What I Learned from Psalm 18

At least three book titles of books that I have read and enjoyed come from this psalm: Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle, The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth Speare, and Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard.

Many Waters is a retelling of the story of Noah from the Bible. Ms. L’Engle takes quite a few liberties with the Biblical text, weaving it into her own story of time travel and a young girl’s coming of age in a time of cataclysmic change. Although the book quotes Song of Solomon several times in reference to the theme of the story, I think Psalm 18:16 is applicable, too.

“Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it. If a man were to give all his wealth for love, it would be utterly scorned.” Song of Solomon 8:7.

“He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.” Psalm 18:16.

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth Speare won the Newbery Award in 1962. The story takes place in first century Palestine in the time of Christ. Her title comes from verse 34 of Psalm 18, and the young people in the novel use the Bronze Bow as a symbol and sign for their friendship and their united hatred for the Romans who occupy the land.

God is my strong refuge, and has made my way safe.
He made my feet like hinds’ feet, and set me secure on the heights.
He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze
. Psalm 18:32-34.

“It couldn’t really be bronze,” said Daniel, puzzled. “THe Strongest man could not bend a bow of bronze.”
“Perhaps just the tips were metal,” Joel suggested.
“No,” Thacia spoke. “I think it was really bronze. I think David meant a bow that a man couldn’t bend–that when God strengthns us we can do something that seems impossible.”

Later, in the book Daniel is called upon to give up his soul-killing bitterness against the Romans and accept the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Daniel finds this task just about as impossible as bending a bronze bow. He wonders, “Was it possible that only love could bend the bow of bronze?”

Hind’s Feet on High Places is a more allegorical story, in the style of Pilgrim’s Progress, of a girl, Much-Afraid, who goes on a journey to reach the high places of the Shepherd. Sorrow and Suffering are her guides, and at the end of the book Much-Afraid receives a new name, Grace-and-Glory.

“The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.” Habakkuk 3:19

He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. Psalm 18:33.

Psalm 18 has also been the inspiration for several songs and choruses. My pastor posted one on youtube and on his blog, Wide Open Spaces by a group called Clear. The song uses mostly these verses from the psalm:

He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.
And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.
The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.
Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.
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.
He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.
They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.
He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

Psalm 18:9-19

Then, there’s this song which uses two verses from Psalm 18:

I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. Psalm 18:3.

The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. Psalm 18:46.

What I learned: God is my strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my shield, my salvation, my stronghold. He pulls me out of the deep waters, delivers me from my enemies, enlightens me in my darkness, rewards me, strengthens me, arms me, makes my way perfect, lifts me up, shows mercy to me. Blessed be the name of the LORD.

2 thoughts on “What I Learned from Psalm 18

  1. I love your inclusion of The Bronze Bow and Hind’s Feet On High Places in this post. Those are two of my childhood favorites!

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