{To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said,}

Psalm 18:1 I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.

2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

4 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.

5 The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.

6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

7 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.

8 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.

9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.

10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.

11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.

12 At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.

13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.

14 Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.

15 Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

16 He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.

17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.

18 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.

19 He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

28 For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

29 For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.

30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

31 For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?

32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.

33 He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.

34 He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.

35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.

46 The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.

47 It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me.

48 He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.

49 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.

50 Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.

MEMORY VERSE: Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me. —Psalm 18:43

CENTRAL THOUGHT: A song David composed and sang after God had delivered him from Saul and his other enemies; some verses are also prophetic of Christ.


Psalm 18:1 “To the chief musician”: the choir leader. “I will love thee”: “Nowhere else in Scripture is the form of the word employed which is here used for ‘love.’ It has special depth and tenderness” (MacLaren).

Psalm 18:2 “Rock”: a craggy cliff; stronghold; a simile of protecting care or security. “Fortress”: stronghold; castle. “My strength”: tsur (Hebrew); rock; figurative of God, as support and defense to His people; a proper name of God. II Samuel 22, where this song is also recorded, puts “God of my Rock” and adds, “my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.”

Psalm 18:4-24 “The sorrows of death…”: a sure prophetic description of Christ, His sufferings at Gethsemane and Calvary, and His resurrection. “The floods of ungodly men”: men of Belial (Hebrew), which means without use or profit; abandoned; wicked.

Psalm 18:11 “Dark waters”: watery vapors.

Psalm 18:18 “Prevented”: came before; confronted.

Psalm 18:31, also 46 “Rock”: tsur (Hebrew) cliff; fountain source.

Psalm 18:34 “Steel”: brass or bronze.

Psalm 18:35 “Gentleness”: meekness; mildness; favor; condescension; kindness. “Hath made me great”: has multiplied me or increased me.

Psalm 18:43 “Head of the heathen”: a prophecy of Christ and His church; of the bringing in of the Gentiles.

Psalm 18:49 “Among the heathen”: a prophecy of Christ bringing the gospel to the Gentiles and quoted in Romans 15:9.


The title at the beginning of Psalm 18 suggests that David wrote it after his trials at the hand of King Saul were finished; however, there were also great difficulties during his forty years’ reign as king, such as the rebellion of his sons Adonijah and Absalom. The arrangement of the same song in II Samuel 22 causes us to think it was written toward the end of his reign and life. However that may be, as David looked back over his life and experiences, his heart melted in tender affection and grateful praise for the mercies of God to him and the mighty deliverances He had given.

David began loving God as a tender youth, caring for his father’s sheep in the fields around Bethlehem. From there he was summoned to a meeting with Samuel, who was looking for a certain son of Jesse’s that God would choose to be king. Samuel had seen all the brothers and asked if there were more. Jesse finally sent for his youngest, as if, “Oh, it couldn’t be that one.” But that was the one God chose. Samuel anointed him and God’s Spirit came upon him.

David was soon summoned by King Saul, who was searching for a musician who could soothe his troubled spirit. He loved David and made him his armor-bearer—but the victory God gave David over Goliath changed that love. The people admired and lifted David up. He became a close friend to Jonathan. He became a mighty warrior. Saul became envious and tried to kill David when he came back to play music for him. The scripture lets us know that Saul’s envy was born out of fear, because Saul saw that God was with David. He gave his daughter Michal to be David’s wife, hoping she would be a snare for him. Once more David prospered, foiling Saul’s evil plan.

David became a fugitive, pursued by Saul and his allies. Twice David was near enough to Saul, in hiding, that he could have ended Saul’s life, but he held conscientiously to God’s command to not harm the anointed of the Lord. Several times he was spied on and betrayed by Saul’s men. He lived in the fortresses of the rocks and hills. He had 400 and then 600 men at his command. Toward the end, he sought refuge among Israel’s enemies, the Philistines. This presented at best an awkward situation; at worst, a dilemma that nearly cost him his life. Again, God’s mercy delivered him just in time.

As has already been mentioned, much of Psalm 18 and II Samuel 22 is prophetic of the Lord Jesus Christ. When David speaks of his righteousness and cleanness of hands, it is very easy to apply all that to Christ; it is more difficult to think that way of David, who we know was a poor and needy sinner. But one thing we can say about David. Even though at times he sinned grievously, he never departed from his pursuit after God. He craved holiness. He loved God with all his heart. He never resorted to idols. He truly was “after” God’s heart.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. What verses apply the title “Rock” to God?
  2. Share the places that point to Christ.
  3. How many times is the word “deliverance” used in the Psalm?
  4. Share how God’s “gentleness” has made you great.
  5. What would you say was the greatest danger from which God delivered David?


Moses’ song and David’s songs: one theme they repeat is “God is my rock.” It is a common symbol of God in Scripture. To God’s people He was just as strong and stable as the towering peaks and fortresses around which their journey led. Those rocks portrayed not just strength but places where miraculous water gushed; thus, God the Rock was also the fountain-source upon which their very lives depended.

“For their rock is not as our Rock” (Deuteronomy 32:31). In this comparison, “Our Rock” was the living Creator who could crush their enemies. “Their rock” was a created body like the sun or the moon; or was an inanimate object, like wood or metal, that could be destroyed. Their “rock” could not hear or speak. Their “rock” could not be trusted or loved.

David used the illustration of a rock many times. “My rock and my fortress” (Psalm 71:3). “The rock of my salvation” (Psalm 89:26). “The rock of my refuge” (Psalm 94:22). “The rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2).

Isaiah proclaimed Him as “the rock of thy strength,” and “everlasting strength,” which is translated, “the Rock of ages” (Isaiah 17:10; 26:4).

In Daniel 2:45, He is the mountain, which should be translated “Rock,” out of which the stone was cut, signifying the divinity of Christ.

He is called “O mighty God,” in Habakkuk 1:12, which actually is “Rock” in Hebrew.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus alluded to the thought of a rock when He spoke of houses built on either sand or the rock. He applied the word to Himself in Matthew 16:18, “Upon this rock I will build my church…” The apostle Paul emphatically stated the rock in the wilderness was Christ (I Corinthians 10:4).

Isaiah prophesied of the tried stone, the precious corner stone that would be laid in Zion for a foundation; this was directly applied to Christ by Paul in Romans 9:33 and by Peter in I Peter 2:6-8.

In Christian history, the “Rock” has been the theme of many powerful songs establishing truth and confronting apostasy; for example, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” by Martin Luther, and “Rock of Ages” by Augustus Toplady.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.”

There are several hymns throughout the history of Christendom that portray Christ as a Rock, but perhaps one of the unlikeliest contributors to this collection of songs would be Edward Mote, the author of the well-known hymn “The Solid Rock” (#51, ELS). Edward was born near the end of the 18th century in London, England to very poor, ungodly parents, owners of one of London’s public houses. He once stated, “So ignorant was I that I did not know there was a God. My Sundays were spent on the streets in play.” He further stated that the school he attended did not even allow a Bible to be seen, much less taught.

During his teen years, Edward was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker, and it was through this cabinetmaker he heard the gospel preached and was genuinely converted to Christ. Settling in a suburb of London, he himself became a successful cabinetmaker and a devoted Christian.

In his later years, he recounted to a local newspaper how his most famous song came to be. One day in 1834, as he was on his way to his shop, he felt inspired to write a hymn on the “gracious experience of a Christian,” and had written several stanzas to the song by the end of his workday. Within a few days, he called on a couple with whom he attended services, the wife being very ill. During his visit, when the time for the couple’s daily devotions came around, they could not find a hymnbook, so Edward proposed to sing for her the few verses he had in his pocket. The dying sister enjoyed the song so much that she asked for a copy, and Edward, so inspired by this reception, completed the hymn and had 1,000 copies made for distribution. In 1836, the hymn was published under the title “The Immutable Basis of a Sinner’s Hope” in a collection named Hymns of Praise, A New Selection of Gospel Hymns.

Later, in his fifties, Edward was called to preach, and served for over twenty years as pastor of the church where he is buried. At 77, as he lay on his deathbed, he exclaimed, “I think I am going to heaven. Yes, I am nearing port. The truths I have preached I am now living upon, and they will do to die upon. Ah! The precious blood, which takes away all our sins. It is this which makes peace with God.”

The tune most often associated with “The Solid Rock” was written by the American composer William Batchelder Bradbury, who also wrote the music for several other well- known hymns such as “Just As I Am,” “Jesus Loves Me,” “He Leadeth Me,” and “Sweet Hour of Prayer.”

—Bro. Fari Matthews

Click here to listen to “The Solid Rock” sung by God’s people at Monark Springs Campmeeting: