2 Samuel 22 (NRSV)
David’s Song of Thanksgiving
David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.
With minor variations, this psalm is the same as Psalm 18. But haven’t we all found that the same words can have vastly different meanings at various points in our lives? (That’s why I read Jane Eyre every year!)
I remember hearing this sermon illustration when I was only a child:
A little girl was asked this question in her Sunday School classroom: “What do you know about God?” She answered, “Jesus loves me, this I know.”
An elderly pastor was asked the same question on his deathbed: “What do you know about God?” And he gave the same answer. “Jesus loves me, this I know.”
2He said: The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
David experienced the Lord’s deliverance:
- God delivered David from Goliath
- God delivered David from Saul
- God delivered David from backsliding
- God delivered David from Israel’s enemies
- God delivered David from Absalom
- God delivered David from David’s own sinful passions
3my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold and my refuge, my savior;
you save me from violence.
4I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
God is so big and so wonderful, it takes many words and titles to describe him! Let that be a lesson to me in my own prayers!
5For the waves of death encompassed me,
the torrents of perdition assailed me;
6the cords of Sheol entangled me,
the snares of death confronted me.
7In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I called.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry came to his ears.
8Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations of the heavens trembled and quaked,
because he was angry.
9Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
10He bowed the heavens, and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
11He rode on a cherub, and flew;
he was seen upon the wings of the wind.
12He made darkness around him a canopy,
thick clouds, a gathering of water.
13Out of the brightness before him
coals of fire flamed forth.
14The Lord thundered from heaven;
the Most High uttered his voice.
15He sent out arrows, and scattered them—
lightning, and routed them.
16Then the channels of the sea were seen,
the foundations of the world were laid bare
at the rebuke of the Lord,
at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.
17He reached from on high, he took me,
he drew me out of mighty waters.
18He delivered me from my strong enemy,
from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me.
19They came upon me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my stay.
20He brought me out into a broad place;
he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
21The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me.
22For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
23For all his ordinances were before me,
and from his statutes I did not turn aside.
24I was blameless before him,
and I kept myself from guilt.
25Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
according to my cleanness in his sight.
For years verses like these bothered me, for I knew that my hands were not clean before him, nor could the Lord count me blameless in his sight. I can’t keep myself from sin and guilt! It was while I was listening to a teaching from Joyce Meyer that I came to understand that I was reading these verses and relying on my feelings, rather than on God’s fact. 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 tells us the truth that God wants all of his children to know:
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Now I can read and sing these verses with joy, for Christ’s death on the cross makes me clean! Thank you, Lord Jesus!
Watchman Nee, 20th century Chinese pastor and martyr, explains this further:
Outside of Christ, I am only a sinner, but in Christ, I am saved. Outside of Christ, I am empty; in Christ, I am full. Outside of Christ, I am weak; in Christ, I am strong. Outside of Christ, I cannot; in Christ, I am more than able. Outside of Christ, I have been defeated; in Christ, I am already victorious. How meaningful are the words, “in Christ.”
“His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood avails for me.”
HERE is “O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” a great hymn by Charles Wesley.
26With the loyal you show yourself loyal;
with the blameless you show yourself blameless;
27with the pure you show yourself pure,
and with the crooked you show yourself perverse.
28You deliver a humble people,
but your eyes are upon the haughty to bring them down.
29Indeed, you are my lamp, O Lord,
the Lord lightens my darkness.
30By you I can crush a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
31This God—his way is perfect;
the promise of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
from Edges of his Ways, by Amy Carmichael:
Psalm 18:30 — As for God, His way is perfect.
God is love, so we may change the word and say, As for Love, His way is perfect. This has been helping me.
One of the ways of Love is to prepare us beforehand for any hard thing that He knows is near. Perhaps this word will be His loving preparation to some heart for a disappointment, or for some trial of faith, something known to others, or some secret sorrow between the Father and His child. As for Love, His way is perfect.
32For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?
33The God who has girded me with strength
has opened wide my path.
34He made my feet like the feet of deer,
and set me secure on the heights.
35He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
36You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your help has made me great.
37You have made me stride freely,
and my feet do not slip.
38I pursued my enemies and destroyed them,
and did not turn back until they were consumed.
39I consumed them; I struck them down, so that they did not rise;
they fell under my feet.
40For you girded me with strength for the battle;
you made my assailants sink under me.
41You made my enemies turn their backs to me,
those who hated me, and I destroyed them.
42They looked, but there was no one to save them;
they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
43I beat them fine like the dust of the earth,
I crushed them and stamped them down like the mire of the streets.
44You delivered me from strife with the peoples;
you kept me as the head of the nations;
people whom I had not known served me.
45Foreigners came cringing to me;
as soon as they heard of me, they obeyed me.
46Foreigners lost heart,
and came trembling out of their strongholds.
47The Lord lives! Blessed be my rock,
and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation,
48the God who gave me vengeance
and brought down peoples under me,
49who brought me out from my enemies;
you exalted me above my adversaries,
you delivered me from the violent.
50For this I will extol you, O Lord, among the nations,
and sing praises to your name.
51He is a tower of salvation for his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his descendants forever.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.