lightning strike

Psalm 18 – Finding Shelter during Life’s Storms!

 April 17, 2018

“Don’t tell God how big your storm is, tell the storm how big your God is,” my friend, Marcy Keefe-Slager, once said. And well she knew about storms in her life. She survived breast cancer only to die from lung cancer many years later.

Here in Michigan, we have been hit by some late winter storms, bringing this statement to mind. It’s also appropriate for today’s psalm where God appears in a thunderstorm.

Psalm 18

This is a long psalm. Two psalms joined together, verses 1-30 is an individual thanksgiving hymn, whereas verses 31-50 is a royal psalm of a king who has won victory in battle.

Our psalm starts out with words of praise of God, “I love you, Lord, my strength, Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. . . I have been delivered from my enemies.” (1-3) God is seen as the “rock” – strong, reliable, a natural symbol of strength and safety. God is also a shield. The writer praises God for delivering him from his enemies.

He goes on to talk about his troubles in vs. 4-6. He called upon God and God heard – death surged around him; menacing floods terrified him; cords of Sheol tightened around him. He was in the throws of death and God heard and saved him.

God in the Storm

Verses 7-15 recount God’s response in the form of a theophany – God’s great power in nature. They provide a powerful description of God’s majesty, grandeur and power through the image of a storm, earthquake, thunder, lightning, hail. In the midst of this storm, God reaches down and saves the writer as we hear in vs. 16-17. God brought him to a safe place (19).

The psalm then shifts to speaking about how God rewarded him because of his righteousness (20-24). The writer points to how God deals with others: how God is loyal to those who are loyal to him, blameless with the blameless, pure with the pure, crooked with the crooked (25-30).

God delivers a humble people but brings down the haughty – a common theme in Scripture (27). God lights our darkness (28), in contrast to the darkness of God in vs. 9. With God all things are possible, the weak are strong, with God “I can leap over a wall,” “I can crush a troop.” (29) The first half of the psalm concludes with statement that God’s ways are perfect, God’s promises true – “he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.” (30)

The second half of the psalm is the victory hymn of a king.  He has proven victorious in battle, has overcome his enemies so that now all nations are subject to him.

Whatever peril the writer was facing, it was perceived as huge on his part. It was life-threatening, thereby requiring a mighty act of salvation on the part of God who appears in all of his power and majesty.

What Does the Psalm Say to Us?

With all of the natural disasters that occur in the world, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and ice storms, this is an apt and timely description of God. Storms can be terrifying and awe-inspiring at the same time, reminding us of God’s awesome power.

In our psalm God rescues the just from the storm. There is clearly a problem with this, though, for we know that natural disasters strike the just and the unjust. There is no guarantee of safety amidst a storm. Natural disasters are not God’s punishment for sins, though there were those who believed this in Old Testament times and even today. They just happen. So what is this psalm saying to us today?

God will use anything and everything to reach his people, including storms.

Present Day Storms

What are some of the storms in your life? Perhaps you are dealing with the storm of cancer or another life-threatening illness for yourself or a loved one. Perhaps you are facing a financial storm brought on by a sudden, unexpected job loss. Perhaps you or a loved one are dealing with the aftermath of a storm in nature. Or perhaps you are dealing with a spiritual storm or darkness.

Psalm 18 speaks of how God came down from heaven riding on a cloud of darkness, “He bowed the heavens, and came down; thick darkness was under his feet.” (9) God made darkness his secret hiding place, “He made darkness his covering around him, his canopy thick clouds dark with water.” (11) If so, perhaps God has called us to this place to speak to us. What we call darkness may very well be the overwhelming light of God that appears as darkness to us with limited vision. Perhaps you are overwhelmed with grief and thus called into the darkness of grief where God may be waiting to whisper to you.

God, a Shelter during the Storms in our Life

The rain raineth on the just and the unjust alike. None of us get through this life without encountering some storms. But for those of us who believe, there is salvation, there is safety, shelter in the times of storm. The shape of that salvation may not take the form of worldly goods, health or wealth. It is better than that. It is life everlasting with Jesus in heaven.

So whatever storms might be blowing about in your life, don’t tell God. God already knows. Instead, tell the storm how big your God is. God is master of the storm, he rides the winds of the storms, he controls the seas and the depths of the earth, and he will rescue all who call upon him. He truly is a shelter in a time of storm.

What storms are you encountering? How has God helped you weather the storms in your life? I would love to hear from you!

This post is part of a series of blog posts on the Psalms. Sign up to follow this blog and receive a free copy of  Dancing on a High Wire the first book in my Dancing through Life Series.      click here to sign up

(Please note – in order to help ensure you receive email with link to new book, please add my email, to your contact list. Some servers are quick to send newsletters to spam or other boxes.)




Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.