David is certainly the warrior king, the man who most clearly foreshadows the Lord Jesus Christ as He will be when He returns in blazing fire to judge the earth (2 Thess. 1:7ff). Yes, David is a warrior, and so it is possible that in this passage in Psalm 18:37-42, David is speaking of his literal, physical enemies and is telling of their physical destruction as he vanquishes them.
For the rest of us, however, who do not fight Goliaths or Moabites or Arameans on a daily basis, this section of Psalm 18 would have more application if we viewed our “enemies” figuratively. What do I mean? I mean that our enemies are usually not “flesh and blood,” but are more typically lingering sins of the flesh, sins of the “old man” which threaten to ruin our testimony and to make shipwreck of our lives. From this perspective, the psalm becomes a picture of our attitude toward sin. Now the psalm gives us a battle plan for gaining victory over our constant enemy, namely sin.
Our indwelling sins, then, are not permitted to bask in safety. Rather, we pursue them and overtake them and do not relent until they are consumed (18:37). The warrior does not let sin dwell comfortably but seeks it out so that it can be destroyed. We see the picture of us putting sin to death with the sword (“thrust them through” – Col. 3:5) so that it cannot rise again (18:38). We are relentless in the pursuit of sin and merciless in our destruction of sin.
In Christ, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, who equips us with strength for the battle against sin. The Holy Spirit has given us a hatred of sin and the power to resist sin so that our sins are robbed of their strength and so “sink under us” (18:39). Our goal is to destroy the sin that tempts us so that it no longer has victory over us (18:40). In our zeal and our hatred of sin, we “beat them (our sins) fine as dust before the wind; we cast them out as mire in the streets (18:42).” We will not stop until we are walking in holiness and we have shed ourselves of the sin which so easily entangles us (Hebrews 12:1).
In this way, all those who walk with the Lord are warriors pursuing our enemies until they are destroyed.
SDG rmb 3/8/2020