The LORD’s relationship with the people of Israel was, for the most part, one-sided throughout the Old Testament. God wanted a relationship that would be mutually beneficial and wanted his people to love him as much as he loved them. The opening line of Psalm 18, “I love you, O LORD, my strength” (Psalm 18:1) indicated that David felt love for the LORD, a kind of love that was affectionate and caring toward the other. The Hebrew word that David used for love was racham (raw-khamˊ) which means to fondle (H7355). Racham refers to the expression of love through compassion and mercy. David wanted to reciprocate the mercy that he himself had received. It was the type of mutual affection that the LORD sought from his people.
David used the term LORD to address God (Psalm 18:1). It was not only respectful, but also a sign of his devotion to him. The name Jehovah or Yahweh is derived from the Tetragrammaton YHWH. No vowels were used to form God’s personal name, so the exact pronunciation and precise meaning is unknown. “God chose it as His personal name by which He related specifically to His chosen or covenant people” (H3068). One way of looking at Psalm 18:1 would be to say that David believed the LORD’s strength was in him. Because of that, David pledged his love to the LORD, and he was committed to waiting for his deliverance.
In Psalm 18:2, David referred to the LORD as his rock, his fortress, his strength, and his deliverer. All of these things relate back to God’s ability to keep David out of harm’s way. For the most part, David was traveling in uncharted territory. Otherwise, he would have been an easy target for Saul’s experienced warriors. The images David created of God’s divine protection showed that his journey was not an easy one. Between the lofty mountain tops and craggy cliffs were deep valleys and flowing streams that were difficult to cross. David said, “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” (Psalm 18:2, KJV). A high tower was basically an inaccessible place that someone could enter, but not escape from. It was used as a last resort to avoid death. David knew that the LORD had chosen him to be the next king of Israel, but would not give him the throne until Saul was dead. Therefore, David had to fight to the death and win.
David discovered a connection between calling out to the LORD and being saved from his enemies. David said, “I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from my enemies” (Psalm 18:3, KJV). David’s cry to the LORD for help was more than just a silent prayer. The Hebrew word that is translated call, qara (kaw-rawˊ) means to call out and may signify the “specification of a name” (H7121). “Basically, qara’ means ‘to call out loudly’ in order to get someone’s attention so that contact can be initiated.” More than likely, David vocalized Jehovah or Yahweh, the Jewish national name of God.
David’s use of the verbs “will” and “shall” in Psalm 18:3 indicated that his cry to the LORD and answer from him had not yet taken place. It is important to note that David often wrote down his prayers and petitions to the LORD in advance of actually making or getting them. David had no way of knowing how things would turn out, but his faith gave him the confidence to believe it was only a matter of time until the LORD would do something on his behalf. I believe David started every day with an expectation that he would see God’s deliverance before the sun went down. One thing that is certain about David’s relationship with the LORD was that he constantly reminded himself God was in control.
David’s emotions were always evident in his prayers to the LORD. He didn’t try to sugar coat things or make it seem as if everything was fine, when in actuality he was scared to death. The fourth verse of Psalm 18 reveals that David was fearful for his life. Clearly, David’s enemies were closing in on him and he felt a real sense of danger as he prayed, “The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me” (Psalm 18:4). The cords of death were feelings that David had of being caught in a trap that he couldn’t escape from. David knew he would be killed if Saul’s men ever got their hands on him. The only way that David could avoid death was for Saul to be killed instead of him. David spoke of being surrounded and of being overtaken by the raging waters of a flood. These images depict David’s emotions as being out of control. David’s fear was based on real circumstances, but his imagination may have gotten the better of him at this particular point in time. What may have been going on was a test of David’s resolve in which he was made to face the emotions that were constantly battling against his confidence in the LORD. David had to exercise self-control in order to experience the complete deliverance the LORD wanted him to have.
David said, “In my distress I called upon the LORD, to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears” (Psalm 18:6). David’s distress was a result of his awareness that his enemy was about to overtake and kill him. David was so close to death that a psychological or perhaps a spiritual crisis was happening to him. Some people have said that in a near-death experience their lives have passed before them. It is possible that David was imagining himself in hades, the world of the dead, and in the shock and dismay of his experience, he audibly cried out to God, saying, help me! The Hebrew term translated cried, shava means to halloo (H7768), a command used to incite dogs to the chase during a hunt. In other words, David was saying, sick ‘em or get ‘em, LORD, with respect to the enemies that were chasing him.
David’s acknowledgment that God had heard his voice was based on his belief in God’s faithfulness, rather than an audible response from him. When David said “my cry to him reached his ears” (Psalm 18:6), David knew that the LORD didn’t have a physical body as he did, but David was certain that God was able to, and actually did hear him. One of the things that is not known about the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ is what role he played in God’s relationship with his people prior to his birth. David may have been aware of the presence of Jesus throughout eternity and probably identified his prayers with him even though Jesus had not yet been born. David said, “From his temple he heard my voice” (Psalm 18:6). David associated God’s presence with a temple, but one had not yet been built on earth. David may have been referring to God’s heavenly temple, the place where Jesus is now.
David said in Psalm 18:7, “Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry.” David may have associated God’s anger with an earthquake because of the violent nature and uncertain feeling one gets when he is in the midst of it. The Hebrew words that are translated trembled and quaked are connected to the emotion of fear. Trembled or raʿash in Hebrew means to undulate or to move with a smooth wavelike motion (H7493). On the other hand, ragaz (raw-gazˊ) means to quiver (H7264). Both of these terms represent visible expressions of emotion that are usually associated with fear. David’s experience with God was unique in that he saw the LORD as a man with emotions like everyone else. The Hebrew word that is translated angry in Psalm 18:7 is charah (khaw-rawˊ). It means to glow or grow warm (H2734). David was probably using this word figuratively to describe the physical signs of God’s anger. The idea David wanted to convey was that God does get angry and reacts to circumstances that upset him.
David created a mental image of God descending from heaven in order to communicate the idea that God was getting personally involved in his situation. David said of God, “He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet” (Psalm 18:9). The Hebrew word translated bowed, natah (naw-tawˊ) means to stretch or spread out, but it also “connotes ’extending something outward and toward’ something or someone…This is a figure of God’s active, sovereign, and mighty involvement in the affairs of men” (H5186). David indicated that God came down from heaven. David was depicting physical movement that was not actually necessary. God did not need to come down in order to see what was going on, nor did he need to leave heaven in order to get involved in David’s situation. God could have taken care of things from his throne room in heaven. What David may have been trying to convey was the departure from heaven that Jesus made in order to save David from spiritual death. David spoke earlier about the cords of Sheol and the snares of death (Psalm 18:5). What may have been on David’s mind was the ultimate death that he would experience in the form of separation from God. David pictured God bridging the gap between earth and heaven so as to rescue him from death. That is what Jesus did when he came to earth as a man.
David said that the darkness was under God’s feet (Psalm 18:9). David may have meant that God was triumphing over or defeating the darkness. In other words, God was taking the gloom away from David’s perception of the situation. Even though, nothing had really changed at this point in David’s prayer, it is evident that a shift occurred in David’s view of things. After David imagined God coming to his rescue, he felt different about his circumstances. The thought of God descending from his throne to rescue him made David feel more hopeful about the future. Once David was focused on what God was doing, instead of what his enemies were doing, he realized that his situation was completely under control and his deliverance had already been taken care of.
David expressed in Psalm 18:10 that God responded to his cry for help as if speed was of the essence. David said, “He rode upon a cherub and flew; yea, he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.” God’s speedy response demonstrated the importance of David’s request. God did not waste any time getting to David’s location. One of the things that seems evident from David’s description of God’s travel to him was that God was able to move from his position in heaven. He could leave heaven if he chose to. Although David did not mention his relationship to the LORD, or speak of the love between them in this instance, it seems likely that David’s cry for help was interpreted in such a way that God knew his presence was needed and any delay would make the situation worse.
An interesting aspect of God’s travel is contained in the phrase, “he came swiftly on the wings of the wind” (Psalm 18:10). The Hebrew word translated wind, ruwach (rooˊ-akh) “is regarded in Scripture as a fitting emblem of the mighty penetration power of the invisible God. Moreover, the breath is suppose to symbolize not only the deep feelings that are generated within man, such as sorrow and anger; but also kindred feelings in the divine nature. It is revealed that God and God alone has the faculty of communicating His Spirit or life to His creatures, who are thus enabled to feel, think, speak, and act in accordance with the Divine will” (H7307). It could be that David’s prayer resulted in a type of filling of the Spirit in which his body was spiritually strengthened as a result of God’s Holy Spirit coming inside him, rather than an outer presence, such as God standing by his side. The important thing to note is that David’s emotions were transformed by his experience.
David said, “He made darkness his covering; his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water” (Psalm 18:11). The Hebrew word that is translated covering, cathar (saw-tharˊ) means to hide by covering (H5641). In other words, whatever we are looking for is out of view because there is something between it and us. Something may appear to be missing, when in reality, our view is blocked or inhibited by some other thing that has gotten in the way. The word David used in Psalm 18:11 that is translated “made” is shiyth (sheeth). “Generally speaking, this word is a term of physical action, typically expressing movement from one place to another. Often it expresses putting hands on someone or something” (7896). If you can imagine God putting his hands on the darkness and causing it to block our view of him, you might understand why David said “he made the darkness his covering.” What David was really saying was that God had placed the darkness in between the two of them so that David could no longer see his face. David was separated from God by his difficult circumstance.
It’s possible that the reason God seems to be hidden from us when the storms of life hit us hard is because we don’t imagine him to be the author of our difficult circumstances. When David prayed to God for deliverance (Psalm 18:3), David may have thought that he would be taken out of his difficult circumstances, rather than being made to stand up against them. As David waited on God, it seems likely that he was anxious to become king, but unwilling to watch Saul and his son Jonathon to be killed in battle. The dilemma David faced was his victory coming at the cost of Jonathon, his best friend’s defeat. David had to accept the fact that God could not make him king without his enemy’s family being completely destroyed.
David’s transition from feelings of hopelessness and despair to an expectation of victory over his enemies began with an awareness of God’s presence. David said, “Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds” (Psalm 18:12). David’s description of hailstones and coals of fire breaking through the dark clouds around him presented the image of God’s power breaking forth as if he had taken off a cloak or had released himself from the constraints of a hidden identity. David said God “gave his voice” (Psalm 18:13). The Hebrew word translated gave, nathan (naw-thanˊ) means to deliver, place, or set up (H5414). David depicted God using his voice to place or interject his power into the situation. David also used lightning as an emblem of conflict or military engagement. He said of God, “And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them” (Psalm 18:14). The phrase David used, he flashed forth lightnings or in Hebrew rabab (raw-babˊ) baraq (baw-rawkˊ) might be translated, he drew his sword (H7232/H1300). In this context, David would have been signifying the start of a battle or the initiation of conflict. Perhaps, this view of the fourteenth verse of David’s psalm would be more appropriate in the context of the transition David was engaged in; from seeing himself as a victim to seeing himself as the victor over his enemies. The primary shift that was occurring in this section of David’s psalm was a shift from inaction to action. David was relying on the Lord to rescue him, but a dual effort was necessary for David to be completely delivered from his enemies. Although the Lord was the primary actor, it could be said that David was also involved in the action that was taking place. David’s action, even though it was unseen, was the activation of his faith. David began to believe that God would save him.
In his struggle to overcome his enemies, David came to a point where he connected with God in a personal, intimate, and completely unique way. It might be said that David was actually saved in that moment in time. I believe David came to the realization that God was not distant and uninvolved in his life, but was actively and continuously working toward the goal he had established for him, to make David king over Israel. One way of describing what happened to David would be to say that the blinders were taken off or his blindfold was removed. It was as if David could see, for the first time in his life, the reality of who God was and what he was doing for him. David acknowledged this moment in time by stating, “At your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils” (Psalm 18:15). A rebuke is a form of correction (H1606). David may have felt he was being scolded or chided by God for his doubt and perhaps even unbelief. The blast of the breath of God’s nostrils was perhaps meant to be a depiction of an awakening in David’s mind. The Hebrew word translated blast, neshamah (nesh-aw-mawˊ) can be interpreted as divine inspiration (H5397). We might think of it today as an “aha” moment, when everything suddenly clicked and David understood God’s intention.
David used an illustration of God’s supernatural power to depict him as the omnipotent Savior of his life. He said, “Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare” (Psalm 18:15). Many people do not recognize God as the creator of the universe. Some people might even deny his existence, but David was showing us that God’s existence cannot be denied because his power to control his creation is evident in the miracles he performs. An experience that was a significant part of the Hebrew culture was the parting of the Red Sea, when the Israelites were delivered from slavery in Egypt. Their experience of walking across the sea on dry land was a continual reminder to God’s people that they were able to do extraordinary things when they obeyed God and trusted in his power to deliver them. David’s own deliverance was an extraordinary feat because Saul hunted him down with an army that far surpassed his own group of men’s ability. David’s men might be described as a rag, tag bunch of misfits that had never fought a significant battle in their lives (1 Samuel 22:2). And yet, God used these men to conquer not only Saul and his army, but the entire Philistine nation, including a band of giants that had terrorized Israel for decades (2 Samuel 21:15-22). David’s final victory is recorded in 2 Samuel 21:22 where it says, “These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants” (KJV).
God’s active involvement in the lives of men is not always evident. Because we cannot see it, we may assume there is nothing going on in the spiritual realm. David described an intervention that came from heaven when he said, “He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters” (Psalm 18:16). The Hebrew word translated sent, shalach (shaw-lakhˊ) means to send away, for, or out (H7971). “The most frequent use of shalach suggests the sending of someone or something as a messenger to a particular place.” On high refers to altitude (H4791) and indicates that David’s help was coming from a place above the earth. Heaven might be thought of as a place far away, perhaps in outer space, even beyond the reach of space travel. But, it shows in Genesis 28:12 that a ladder was able to reach to heaven. It says specifically that Jacob saw, “a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!” As a result of his dream, Jacob concluded that God was there with him in the place where he was sleeping. He stated, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (Genesis 28:17). David believed his rescuer was being dispatched from a place above the earth, but not necessarily far away from it. One way of interpreting David’s statement he sent from on high would be, God sent his angels down a ladder from heaven to me.
David never gave up his faith. He declared, “He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:19). David felt that the reason God kept him from being killed by his enemies was because of the relationship they had. The Hebrew word translated delighted, chaphets (khaw-fatesˊ) means to incline or move in closer (H2654). David was not claiming favoritism, the overlooking of the claims of some so as to gratify the wishes of special friends, but recognized that God had answered his prayers and helped him to escape death. Therefore, David concluded that God had a favorable disposition toward him and his heart was prompting him to take a certain course of action that would result in the death of Saul rather than himself.
An aspect of David’s faith that was similar to that of Christians today was his ability to walk with the LORD. Even though he was not filled with the Holy Spirit, David communicated with God and was able to receive directions from him. David’s relationship with the LORD was not dependent on a prophet to speak for the LORD. The Psalms are examples of the types of conversations David had with his Heavenly Father. There was a two-way flow of information and David often prayed with the expectation that God would answer him. In light of David’s constant verbalization of his petitions, it is no wonder that David was aware of God’s involvement in his life. Whenever something happened, good or bad, David attributed the outcome to the LORD, Jehovah.
David’s understanding of the will of God was expressed in his statement, “This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30). David saw that God did things in such a way that it was always evident when he was at work. David’s picture of God’s will was perfection, or in the Hebrew, tamiym (taw-meem) which means to complete or accomplish something (H8549). David saw evidence of God’s work and concluded that he always finished what he started. It might have been easy for David to think that God had changed his mind about making him king when the years passed by and Saul remained on the throne, but David learned that God’s timing often required him to wait for the outcome he desired. Therefore, David knew that it was only a matter of time until Saul’s reign ended.
When David said that God’s way was perfect, he meant that over the course of his lifetime, he would see that everything God predicted or promised would happen, just as he said it would. God had a perfect track record. Together, David’s two statements, “his way is perfect” and “the word of the LORD proves true” meant that God would never disappoint him. As with some of our own experiences, David realized that God’s ways were not always easy or pleasant, but he was willing to submit to God’s plan because he had learned that God was able to decide what was best for him.
David declared, “It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.” (Psalm 18:32, NKJV). David’s statement about having strength and his way being perfect was connected to his relationship with God. In order for God to make David’s way perfect, he had to transfer some possession of his own to him. The Hebrew word translated way, derek means a road, or figuratively a course of life (H1870). “In another emphasis this word connotes how and what one does, a ‘manner, custom, behavior, mode of life.’” David’s behavior was like God’s in that he did God’s will rather than his own. David linked his own behavior to God’s with the two statements, “This God—his way is perfect” and “makes my way perfect” (Psalm 18:30, 32). Tamiym, the Hebrew word translated perfect, is derived from the word tamam which means to complete. “The basic meaning of this word is that of being complete or finished, with nothing else expected or intended” (H8552). With regards to David’s relationship with God, tamiym was probably meant to convey the idea of complete obedience. David did everything that God asked him to.
David used the image of a deer scaling a high mountain to depict the confidence he had in God’s protection. He said, “He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights” (Psalm 18:33). The Hebrew word that is translated heights, bamah (maw-mawˊ) “can be understood idiomatically for authority” (H1116). David was most likely implying that God had given him all the authority he needed to triumph over his enemies. It’s possible that David’s heights were associated with demonic forces. David did not speak directly of engaging in spiritual warfare, but often suggested that God’s deliverance was supernatural and transcended the realms of heaven and earth.
Another place where a similar passage is found is Habakkuk 3:19. He said, “God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.” Habakkuk’s declaration came at the end of his statement of faith in God’s provision. In the reference note on Habakkuk 3:18-19, it says, “Habakkuk has learned the lesson of faith (2:4)—to trust in God’s providence regardless of circumstances. He declares that even if God should send suffering and loss, he would still rejoice in his Savior-God—one of the strongest affirmations of faith in all Scripture. His book reflects the spiritual odyssey of every true believer—consternation with the injustice of life, consideration of God as sovereign and conclusion that God can and must be trusted.” It is likely that Habakkuk chose this passage from David’s psalm with the intention of connecting the two men’s circumstances. Evidently, Habakkuk expected to have his faith tried in the same way that David had. What could be the most important aspect of Habakkuk’s repetition of David’s words was his belief that God was sovereign over the difficult circumstances of life. With regards to spiritual warfare, Habakkuk reaffirmed the notion that high places represented the ultimate victory; the believer’s victory over doubt and fear.
As a servant of God, David was expected to do extraordinary things that were beyond his human capabilities. David said of God, “He trains my hands to war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze” (Psalm 18:34). David used a metaphor to explain the supernatural strength he received from the LORD. The Hebrew term David used for war is derived from the word lacham (law-khamˊ) which can be used to describe hand-to-hand combat (H3898). The Apostle Paul often described spiritual warfare using terms that were similar to hand-to-hand combat, such as wrestling against principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:12) and beating the air (1 Corinthians 9:26). The bow of bronze David referred to was most likely meant to represent the hardened heart of the unbeliever. Therefore, David’s arms, which represented the seat of his strength, could have been his verbal testimony of faith in God. In the case of the giant Goliath, David’s declaration of victory before the battle had even begun (1 Samuel 17:46) was a sign of his faith, a testimony to his belief in the God that Goliath was defying.
David’s vast experience with warfare didn’t keep him from relying on the LORD for each of his victories. David credited his skills to the enabling power of God and said, “For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me” (Psalm 18:39). To be equipped with strength meant that David was equipped with the necessary weapons to fight his enemies effectively. The Apostle Paul described weapons that believers are expected to use in spiritual battles. Paul said, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Ephesians 6:13-14). Paul indicated that truth was similar to the belt that the LORD equipped David with for strength. The Greek word Paul used for truth, aletheuo (al-ayth-yooˊ-o) means to deal faithfully or tell the truth (G226). Aletheuo is derived from the word alethes (al-ay-thaceˊ) which means “true (as not concealing)” (G227). In that sense, you could say that David didn’t carry any concealed weapons; the entire disposition of his inner man was in full view.
David’s promotion to an exalted position in God’s kingdom required a transformation of his inner man. His dramatic leap from a shepherd boy to the king of Israel took David from a very private intimate relationship with the LORD to one that was observed by everyone, including believers today. Considering that there was probably no other person in the Old Testament that received as much attention as David did, except perhaps, Abraham, his transformation was a prominent aspect of Israel’s history. David described the end result of his transformation in Psalm 18:43, where he said, “You delivered me from strife with the people; you made me the head of the nations; people whom I had not known served me.”
David worshipped God like no other man in the Bible. His intimacy with the LORD was revealed in many of the Psalms he wrote. David said, “The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation” (Psalm 18:46). David’s declaration that the LORD lives implied that God was aware of what was going on in David’s life and could appropriately adjust his response to David’s circumstances in real time. God didn’t have a plan that was set in stone, but a defense that was unshakable. On two separate occasions, David was caught off guard by Saul’s sudden attack with a javelin, but God kept Saul’s spears from piercing David and both times he was able to slip away unharmed (1 Samuel 18:11; 19:10).
Satan’s primary objective is to keep us from doing God’s will. Satan influences his agents, our enemies, to do his work so that the plans and purposes of God will be interrupted. David said of God, “You exalted me about those who rose against me; you rescued me from the man of violence” (Psalm 18:48). David’s main concern was his adversary, King Saul, but the focus of his attention likely included overcoming the spiritual forces that wanted to deter him from being obedient to God’s will. The day to day struggles that David faced when he was being hunted by Saul were probably the greatest challenge of his life. The battle was just as real as, and perhaps even more dangerous than, his triumph over Goliath. The hardest part of David’s obedience was the ongoing need for him to say yes to God over and over, and over again; day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year.
The Hebrew word that is translated rescued, natsal (naw-tsalˊ) means to snatch away, whether in a good or a bad sense (H5337). A similar word that is used in the New Testament is harpazo (har-padˊ-zo) which means “to seize (in various applications)” (G726). This verb conveys the idea of force suddenly exercised. One of its most significant uses is in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 where Paul talked about the sudden coming of the Lord. He said, “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” The ultimate deliverance every believer will experience is a deliverance from life apart from God. While some people may view death as separation from their loved ones, those that have been saved know that death brings not only a reunion with our loved ones, but also unites us with our Lord, Jesus Christ. When David said, “You exalted me above those who rose against me” (Psalm 18:48), he may have been referring to his victory over sin and death. The Apostle Paul talked about the believer’s triumph over death in the context of a mystery. He said:
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-54)
In exchange for his deliverance, David promised to be a witness to what God had done for him among unbelievers. He said, “Therefore will I give thanks to you, O LORD, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name” (Psalm 18:49). The extensive definition of the term yadah (yaw-dawˊ) indicates that David was most likely speaking on behalf of the entire nation of Israel or congregation of believers when he gave thanks to God (H3034). David seemed to be focusing on the end result of not only his own deliverance, but also God’s deliverance of all mankind. In that sense, David was saying that his life would be a continual testimony, for many generations to come, of the great work that God had done to rescue him. It is still true today that David’s story has a great impact on people that read the Bible. Without David’s testimony, it would be much harder for unbelievers to understand God’s grace and mercy.
The importance of giving him thanks and celebrating God in music is evident in David’s declaration of praise to the LORD. David was a skilled musician and wrote many heartfelt hymns as a testimony to God’s deliverance throughout his life. The Hebrew term translated thanks, yadah literally means to use the hand (H3034). This word can be interpreted to mean both playing an instrument, as well as worshipping with the hand(s) extended toward heaven. David’s example of worship was never repeated by any of the kings or other leaders of God’s people. Clearly David’s passion for God was unsurpassed and his skill in communicating with the LORD was second only to Jesus.