place of sharp despair as the trials and tribulations of life leave us in a place of completely disorientating scrambling for a place of shelter and security. ‘The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.’ vs 4

Notice the brutal honesty and the graphic imagery David uses throughout this Psalm.  Have you ever felt like this?  Have you ever felt like you were in a hole and instead of climbing out of it you felt like it was getting deeper and deeper.  Grief; depression; overwhelming sense of your sin – you feel like you are sinking and you can’t do anything about it….TOTALLY DISTRESSED. What do you do in that place?

The Psalm encourages us to Cry out to the Lord, ‘in my distress I called upon the Lord!' (vs 6). Further the Psalms provide us with a language to cry out to the Lord. They give us permission to grieve, to lament, to pour it all out. And when we do we find like the Psalmist could testify ‘He makes darkness His secret place.’ vs 11 (NKJV).  The most amazing revelation to me in my times of greatest despair has been, my Heavenly Father makes my darkness His ‘secret place.’ He ‘presences’ Himself there. He may not say a lot but His silence never means His absence.

And in His perfect timing, when His presence has validated our pain and as a result healed our broken hearts He will bring us into a ‘broad place’. (vs 19) He will lead us into wide open spaces, causing us to leap like a deer (vs 33) and redeeming the whole process for good as He strengthens us for the battles ahead (vs 34).  This is the reality of New Orientation.

The Lord Lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted by God my Saviour!  (vs 46)

Alain Emerson

Alain is husband to Rachel and Dad to Annie, Erin and Finn. Living and loving in Lurgan.  Have the privilege to lead in Emmanuel church and 24-7prayer Ireland.  Excited about seeing a ‘new thing’ happening in the nation of Ireland in these days.  Other things I am passionate about are reading, hanging out with friends, most sports and the mighty Liverpool!