Theme: Praise to My Rock
In this week’s lessons we see how the second part of Psalm 18 builds upon the first part, and how Paul uses it to refer to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Psalm 18:25-50
In the final five verses (vv. 46–50) we come back to the point from which we started out, namely, praise to God. And the theme of God being our rock reappears. Verse 2 says, “The LORD is my rock” and “my God is my rock.” Now, in verse 46 we read, “The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior.”
Verse 49 is the verse Paul used in Romans 15 to show that Jesus brought salvation to the Gentiles as well as to Jews. It is one of four texts, the others being Deuteronomy 32:43, Psalm 17:1 and Isaiah 11:10. Paul writes, “For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: ‘Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.’ Again, it says, ‘Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.’ And again, ‘Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples.’ And again, Isaiah says, ‘The root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him’” (Rom. 15:8-12).
At first glance the use of Psalm 18:49 might seem inappropriate, since David seems to be saying that he will praise Jehovah to the Gentile nations because of the victories God had given him. But it is not inappropriate at all, since verse 50 makes clear that David is also thinking of the victories God will yet give, not only to him, but to “his descendants forever.” As Leupold says, “David was given victory to make possible the greater victories of his Greater Son.”6
This is the point at which we are encouraged to look back over the entire psalm for messianic meanings. The most extensive treatment along these lines is by Arno C. Gaebelein, who sees five areas of prophecy concerning Christ.

His Death (vv. 1-6). Gaebelein acknowledges that these words are indeed David’s and that they can be ours also. But he feels that they are especially Jesus’ words, since, in Gaebelein’s judgment, they praise God for delivering him from death (“Sheol,” v. 5).
His Resurrection (vv. 7-18). He sees the description of God’s manifestations of himself in verses 7-18 as Jesus’ resurrection. But it is a foretaste of an even fuller revelation of Jesus at the final judgment.
His Exaltation (vv. 19-27). The verses in which David protests his innocence are applied exclusively to Christ by Gaebelein, since no mere human being is ever entirely righteous. He views the reward of verse 24 as Jesus’ exaltation by God the Father, along the lines of Philippians 2:9-11.
His victory (vv. 28-42). This section describes the subjection of Jesus’ enemies. Gaebelein recognizes that it is primarily a description of the victories God gave David, but he adds that “in this he is the type of Christ under whose feet all things will be put.”7
His Kingdom (vv. 43-50). The final verses describe Jesus as “the head of the nations.” Gaebelein refers the phrase “people I did not know” to the Jews, who were “unknown” by him in their unbelief but will be “known” again in their future repentant state (v. 43). “Foreigners” are Gentiles (v. 44). The “violent man” (singular, although NIV has “men”) is the Antichrist.

I find that this is reading too much into the psalm, as I said earlier. But although David did not intend these allusions, in my judgment, the links between his experiences and Christ’s are nevertheless suggestive.
Study Questions:

How is v. 49 used in the New Testament?
How has this psalm been seen to be messianic? Do you agree with the number of allusions? Why or why not?

Application: Praise the Lord for the perfection of his written Word, and for the clear ways in which both the Old and New Testaments bear witness to the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection for the salvation of sinners.
6H. C. Leupold, Exposition of the Psalms (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1969), p. 74.7Arno C. Gaebelein, The Book of Psalms: A Devotional and Prophetic Commentary (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux, 1965), p. 87.

Study Questions
Tagged under
More Resources from James Montgomery Boice

Subscribe to the Think & Act Biblically Devotional

Alliance of Confessional Evangelicals

About the Alliance

The Alliance is a coalition of believers who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today’s Church.

Canadian Donors

Canadian Committee of The Bible Study Hour
PO Box 24087, RPO Josephine
North Bay, ON, P1B 0C7