Monday, October 16, 2023

David's Song of Praise to God from 2nd Samuel 22

If there’s one thing that perfectly sums up David’s life it’s the praise that David sings to the Lord in 2nd Samuel 22. David expresses poetically all that God has done for him. David acknowledges clearly, his life story is not really about David. It’s about his God.

The entire chapter of 2nd Samuel 22 is all about what God has done in King David’s life.

It starts off like this, with an introduction: “David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:…”

This song is very similar to Psalm 18 in the book of Psalms, though there are some variations. I think what we’re going to do today is go line by line through this poem, this song, and find some nuggets of truth in it, that will help all of us to walk closely with the God of David in our own lives.

David cries out, verses 2-3: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent people you save me.”

Three truths about who God is to us: He is our rock. Firm foundation. Second, he is a fortress around us. A place of safety. Thirdly, our deliverer. Someone who comes and rescues is when we’re in trouble.

Verses 4-7: “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and have been saved from my enemies.
The waves of death swirled about me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.”
“In my distress I called to the Lord;
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears.”

I called to the Lord, it’s important we remember we need to cry out to Him. He wants us to pray. Then he answers. David pictures himself as sinking in a whirlpool down further, and further, helpless and unable to save himself. Eventually he finds himself under the waters, cords of death wrapped around him, and in that pit of darkness David cries out to God, and God hears all the way in heaven. The cry for help echoes up into the highest heaven, and God hears.

It reminds me of a time I was visiting my aunt and uncles cottage in Minocqua, Wisconsin. I was about ten years old, and my cousin and I were playing on the dock. It was late autumn, very cold. And I fell into the water. Now my dad was all the way up about seventy-five steps, straight up, where the cottage rested on the top of a hill. And when my dad heard me calling for help in the water up to my head, he made it down those steps in about three seconds. There's no way he could've done that. But somehow he did. It reminds me of how God comes to us and rescues us in our time of trouble.

The next few verses here, we hear about a very dark situation. And David cries out to God. David certainly faced many difficult situations in his life. Many of us can say the same. We've been through struggles. Life is hard. Crazy stuff happens! So we must cry out to God again and again. It's a repeated process. A spiritual tool we should return to again and again. And for David, and us, it says, our cry reaches his throne room. God hears our cry for help. Just like God hears David's cry for help and moves in to rescue him.

Next in verses 8-16 we see God responding to David’s cry for help. God shows up in a huge way, as David cries out to Him for help.

It says, “8 The earth trembled and quaked,
the foundations of the heavens shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
9 Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it
10 He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
11 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
12 He made darkness his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
13 Out of the brightness of his presence
bolts of lightning blazed forth.
14 The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
15 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
16 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at the rebuke of the Lord,
at the blast of breath from his nostrils.”

The entire physical plain of Earth is shocked and disrupted by God’s breakthrough into David’s difficulty. God takes over completely and comes down, and drives off David’s enemies. The earth shakes. The voice of God bursts forth. And everything changes.

In verses 17-20 we see David rescued by God completely:

It says, “17 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
20 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.”

David calls this moment in his life “the day of his disaster.” This whole saga seems to surround the moment when King Saul was chasing after David and trying to kill him and his men. And we see just how troubled David was during this time in his life.

Have you ever had a moment in your life that you'd call your "day of disaster?" There have been a few seasons in my life where it felt a bit like my day of disaster. It's important in those moments when everything is going wrong, to remember, to pray and ask God for help. Sometimes we do everything but pray. We do everything, stress about it, worry about it, complain about it to others, but the one thing we should do, we forgot to do: We didn't pray. So remember, get on your knees, and ask God for help!

But it’s a picture for us of David’s entire life. He was constantly being delivered by God in different situations.

The same is true for us. If we follow God faithfully, time and again we get into trouble, and time and again God sets us free.

It pictures David being picked up from flood waters where he’s sunk beneath the surface, tumbling down to the bottom of the ocean, and God comes and grabs him, pulls him out, and places him in a beautiful meadow, safe and at peace.

Next in verses 21-25 we get into righteousness, “21 “The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. 22 For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God.
23 All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. 24 I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. 25 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight.”

David has faithfully walked with God and obeyed the Old testament law. And that was greatly pleasing to God. David recognizes the importance of living a pure life before God.

Similarly, we are blameless before God in Jesus Christ, who has washed away our sins. We’ve repented of our sins, put them to death, and so we are holy in God’s sight. Not holy because of our repentance, but holy because of Jesus Christ's perfect sacrifice. His death paid off our sin debt. Our repentance is our response to this great gift.

Next, we see David explaining God's character toward two different groups of people on planet Earth: the faithful and the devious. He deals with the faithful by showing his own faithfulness. He deals with the devious by humbling them.

It says, "26 “To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
27 to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
28 You save the humble,
but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.
29 You, Lord, are my lamp;
the Lord turns my darkness into light."
30 With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall."

If you are prideful, God will humble you. If we try to plot schemes against people and manipulate events to gain what we want selfishly, God will show himself to be shrewd, and he will defeat our plans. He will humble us, and bring us low, so we can learn to humble ourselves, and turn back to Him. Best thing to do instead of becoming proud, is to humble yourself before God, then he won't have to humble you Himself.

David also recalls how God empowers him in combat. With God's help, David had constant victory in combat against numerous foes. He could scale a wall, with God, his combat skills were enhanced, and he won the victories he desperately needed. Have you ever experienced that? You needed strength in a moment when you felt weak, and you had exactly the strength you needed for the moment?

I've experienced that numerous times. Many times I've been feeling sick or dizzy, and unable to share a sermon or lead a Bible study, but suddenly God gives me extra strength so I can complete the task he's given me.

Next, we see David describing God's character and how he interacts with us: 31 “As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
32 For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
33 It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
34 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
35 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
36 You make your saving help my shield;
your help has made me great.
37 You provide a broad path for my feet,
so that my ankles do not give way."

David recalls that God shields those who take refuge in Him. So, it's super important that we "take refuge in God." That's a great prayer: "Lord, I take refuge in you today, in Jesus name, amen!"

We also see mention of God "training" David for war. Often God will train us in our lives for tasks he has for us in the future. Have you experienced that? A time of training from God? Maybe it was experiences you had at a job, or things you learned in a class, or something a friend or family member taught you, but you saw it was God working through the situation or person to teach you something you'd need later? God's thoughts and plans toward you are as numerous as the grains of the sand on the seashore (Psalm 139:17-18). He's always doing something in your life!

In verses 38-46 David declares how God has granted him complete victory over his enemies: “I pursued my enemies and crushed them;
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
39 I crushed them completely, and they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.
40 You armed me with strength for battle;
you humbled my adversaries before me.
41 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.
42 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
to the Lord, but he did not answer.
43 I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth;
I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets.
44 “You have delivered me from the attacks of the peoples;
you have preserved me as the head of nations.
People I did not know now serve me,
45 foreigners cower before me;
as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
46 They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds."

We see again here, how David's cup overflows. It hasn't been easy. But in the end, through many struggles, David has total victory, and so much so, people he doesn't even know come trembling before him and surrender before his troops. He has victory over his enemies. This comes from God. Similarly, with us, our victories can only come from God. We believe. We obey. He works. And we see hard fought victories.

Lastly, in verses 47-51 we see David summarizing his statements from the beginning of the song, reaffirming the three key factors: God is my rock, God is my stronghold, God is my deliverer.

It says, "47 “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!
48 He is the God who avenges me,
who puts the nations under me,
49 who sets me free from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
from a violent man you rescued me.
50 Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing the praises of your name."
51 “He gives his king great victories;
he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed,
to David and his descendants forever.”

All in all, we see David has victory after victory from God. That is the goal with any disciple of Jesus Christ, that they would walk so closely with Jesus, that they would find victory after victory in their walk with God, and in the community around them. This is sometimes upset by our own disobedience, just like David's impropriety with Bathsheba cost him much. But in the end, we remain faithful, like David, and God continues to guide us, forgives us, and grants us victory after victory.

All of this we have today through Jesus Christ our Lord and savior who died for us, and lives to intercede for us! Victory after victory is ours! And our cup overflows. Praise the Lord!