One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Tuesday, June 4, 2013: II Samuel 22:1-23:23
Then David spoke to the Lord the words of this song, on the day when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. II Samuel 22:1 (NKJV)
David sang a song that summarized his life. Each of us is writing a song, too. It tells of our battles and our victories -- our set-backs and our last minute rescues. It tells of the times we gave up, but God did not give up.
Now toward the end of his days, David speaks to the Lord the words of a song. It is his song. He was no doubt, highly reflective as he journeyed back in his mind to remember the great days and the difficult ones. As he wrote these words, he had just lost a son, Absalom, Israel had endured a severe famine, and the war with the Philistines was kicking back in. These are not the words of a retiree, long removed from the pressure. Life kept coming -- no matter what. All that had changed was David's age. Now an old man, he summarizes the path he has learned as he walked with God through it all.
This wonderful song follows four themes:
1. God is our only SECURITY and SHELTER. (II Sam. 22:2-20)
Vivid wording describes the path David has walked. He speaks of "violence" (vs. 3), "the waves of death" (vs. 5), "floods of ungodliness and destruction" (vs. 5), "distress" (vs. 7), "calamity" (vs. 19). At times he felt like the whole "earth shook and trembled" beneath him (vs. 8). Have you ever felt that way?
IN THIS CONTEXT, the opening words of this song are powerful:
2 “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
3 The God of my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge;
My Savior, You save me from violence.
4 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;So shall I be saved from my enemies. II Samuel 22:2-4 (NKJV)
In vs. 19, he summarizes: "The Lord was my support."
David found refuge and security in the strong name of the Lord. Despite all around him falling apart, he ran to the rock that would not move -- would not fail -- would not crumble under such weight. Only the Lord can deliver us from our enemies. Only the Lord can give us security amidst such chaos.
2. The Lord is our LIGHT in the darkness. (II Samuel 22:21-31)
Vs. 29 says, “For You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord shall enlighten my darkness." It is important to note that light does not simply mean better understanding. It means the ability to move forward. Light shows you the path so you can take the next steps. Psalm 119:105 speaks of this when it says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." When we are in darkness, we don't know where to turn or how to move. When we walk in light, we can move forward with confidence.
David found LIGHT from the Lord. That sets everything is a different place. Rather than sitting down in defeat, we are ready to rise up and live again. It may be only enough light for the next steps but that is all you need.
Light inspires us to action. David says it this way: "30 For by You I can run against a troop; by my God I can leap over a wall. 31 As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him." (II Sam. 22:30-31)
3. The Lord is our STRENGTH even when we feel weak. (II Samuel 22:32-49)
Hannah Hurnard wrote a classic allegory based on vs. 34* entitled Hind's Feet on High Places. It is about a young woman named Much Afraid who travels from her Fearing family to the High Places of the Shepherd. It is a story of transformation from weakness to strength, from humiliation to exaltation, from fear to faith.
There is an amazing paradox in this journey toward strength. David speaks of it in vss. 32-33: 32 “For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? 33 God is my strength and power, And He makes my way perfect." Our strength does not reside in our tenacious ability to hang on and weather it. Our strength is in the Lord. David says that "He makes my way perfect." Paul echoes this when he writes how God spoke to him about weakness and strength. "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'" (II Co. 12:9) Strength is not knowing what I can do, but what GOD CAN DO.
4. In the Lord there is HOPE. The FUTURE is secure. (II Samuel 22:50-51)
At the end of this song, David speaks of his descendants. He sings of those who will follow him. He expresses confidence that despite the difficulty of his path, yet the promises of God are still sure. God had spoken to him of the future of his throne (II Samuel 7:12-16). When difficulty surrounds us, those promises from God can seem so far away. Despite the roller-coaster ride that was David's life, yet at the end he affirmed that God is yet true. His promises are still in effect.
Perhaps you feel that God has promised you certain things. You feel that by His grace He has declared that a wonderful future awaits you. Yet, because of the reversals of life, those promises have faded in your heart and mind. Remember the words of David, "He is the tower of salvation to _____" (put your name here) (II Sam. 22:50).
What song are you writing? Our lives are like the compositions of a master artist. It is a collaborative work between you and God. You and He work together is writing this masterpiece. It is beautiful in its completion. It is your life in Him.
* There are two other places in Scripture that are identical: Psalm 18:33 and Habakkuk 3:19