Psalm Chapter 17
King David knew much trouble in his life, at first from his God-appointed rise to king (e.g. see The Civil War), thereafter sometimes due to his own human imperfection (e.g. see Bathsheba), sometimes due to power struggles within his own family (e.g. see Absalom and Tamar and Amnon), but regardless of when or how, David's heart never strayed from The Lord. The psalms of David are prayers of a true man of God.
"A Prayer of David.
Hear a just cause, O Lord [see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD]; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit! From thee let my vindication come! Let thy eyes see the right!
If Thou triest my heart [see A Pure Heart], if Thou visitest me by night, if Thou testest me [see No Pain, No Gain], Thou wilt find no wickedness in me; my mouth does not transgress. With regard to the works of men, by the word of Thy lips I have avoided the ways of the violent. My steps have held fast to Thy paths, my feet have not slipped.
I call upon Thee, for Thou wilt answer me, O God; incline Thy ear to me, hear my words. Wondrously show Thy steadfast love, O Savior [see Israelite Monarchy - The Messiah; also Christ The Creator and The God Of The Old Testament] of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at Thy right hand. Keep me as the Apple Of The Eye; hide me in the shadow of Thy wings, from the wicked who despoil me, my deadly enemies who surround me.
They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly [see The Two Kinds Of Pride]. They track me down; now they surround me; they set their eyes to cast me to the ground. They are like a lion eager to tear, as a young lion lurking in Ambush.
Arise, O Lord! confront them, overthrow them! Deliver my life from the wicked by Thy sword [see also Strong Is He Who Has Come Down], from men by Thy hand, O Lord, from men whose portion in life is of the world. May their belly be filled with what Thou hast stored up for them; may their children have more than enough; may they leave something over to their babes. As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; when I awake [see the Fact Finder question below], I shall be satisfied with beholding thy form." (Psalm 17:1-15 RSV)
Psalm Chapter 18
When David was in trouble, he prayed for help (e.g. Psalm 17 above). When David was delivered, he prayed thanksgiving.
"To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David the servant of The Lord, who addressed the words of this song to The Lord on the day when The Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul [see also Israelite Monarchy - The Origin].
He said: I love Thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock [to understand who the "Rock" is, see Why Did Christ Put Moses To Death?], and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon The Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
The cords of death encompassed me, the torrents of perdition assailed me; the cords of Sheol [see Sheol and Hades] entangled me, the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon The Lord; to my God I cried for help. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry to Him reached His ears.
Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations [see also The Lord's Plumb Line] also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because He was angry. Smoke went up from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from Him. He bowed the heavens [see Heavens Below, Heavens Above], and came down; thick darkness was under His feet. He rode on a cherub, and flew; He came swiftly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His covering around Him, His canopy thick clouds [see also The Clouds of Heaven] dark with water. Out of the brightness before Him there broke through His clouds hailstones and coals of fire. The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire. And He sent out His arrows, and scattered them; He flashed forth lightnings, and routed them. Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare, at Thy rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of Thy nostrils [see The Spirit Of God]. He reached from on high, He took me, He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me. They came upon me in the day of my calamity; but The Lord was my stay. He brought me forth into a broad place; He delivered me, because he delighted in me.
The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of The Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His ordinances were before me, and His statutes I did not put away from me. I was blameless before Him, and I kept myself from guilt. Therefore The Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.
With the loyal Thou dost show Thyself loyal; with the blameless man Thou dost show Thyself blameless; with the pure Thou dost show Thyself pure; and with the crooked Thou dost show Thyself perverse. For Thou dost deliver a humble people; but the haughty eyes Thou dost bring down. Yea, Thou dost light my lamp [see The Light Of Life]; The Lord my God lightens my Darkness. Yea, by thee I can crush a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God - His way is perfect; the promise of The Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but The Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? - the God who girded me with strength, and made my way safe. He made my feet like hinds' feet, and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war [see Christ the Conqueror For Peace and The Coming World Dictator], so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. Thou hast given me the shield of thy salvation, and thy right hand supported me, and thy help made me great. Thou didst give a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.
I pursued my enemies and overtook them; and did not turn back till they were consumed. I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise; they fell under my feet. For Thou didst gird me with strength for the battle; Thou didst make my assailants sink under me. Thou didst make my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed. They cried for help, but there was none to save, they cried to The Lord, but He did not answer them. I beat them fine as dust before the wind; I cast them out like the mire of the streets.
Thou didst deliver me from strife with the peoples; Thou didst make me the head of the nations [see The United Kingdom]; people whom I had not known served me. As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me; foreigners came cringing to me. Foreigners lost heart, and came trembling out of their fastnesses.
The Lord lives; and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation, the God who gave me vengeance and subdued peoples under me; who delivered me from my enemies; yea, thou didst exalt me above my adversaries; Thou didst deliver me from men of violence. For this I will extol thee, O Lord, among the nations, and sing praises to Thy name [see Thou shalt not take The Lord's Name in vain]. Great triumphs He gives to his king, and shows steadfast love to His anointed, to David and his descendants for ever." (Psalm 18:1-50 RSV)
Psalm Chapter 19
Although some scientists arrogantly and foolishly refuse to acknowledge The First Scientist, The Lord is the Creator of the Cosmos "and the firmament proclaims His handiwork."
"To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
The heavens are telling the glory of God [see also Hydrogen]; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork. Day to day [see Do We Have The Original Calendar?] pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tent for the sun, which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and there is nothing hid from its heat. The law of The Lord is perfect [see Timeless; also How Old Is God?], reviving the soul [see Where Is Your Soul?]; the testimony [see Covenant and Testament] of The Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of The Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of The Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of The Lord is clean, enduring for ever; the ordinances of The Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern His errors? Clear Thou me from hidden faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." (Psalm 19:1-14 RSV)
Psalm Chapter 20
The City of David was founded long before David because "Zion" (see link below) is a purpose, not merely a place.
"To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
The Lord answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you! May He send you help from the Sanctuary, and give you support from Zion! [see Who, What or Where Is Zion?] May He remember all your offerings, and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! [Selah]
May He grant you your heart's desire, and fulfil all your plans! May we shout for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May The Lord fulfil all your petitions!
Now I know that The Lord will help His anointed [see also The Anointed One]; He will answer him from His holy heaven [see also The Throne Of God, From Heaven To Earth] with mighty victories by His right hand. Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the Name of The Lord our God. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright.
Give victory to the king, O Lord; answer us when we call." (Psalm 20:1-9 RSV)
Psalm Chapter 21
Another prayer of thanksgiving for the victory given to His servant.
"To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
In Thy strength the king rejoices, O Lord; and in Thy help how greatly he exults! Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withheld the request of his lips. [Selah]
For Thou dost meet him with goodly blessings; Thou dost set a crown of fine gold upon his head. He asked life of Thee; Thou gavest it to him, length of days for ever and ever. His glory is great through Thy help; splendor and majesty Thou dost bestow upon him. Yea, Thou dost make him most blessed for ever; Thou dost make him glad with the joy of Thy presence. For the king trusts in The Lord; and through the steadfast love of the Most High [see also The Ancient of Days] he shall not be moved.
Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you. You will make them as a blazing oven when you appear. The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath; and fire will consume them. You will destroy their offspring from the earth, and their children from among the sons of men. If they plan evil against you, if they devise mischief, they will not succeed. For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bows.
Be exalted, O Lord, in thy strength! We will sing and praise thy power." (Psalm 21:1-13 RSV)
Fact Finder: (a) Did David go to "heaven" when he died? (b) What and when was David referring to when he said "I shall behold Thy face in righteousness when I awake" (Psalm 17:15 RSV)"?
(a) See Acts 2:29,34 and What Happens When You Die?
(b) See When Will You Be Judged?