God is Alive and Well!

Psalm 18

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 18


Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.


Peter got out of the boat. He walked on the sea towards Jesus. But then Peter saw that the sea was very angry. Peter became very frightened. He began to fall into the water. He shouted, "Save me, Lord". Immediately, Jesus put out his hand. He held on to Peter. They both climbed into the boat. The storm came to an end. (Part of Matthew 14:29-32.)

The story of Psalm 18

This is a very special psalm. It is so special that you will find it in 2 places in the Bible. It is here in the Book of Psalms. It is also in a part of the Bible that we call the Book of Samuel. Samuel is in 2 parts. I Samuel tells the story of David before he became king of Israel. 2 Samuel tells us the story of David after he became king. 1 Samuel also tells us about the lives of Samuel the prophet and Saul the king. Why is Psalm 18 in the Book of Samuel? (2 Samuel 22) Because it is David's own story of his life. Here we have put it in 6 parts. This gives help to everyone that reads it. It is like 6 different psalms. We can study it like that. But we must read the whole psalm to understand the life of David.. That is why it is also in 2 Samuel. The title (in brackets) of each part is not in the Hebrew Bible.

Psalm 18

  (This is) for the music leader. 
(It is) for the servant of the LORD.
(It is) for David.
David spoke the words of this song.
David did this when the LORD saved David from his enemies.
Also, when the LORD saved David from Saul.

(Part 1: God is a Rock for David)

v1   I will love you, LORD.
  In you I am strong.

v2   The LORD is my rock and my fortress.
  He gives me help.
  God is my rock.
  I run and hide in his shadow.
  He is my shield.
  He is the one that saves me.
  He is my high tower.

v3   The LORD is someone that I must praise.
  He will save me from my enemies.

(Part 2: David asks for help)

v4   Death was all round me.
  God's enemies were following me.

v5   Sheol was tying me down.
  Death was catching me.

v6   In my trouble I prayed to the LORD.
  I shouted to my God for help.
  He heard my voice from his temple.
  My words went into his ears.

(Part 3: God answers David)

v7   So, the earth moved and shook.
  The foundations of the mountains shook.
  They moved because God was angry.

v8   Smoke rose from his nose.
  Burning fire came from his mouth.
  Burning coals shot out from him.

v9   God opened the heavens and came down.
  Dark clouds were under his feet.

v10   He sat on a cherub and he flew.
  God flew in the arms of the wind.

v11   God covered himself with darkness.
  He was in the dark waters and clouds in the skies.

v12   It was very bright where God was.
  Out of the clouds came hail and lightning.

v13   The LORD sent thunder from the heavens.
  People heard the voice of the Most High.
  There was hail and there was lightning.

v14   (The LORD) shot his arrows (of lightning).
  He made his enemies very frightened.
  He sent a lot of lightning and he beat his enemies.

v15   People saw how deep the sea was.
  They saw the foundations of the earth.
  This was because God blew on them through his nose.

v16   (The LORD) came down to me. He held me.
  He took me out from deep waters.

v17   He saved me from my powerful enemy.
  He saved me from people that hated me.
  They were too strong for me.

v18   It was a bad day for me when I met them.
  But the LORD gave me help.

v19   He led me out to a wide place.
  He saved me because he found pleasure in me.

(Part 4: Why God gives help to people)

v20 - v21   The LORD did this because:
  - I am righteous
  - my hands are clean
  - I obeyed the rules of the LORD
  - I did no evil
  - I did not turn away from God

v22   Really, all his rules are in front of me.
  I did not turn away from them

v23   I did nothing wrong before him.
  I did no sin.

v24   (The LORD) made me righteous.
  My hands are clean when he looks at me.

v25   To people that are kind, you (God) are kind.
  To people that do nothing wrong, you do nothing wrong.

v26   To people that are clean, you are clean.
  To people that turn away from you, you turn away from them.

v27   You will save humble people.
  You will not save people unless they are humble.

(Part 5: Everything that David owns comes from God)

v28   LORD, you make my light burn brightly.
  My God is my light in the dark.

v29   Really, in you I run up to a troop (of soldiers).
  In my God I can jump over a wall.

v30   The way of God is perfect.
  The word of the LORD is true.
  He is a shield for everyone that hides in him.

v31   Because who is God? Only the LORD!
  Who is a rock? Only our God!

v32   It is in God that I am strong.
  He makes my way perfect.

v33   He makes my feet like the feet of a goat.
  I do not fall on the hills.

v34   He teaches my hands to fight.
  My arms can bend a metal bow.

v35   (God) you made me into a winner.
  You bent down (to earth). You made me great.

v36   You made me take long steps.
  My ankles did not turn.

v37   I ran after my enemies. I caught them.
  I did not turn back until I had killed them.

v38   I knocked them down. They did not get up again.
  They fell beneath my feet.

v39   You made me strong for fighting.
  You made my enemies bend in front of me.

v40   You gave their necks to me.
  I destroyed my enemies.

v41   They cried for help but nobody saved them.
  They cried to the LORD but he did not answer.

v42   I cut them into small pieces in the wind.
  I put them on the streets as sand.

(Part 6: God made David king)

v43   You saved me from the people that attacked me.
  You made me the leader of the nations.
  I even rule people that I do not know.

v44   When they hear about me they obey me.
  Foreign people are afraid of me.

v45   They will not fight me.
  They do not hide in their fortresses.

v46   The LORD is alive. Praise my Rock.
  Lift high the God that saves me.

v47   He is the God that fights for me.
  He makes the nations obey me.

v48   He saves me from my enemies.
  You lifted me above those enemies.
  You saved me from angry men.

v49   LORD, I will praise you in all the nations.
  I will praise your name with songs.

v50   (The LORD) will give his king great power.
  He will always show kindness to his Messiah, to David.
  He will show kindness to his children.

Word list

tower ~ a high part of a fortress

shook ~ moved from side to side very fast

cherub ~ a servant of God that we cannot see: an angel

hail ~ rain made of ice

lightning ~ bright line of light in the sky in a storm

held ~ past tense of hold; fasten your hand on something

humble ~ people who think that they are not important

troop ~ a group of soldiers

perfect ~ as good as possible

What Psalm 18 means

Psalm 18 describes in pictures how God works. David did not see God. David only saw how God gave him help. Here are some examples:

    David called God a rock. God was not really a rock. But when David needed help, God led David to a rock. David hid from his enemies behind the rock. So, David thought that God and the rock did the same job. When David saw a rock he remembered God! Can you think of other ways that rocks make us remember God?

    God sent a bad storm to the enemies of David. There was rain, wind, clouds, hail, thunder and lightning. To David God was in the storm. God was enjoying it. The thunder was like God speaking. The storm obeyed God and it destroyed the enemies of David. So, when David saw a storm he remembered God. Can you think of another storm that obeyed God?

    When David ran in the hills he did not fall. He was as good as a wild animal. His feet were like the feet of a goat. Really the animal in the psalm was a deer. A deer is like a small cow. It runs very fast and does not fall. David believed that God gave him feet as good as the feet of the deer. You will find other examples in the psalm. Make your own list. Put on it examples from other psalms. Put on it everything that makes you remember God.

God is a Rock for David

Verse 2: David calls God many different names to show what God is like. David hid from his enemies in the woods and fields and hills. He hid behind rocks and on the tops of hills. They were like fortresses. They were like the high towers that soldiers made. David said that they were like the shields that soldiers hid behind. They all made David remember God.

David asks for Help

Verses 4 5: David had many enemies. There was Saul and the friends of Goliath and Cush. (You can read about Cush in Psalm 7.) There were many others, even David's own son Absalom. They all wanted to kill David. This made David feel like a drowning man. He thought that he would soon be in Sheol. So he asked God for help.

God answers David

Verse 7: God gave David help by sending an earthquake. This is when the earth moves and breaks. Buildings fall down.

Verses 8 14: God gave David help by sending a great storm. The home of God is in heaven. The Jews believed that heaven was above the sky. David thought that the storm was God coming down to earth. God made people afraid.

Verse 15: The earthquake and the storm were so bad that people saw:

    under the mountains

    under the sea

Verses 16 19: God used earthquakes and storms to give help to David. God saved David from danger. God put David in a safe place.

Why God gives Help to his People

Verse 24: This is the most important part of the psalm for Christians. What happens when we become Christians? Psalm 18:24 tells us. God makes us righteous. This means that we are clean when God looks at us and that we are his friends as well. See below, after 'Something to do'.

Verses 20 23: When we are Christians we must become like this. God sees that we are clean. Now we must show everybody else.

Everything that David has comes from God

Verse 29: The wall is probably the wall of Jerusalem. David and his soldiers fought the troop inside Jerusalem. David won.

Verse 34: David was very strong to bend a metal bow.

Verse 36: This is because David has feet that can run like a wild animal.

Verse 40: Hundreds of years ago, men put their feet on the necks of people that they beat.

God made David King

Verse 50: Messiah in the psalm means David. To Christians it means Jesus. Nathan told David that God would always be kind to David and to his children. Nathan was a prophet like Samuel. David's children were the kings that came later. The last one was (and still is) Jesus.

Something to do

1.  How many names for God can you find in Psalm 18?

2.  Study Psalm 18:20-27. Why does God turn away some people?

3.  Remember the words of Jesus: Not everyone that calls me Lord will go to heaven. Only those that obey my Father (God). (Matthew 7:21)


This is a difficult word to understand. In the Bible it means 4 things. The context usually tells us what it means. The context is the verses before and after it in the Bible.

Here are the 4 things that it means:

1.  It tells us about God. It means that he has never done anything that is wrong. He has never broken his own rules. He has always done what is right.

2.  Even though only God is really righteous, he calls his friends righteous. It does not mean that they are good. It means that they have asked God to forgive them. The word "forgive" means "to give away". God gives away all the sin of the people that he forgives to Jesus. Jesus takes it away. This happened when Jesus died on the Cross at Calvary. By some strange way that we cannot understand, Jesus took our sins away. Our sins are the things that we do that are wrong, the things that we do that do not obey God's rules. When Jesus died, he took away the sins of the people that lived before him and that lived after him. That includes us ... if we ask!

3.  The people that God forgives usually try to obey God. They do what he tells them to do. This is also called "being righteous" in the Bible. When they fail, they pray again, "God, forgive me". God will always forgive us when we ask him.

4.  In the Old Testament, the Jews tried to obey the TORAH. This was all the rules in the Old Testament. Most of them were in the first 5 books of the Bible. The Jews called them the Torah. Later, other books like Isaiah and Jeremiah were also called Torah. Jews that kept these rules were called "righteous". This meaning of the word is not important for Christians today. They are righteous for reasons 2 and 3.

Righteous people have what the Bible calls RIGHTEOUSNESS. It means that they have asked God to forgive them. It does not mean that they are very good. It means that they are friends of Jesus, because they have asked him to take away their sin.


2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

January 2001

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