My Rock, Fortress, Deliverer – Psalm 18

Written on: April 29, 2024

Article by: Thayer Salisbury

How can we feel sure of our situation with God? How can we even understand God’s will? How can we be sure that we will be delivered from destruction or temptation?

We know that others have fallen away. How can we know that this will not happen to us? We are warned in 1 Corinthians 9:27 to discipline ourselves lest we fall away. Is that in the Bible – so that we will live in constant uncertainly?

We know more about the setting for this Psalm than we know about most Psalms, but still not as much as we might like to know. The Psalm appears also in 2 Samuel 22. The context in which it is given there seems to indicate that this was a song David used on an occasion, or more likely on various occasions, when God delivered him from enemies.

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The assurance expressed here may have been mainly assurance that God will save the faithful king in battle, but it is not inappropriate to apply it to our battle with sin and spiritual death.


Assurance is decidedly not trust in ourselves. It is the humble that are saved.

“With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; 26 with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. 27 For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down” (25-27).

This reminds us of Paul’s statement, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall (1 Cor. 10:12).

The assurance expressed here is nothing other than trust in God.

Assurance of direction

Trust in God gives assurance of direction. The one trusting the Lord is not fearful of stumbling the wrong direction “For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness” (28). That does not mean that the decisions will always be clear to the person who trusts God, but that God will make it sufficiently clear that we can avoid disastrous and sinful decisions. It is similar to the promise of Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Assurance of safety

Trust in God also gives assurance of safety.

For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. 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” (29-30).

Of course, God’s idea of safety and our idea of safety may be different. Josiah is told in 2 Kings 22:20, “Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.” Yet, in fact, Josiah died in battle. He died in battle never having to see the disaster that God brought on Jerusalem. Thus he died with peace of mind although in the midst of battle.

Assurance of holiness

Trust in God gives assurance of holiness. We cannot keep ourselves from sin, but we can be kept from sin.

“For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?— 32 the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. 33 He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights” (31-33).

Or, as Philippians 2:12-13 tells us, we can work out our salvation because it is God who works in us.

Some of us trust ourselves too much. We make investments, or work on our car, when we really should hand the matter over to an expert. But we can trust God with everything. We should trust him far more than we trust ourselves. That is the way to assurance.