In this psalm King David does not request anything from HaShem. His prayer is a prayer of gratitude.
So says in the first verse,
Pasuq 1 : “A poem by David, when God saved him from the hands of his enemies, and from the hands of Shaul” (Saul, the first King of Israel, at one point chased David and tried to kill him).
I think this psalm, from the beginning, presents us with a great lesson. We all remember God in times of need. And we hardly remember to thank Him. Asking HaShem is very important, but we must also learn to recognize His help, His intervention and His protection when we are good, or if we were saved from a bad experience.
The next verse, Pasuq 2, is very special:
Hebrew ארחמך ה’ חזקי. King David says to his Creator, “I will love you for ever, HaShem, You give me my strength.”
There are several levels to relate to God. There are those who believe in Him, but rarely remember Him. Some people remember HaShem only when needed. Some, also remember HaShem to thank him. And there are those who believe in God all the time. Their connection with God is so real that they cannot stop seeing His intervention and His help in everything they do. And perceive His presence in everything that happens. They cannot stop thinking about God. This is what King David felt, prompting him to say to God: “I will love you for ever”. Similar to a son or a daughter who acknowledges all her parents did for him and says with deep love and appreciation” I love you dad; I love you mom”.
This is the level of connection with God that the King of Israel felt. David “saw” Hashem at all times, perceived that God loved him and protected him. That inspired David to reflect his love to His Creator.
David also says that Hashem is the one “Who gives him his strength.” Sometimes, what finally causes many great men to collapse, is a feeling of weariness or physical and emotional exhaustion. Even a strongest man, when he fights in many fronts at the same time, comes to a point where he says “I can no more”, “I have no more strength.” David, as explained in this Psalm, was very close to falling, collapsing from exhaustion. He wanted to stop running, and surrender, because he had no strength left. But in those moments of weariness he found out that his faith in God, i.e., knowing that HaShem is there, with Him, gave David back the energy he needed. That’s why he called HaShem חזקי, “my strength,” i.e., You renew my strength when I’m exhausted.
HaShem also granted David His protection. In a flood of poetic motifs, all related to protection, David says in
Pasuq 3: ה ‘סלעי ומצודתי ומפלטי אלי צורי אחסה בו מגיני וקרן ישעי משגבי.
“God, You are my rock” (behind which I found my protection), “You are my fortress” (where I hid from my enemies), “You are my savior” (You helped me to escape from my enemies), “You are my Almighty Protector “(You saved me working miracles),
“In You I found refuge”(You made me invisible in the eyes of those who persecuted me)”You are my shield “(You take care of me even when I do not ask you to do so, even when I do not perceive that I need Your protection).
The next metaphor, which was self evident at the time and geographical region of David haMelekh, requires a bit more explanation: קרן ישעי literally means, “You are the horn of my salvation.” To understand this motif, you have to imagine a fight between a buffalo and a lion. The lion is the king of the jungle, and he feeds on buffalo. For the buffalo there is one element that separates him from a certain dead, the only thing with which he is able to defend itself against the powerful predator: its horns. The horns are the buffalo’s salvation, its last line of defense. The enemies that are chasing David are numerous and powerful, voracious as lions. David is their prey. An easy and vulnerable prey. “A buffalo without horns”. But HaShem saves David from the claws and teeth of his enemies. He saves David like the horns save the buffalo.
The last word of this verse is משגבי, “You are my support.” David did not have to kneel defeated before his enemies. God not only saved the life of David, He also saved his dignity and his honor.
After enumerating in detail all that HaShem did for him, David haMelekh ends this long Mizmor asserting that his gratitude to God will not be an isolated event.
Pasuq 50 says:
“For all this, God, I will thank you publicly, among the nations, I will sing my poems to You”.
Did David fulfill his promise? Of course. David did not archive his Psalms in a “private diary”. David composed his words of gratitude, writing this Psalm and much of the book of Tehillim, as a public sign of recognition of God’s kindness. And his words help us, his people Israel (and many other nations, as David predicted) to find the deepest inspiration to praise and thank HaShem.