Since this psalm is supposed to have been written late in David's life as a summary of God's repeated deliverances of him, these words immediately raise a question of how David could say this in light of his sin with Bathsheba and against her husband Uriah. How could he claim to have been "blameless" and to have "kept himself from sin" in view of this sad episode?

Verses 7-11 use language associated with the descent of God to Mount Sinai to give the law through Moses. This was accompanied by a shaking of the earth, dark clouds and lightning. The author of Hebrews describes Sinai as "a mountain... burning with fire . . . darkness, gloom and storm," so terrifying that even Moses said, "I am trembling with fear" (Heb. 12:18-21).

The second use of this image is to portray God as a refuge for his people. This idea is prominent in Psalm 18 because David is thinking of God's protection during the years he was forced to hide from Saul and later Absalom. David knew every cranny, track and secret hiding place in the vast rocky wilderness. So when he fled to the rocks he knew that he would be safe in their protection. From the height of some great rock David could look down into the canyon below and watch as his enemies pursued him hopelessly.

Yesterday we mentioned the first category of David’s deliverances, when he was hiding from King Saul in the wilderness.

Second, God delivered David during his years of fighting against Israel's enemies and gave him numerous victories. This was the period in which David established the kingdom on a firm footing. Second Samuel 8 lists David's victories over the Philistines, Moabites, Arameans of Damascus and Edomites.

Psalm 18 is the first long psalm in the Psalter. There are others, of course. Psalm 119 is known for being long; it is the longest chapter in the Bible. But Psalm 18, with fifty verses, is the longest thus far. I will be taking it in two parts, a pattern I will follow more than once from this point forward.