Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 29th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 18

The Church Pulpit CommentaryChurch Pulpit Commentary

Verse 28


‘The Lord my God shall make my darkness to be light.’

Psalms 18:28 (Prayer Book Version)

There are three dark shadows which fall across every human life.

I. There is, first of all, the shadow of sin.—It falls dark and thick upon the life of human beings. Sin is the transgression in will or in fact of the eternal moral law, of that law which, unlike the law of nature, could not be other than what it is, unless God could be other than what He is, of that law which is not an arbitrary enactment of His will, but the outflow of the expression of His very being. Sin thus is the contradiction of God, the resistance of the created will to the will of the Creator. And this resistance means darkness, not in the sky above our heads, but, far worse, darkness in the moral nature, darkness in the moral intelligence, darkness at the centre of the soul.

II. The shadow of pain.—As the races and generations pass, whatever else may distinguish them from each other, whatever else they may have in common, they pass each and all, sooner or later, under the weird shadow of pain. How to deal with pain, how to alleviate it, how to do away with it—these have been questions which men have discussed for thousands of years; and anodynes there are, such as they are, for pains of body and pains of mind, anodynes of very varying moral worth, but of which this much must be said, that they do but at most curtail the fringe of the great realm of pain.

III. The shadow of death.—The thought that death must come at last casts over thousands of lives a deep gloom. There is the uncertainty of the time and manner of its approach; there is the unimaginable experience of what in itself it will be; there is the dread of what may or may not follow it.

Sin, pain, death—these are the three shadows that fall across the life of men in this day of preparation for the great future; and that our Lord makes these dark shadows to be light is the experience in all ages of thousands of Christians. Only a robust faith in the unseen, only the faith of our Lord and God, can relieve the human heart when face to face with these solemn and irremovable conditions of our human life. So long as they last, the religion of the Crucified will last too.

—Canon Liddon.


(1) ‘This is one of the most sublime and beautiful of David’s psalms. It was probably written after his great wars were over, and tells the story of his great distress and the manner in which Jehovah interposed for his relief, from which, in Psalms 18:20, he proceeds to lay down the general principles of the Divine government.’

(2) ‘The Psalms have epic and even dramatic fragments as well as lyrical. The eighteenth psalm has something of the epic; the nineteenth is very nobly lyrical. The eighteenth is the revelation of God in history; the nineteenth in nature and the law.’

Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 18". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/psalms-18.html. 1876.
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