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DAVID’S SONG OF PRAISE

2 Samuel 22:1-22:51
Key Verse: 22:2

We thank God for blessing our 2017 SBC so abundantly. He especially taught us new life in Christ. We are assured of the new self we have put on in Christ Jesus, and this new self is to be renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator Christ Jesus. The way to be renewed is to repent and correct ourselves in obedience to the words of God. It is to put to death whatever belongs to earthly nature and clothe ourselves with the compassion, humility and love of Christ, setting our hearts and minds on him. May God guide and bless each one’s new life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We return to our study of 2 Samuel. We have two more lessons for the completion of this study. Today’s passage is David’s song of praise. This song of David is about how God gave him victories against his strong enemies and his praising God. Through this experience David came to know who the LORD is very personally. Our Christian life is obviously a spiritual fight against the devil, our formidable enemy. May we learn how to fight a spiritual battle, knowing who our God is.

First, the LORD is my rock (1-4). Verse 1 says, “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.” David composed this song toward the end of his life after experiencing so many things in life, receiving the promise of the messianic seed embodied in the Davidic covenant (cf. 7:1, 9, 11). . He said in verses 2-4, “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 saviour—from violent men you save me. I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” This introduction in verses 2-4, contains the sum and substance of the whole psalm; David extols God as his defense, refuge, and deliverer in the many experiences of his agitated life. Especially he said, “The LORD is my rock” as the first thing he mentioned concerning the LORD, and he repeated it saying, “my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.” Moses said in his song in Deuteronomy 32:4, “He is the Rock…” And Hannah said in her song in 1 Samuel 2:2, “There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” David said more here concerning the LORD: In verse 32, “For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?, and in verse 47, “The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Saviour!” That the LORD is my Rock is a very significant message. Characteristically, a rock is immovable, unchanging, solid, steady and stable. How changeable and unsteady David’s life situation was! In such situations he could not be stable and steady in himself. But his confession “The LORD is my Rock” indicates that he could be firm and stable in any life situation when he depended on the LORD, his rock. My rock is related to my fortress, my deliverer, my shield, my stronghold, my refuge, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge and my saviour.

In the vision of Daniel a rock from destroyed a dazzling statue of gold, silver, bronze, and iron into pieces. The rock itself became a huge mountain. This was the vision of the kingdom of Christ, which would stand above all the worldly kingdoms which would be destroyed by each succeeding kingdom in succession to the end of the age. When Christ came, he called Simon son of John and gave him a new name Cephas, which, when translated, is Peter, meaning rock. This was Jesus’ hope that an impulsive and unstable Simon would become a rock-like person. Later on, Apostle Peter described Jesus as the living Stone and each believer a living stone. We become like the one we trust in. Psalm 115:8 says, “Those who make them (idols) will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” When we depend on the LORD, the Rock and trust in him, we also become like him.

We are living in an ever-changing and uncertain world. Also, how shaky our life situation is! Last Wednesday while Sara was talking with Somang her friend, she suddenly felt very strange in her body. Her whole boy was shaking in great pain. She even could not articulate words and was barely able to call 911 and was brought into emergency. At that moment I realized how shaky man’s life situation can be. But then what a grace it is that the LORD is my Rock. When God’s people depended on the LORD in prayer, he restored her miraculously after five hours of unconsciousness. Those who rely on him can overcome shaky life situations and become stable and steady at any life condition.

Second, the LORD hears my cry and fight for me (4-20). David described his life situation as this: “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 his life-threatening situation what did he do? In verse 7, “In my distress I called the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.” In 1 and 2 Samuel we could see David’s inquiring of the LORD at difficult times. But here we see another aspect of his prayer. He called out to the LORD in his distress. Then the LORD heard his voice and his cry came to the ears of the LORD. This shows that the LORD our God is ready to hear our voice of crying out to him.

Then there is a long description of how God answered such a crying out prayer in verses 8-20. “The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.” This was the expression of God’s anger toward David’s enemies. And then, it says, “He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his canopy around him—the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth.” This is the description of God’s coming down to help David. And then “the LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot arrows and scattered the enemies, bolts of lightning and routed them. 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.” This is the vivid picture of the LORD’s actual fighting for David. This description continues, “He reached down form on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” All this is an amazing description of how God hears one’s crying out and helps the person. This is a spiritual reality. The LORD who is the Rock is a personal God. Through his death and resurrection one great privilege Jesus gave us is prayer. So he said in John 16:23-24, “In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

From time to time we also feel that my enemy is so powerful and my foes are too strong, my given tasks are too heavy, or my life situation is too hard. Yet as we observed, our strong enemy or heavy task or hard life situation itself does not matter. What matters is whether we call out to him. Then these are the very times for us to come to him and call out to him until our voice is heard and our cry reaches his ears. Once Martin Luther’s wife, Katherine appeared in mourning dress before him. He asked, “Why did you appear with that dress?” She said, “It is because your God is dead.” At that time at the power of the corrupted Roman Catholic Church, Martin Luther was in deep despair seized with fear and he could not cry out to God. After this event, Martine Luther could rise again and began to cry out to God until God gave him a great victory over the evil power, enabling him to lead Reformation. Later on he composed the song, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” We should remember that God can do such a mighty work when one man or woman of God cries out to him. Thank God that for greatly encouraging us through 2017 SBC, showing us his ongoing gospel work in and around. We believe that God will do greater work of the gospel in this city and country through those who call out to him.

Third, the LORD God is faithful and trains my hands (21-51). In verse 20 it is written, “…he rescued me because he delighted in me.” This expression, “the LORD delighted in me”, which means “the LORD was pleased with David” (cf. 15:26), provided a transition to verses 21-28, where David described the basis of God’s way of working.

David said in verses 21-25, “The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I have not done evil by turning from my God. All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight.” This shows how David lived before God. We know that no one is righteous before God. As we studied, David was an obvious sinner. But he believed in God who forgives sins and repented and lived a life of faith. Then God considered him righteous and God’s righteousness became his righteousness. To some people prayer is one thing and life is another. Of course, we can cry out to God at any time. Yet, our prayer and life cannot be separated. God’s children are righteous when they have faith in the righteousness of God through his Son Jesus Christ. In this grace we are to live a life of faith in obedience to God based on his words. Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:12, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Then in verses 26-30, “To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.” Here we see the basic principles that the Lord follows in delivering or judging people. The very same God can be shown differently according to one’s heart attitude. This really makes us humble He saves the humble but brings down the haughty, the proud. Being faithful and humble before God is a great spiritual battle for all of us. A humble person prays, and God is faithful to hear the prayer of the humble. The crooked, the proud, do not pray. An absence of “crying out prayer” indicates a proud heart.

And then David wrote, “You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” God really wants us to depend on him in prayer so that we can advance the gospel against any power of the evil one and scale a wall of any obstacle.

Then it is written in verses 31-35, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuse in him. For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory; you stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.” The LORD our God is a delicate and caring God. The LORD did just fight for David letting him relax. But he was concerned about David’s strength and his hands and ankles. The LORD armed David with strength. He trained David’ hands for battle so that his hands could be strong to fight together with God. With his trained hands and arms he could defeat Goliath by sling a stone into Goliath’s forehead. The LORD does not want his people to remain weaklings but strong soldiers and his people trained and powerful army of God. Isaiah 49:2 says, “He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.” God wants us to be trained in the word of God so that my words become like a sharpened sword and polished arrow when we present the gospel.

Proverbs 22:29 says, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.” God wants us to be trained in playing musical instruments or in singing and in other areas so that we may become trained and skilled people to serve our Lord the king.

In verses 35-43 we see how David fought with his trained hands and arms: “I pursued my enemies and crushed them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—to the LORD, but he did not answer. I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth; I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets.” When God armed his with strength for battle and fought for him, David also fought fiercely, pursuing, crushing, destroying, beating, pounding and trampling his enemies. This should be out attitude as we fight against gospel enemies and against the fortress of Satan.

Then in verses 44-47, “You have delivered me from the attacks of my people; you have preserved me as the head of nations. People I did not know are subject to me, and foreigners come cringing to me; as soon as they hear me, they obey me. They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.” This is the description of how victorious David was through God’s help. Again, thank God for help us to experience a victory through our SBC. May we expect greater victories as we do the gospel work.

Now David praises the LORD. “The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Saviour! With three exclamation marks David praises the LORD. Then he says, “He is the God who avenges me, who puts the nations under me, who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me. Therefore I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing praise to your name. He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.” Here in 22:51, the terms “his king” and “his anointed” and “forever do not seem to refer to David and his physical descendants. Rather, they refer to the promised “seed,” the Messiah of 7:12, and his spiritual descendants through the Messiah. The deliverance and ultimate triumph of David foreshadow that of the coming Messiah. At the end of his life, David looked back in faith at God’s promises and looked forward in hope to their fulfillment in the coming of a future king, the “anointed one” It is also written in 1 Samuel 2:10, “…He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed” and in 2:35, “I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before my anointed one always.” So this song of David is for each of us in Christ Jesus the Messiah.

We can also praise like David, “The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Saviour!” May we deeply recognize that our God is the Rock, my Rock and rely on him and call out to him so that we can experience one victory after another in our personal lives and in doing the gospel work for his kingdom.

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