************ Wedding Sermon on Psalm 18:1-3 ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This wedding sermon was preached on June 18, 2010

(Psalm 18:1-3) I love you, O LORD, my strength. (2) The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (3) I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.

Tom Anker & McKenzye Ashford:
Quite often, when reading the psalms, we fail to read the heading that appears at the top of most psalms. Listen to the heading of Psalm 18:
For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.
We need to take note of three things in this heading. First, it is "For the director of music." In other words, it is meant for public worship. Second, these are the words of "The servant of the Lord, David." The heading in our English Bible is backwards. The emphasis falls on "servant," not on "David." Meaning what? Meaning that the composer is someone who first of all seeks to do God's will. Third, these words celebrate God's deliverance from the hand of King Saul and other enemies as we find it in 1 & 2 Samuel.

You probably don't realize this, but Psalm 18 is the second time we see the words of David that are in front of us. The first time is in 2 Samuel 22. However, the words have been slightly altered and revised to make them more suitable for public worship.

Throughout the Psalm, David celebrates the salvation of God using different images. Verse 8 - the trembling of mountains. Verse 10 - the Lord rides a cherub and comes swooping down to aid. Verse 12 - storms are sent to deliver. Verse 14 - God shoots great bolts of lightning from heaven and routs the enemies. Verse 15 - the depths of the sea are exposed.

However, when we read through 1 & 2 Samuel it wasn't like that at all! No cherubs, no storms, no lightning, no exposure of depths. Instead, God used a raid by the Philistines (1 Sam 23:26f), the wildness of the terrain (1 Sam 24), Saul's conscience (1 Sam 24,26), and even flight (1 Sam 27) to provide rescue.

Why this seeming contrast between the images of the psalm and what actually happened? Why this disconnect between the events of 1 & 2 Samuel and what is written in Psalm 18? Because when David looked back on what happened, he saw that the God Who saved him was the same God Who shook the mountains at Sinai with thunder and lightning, Who sent hail upon Egypt, and Who parted the Red Sea. Whether it was Israel in Egypt or David in the Promised Land, it is the same Lord Who provides rescue and deliverance.

McKenzye, you asked for something on this stage that has been asked for by no other bride. You asked for this huge, giant cross. Tom, I assume you are in agreement. I love it. I wish every bride would ask for this. Because the cross helps to explain why you selected Psalm 18. Like David, you are using Psalm 18 to celebrate God's salvation. In other words, the God Who rescued Israel from Egypt and David from Saul, is the same God Who rescues you from your sin. That's what you are declaring by asking for the cross and selecting Psalm 18.

Tom & McKenzye, my prayer is that in your marriage you will continually celebrate the cross and God's salvation.

In looking at the specific verses you selected, I would like to go backwards, starting with verse 3, moving to verse 2, and ending with verse 1. The setting of the psalm is that King Saul hated David and wanted to kill David. What did David do in such circumstances? Listen to verse 3:
(Ps 18:3) I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.
David called upon the LORD. He prayed. Because God always hears the cries of His people when they call out to Him for mercy. Don't ever neglect to ask God to have mercy on you a sinner. Don't ever neglect to confess your sin and claim His salvation.

Now, listen carefully to the language of salvation in verse 2:
(Ps 18:2) The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Lots of images here. Lots of images that sent me pouring through 1 & 2 Samuel. As I already said, King Saul hated David and wanted to kill David. So David hid in the cave of Adullam (1 Sam 22). Another time, David and his men took refuge in the Crags of the Wild Goats (1 Sam 24). Yet, by hindsight, David realized it was always the Lord Who was his rock and his refuge. Yes, God's glory and strength may have been concealed behind the dark veil of desperate circumstances, but it was still the Lord Who was in control and it was the Lord Who delivered him.

Now, with all this in mind, listen to how David starts the Psalm in verse 1. "I love you, O LORD, my strength." Tom & McKenzye, it is not enough in a Christian marriage to love one another. You must first of all love the Lord. Isn't this the first and great commandment? Aren't we commanded to love God first and then to love one another? God has saved you. God has redeemed you. Look at the cross! So, in your marriage love the LORD! Read His Word, Pray together. Faithfully attend worship. Sing His praises. Rejoice together and with others in His salvation.

With this in mind, I invite the congregation to sing PH # 486, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing."
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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