Love

Michael Wilcock

Read: Psalm 18:1-19

I love you, O LORD. (v. 1)

“Love” is the next metaphor by which Herbert wants to describe prayer. It is a simple enough statement, and 19 verses of a psalm might seem a lot to read for a background to it. But the Hebrew word for “love” at the beginning of Psalm 18 is an unusually strong one, and sets in motion an unstoppable gush of gratitude for what the Lord has done for David. The psalm itself, and certainly this first part of it, is alive with highly colored picture language, earthquake and storm and fire and flood, and God Most High coming down “on the wings of the wind” to scatter his enemies (v. 10). The psalm’s introduction, the unusual little paragraph that precedes verse 1, has explained what all these metaphors stand for, and verses 17-19 repeat the explanation: God’s enemies are David’s enemies, and this is about the long years of David’s exile as an outlaw, a hunted man in peril of his life, being at last brought to a triumphant end. God has been in control throughout, and the whole experience will bring glory to him and immeasurable blessing to David.

So what is this psalm? From beginning to end, a prayer both to God and about God, and a prayer that breathes an enraptured love for God. The old hymn says that if you “count your blessings . . . it will surprise you what the Lord has done”; true enough, but here is something more than just surprise! —Michael Wilcock

Prayer: When I say “I love you, Lord,” I really mean it.