The Retrospect of a Life: a Sermon for the Close of the Year
Psalm 18:1-50
I will love you, O LORD, my strength.…

In this magnificent hymn the royal poet sketches in a few grand outlines the history of his life. By God's help he had subdued every enemy, and now, in middle life, looking back with devout thankfulness on the past, he sings this great song of praise to the God of his life. Divisions of the psalm:

1. The introduction, setting forth all that Jehovah is to David (vers. 1-3).

2. The record of David's sufferings and peril, and the mighty deliverance by which he was rescued (vers. 4-19).

3. The reason for this deliverance, in the character of God and the principles of his government (vers. 20-30).

4. The blessings which David had received in his life; his own preservation and that of his race; help and strength in battle, rule over all enemies (vers. 31-45).

5. Joyful thanksgiving and acknowledgment of all God's mercies (vers. 46-50). The general subject of the psalm is - The retrospect of a life. The interest of such a retrospect depends on the following conditions: -

I. WHETHER A MAN HAS HAD A HISTORY OR NOT. (Ver. 43.) Anything to distinguish his life from the uneventful lives of the myriads who are born, pass through life, and die, and leave no trace behind them. But Moses and David, Paul and others, gave birth to history, and have mingled in the greatest affairs of a nation and of the world, and have much to think of and celebrate when they look hack. So of modern great men. They animated and created their opportunities. Have we made our lives in any way worth looking back upon? Domestic history. Thinkers as well as actors make history. What Christ has done.

II. WHETHER A MAN HAS SEEN GOD IN HIS LIFE OR NOT. (Vers. 19, 29, 32, 39.) To most men God has been only remotely related to their lives - a power at the back of things generally, but not occupying every single event and experience of their existence. To David and all the great saints of the world, God was everything and everywhere in his life. God had anointed him for every work and every office; and every event was a manifestation of his love and righteousness and power. The consciousness of such a past is very grand and elevating. Our life is rich or poor accordingly. Sense of God in common life and duties.

III. WHETHER THE LIFE HAS BEEN RIGHTEOUS OR WICKED. (Ver. 20.) We turn our eyes from a life that has been ill spent, and are filled with reproach and sorrow. If we know that we have lived a wicked life, we know that we are unworthy and guilty, and are self-condemned. Whether David wrote this psalm before or after his sin with Bathsheba, we cannot say; but he affirms his righteousness in the most emphatic way. "He has kept the ways of the Lord, and has not wickedly departed from him." Such a retrospect is full of deep power and sense of triumph.

IV. WHETHER A MAN HAS ACHIEVED HIS OBJECTS OR NOT. (Vers. 37, 38, 48.) David was a king, and had been in many wars and troubles; but he had, through God, triumphed over all his difficulties and foes. How many of us fail, or only partly succeed, in the things we aim at, because we have been profane and faithless!

V. WHETHER WE HAVE A FUTURE TO ANTICIPATE, AS WELL AS A PAST TO REMEMBER. To some the past is all; they have no future. But David had a bright future as well as a glorious past. "In thy presence is fulness of joy," etc. - S.

Parallel Verses
KJV: {To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said,} I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.

WEB: I love you, Yahweh, my strength.

The Conqueror's Song of Praise and Hope
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