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Author:Rev. Ted Gray
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Congregation:First United Reformed Church
 Oak Lawn, Illinois
 www.oaklawnurc.org/
 
Title:David's Song of Praise
Text:2 Samuel 22:1-51 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Life in Christ
 
Added:2023-08-21
Updated:2023-09-22
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

I Love You, Lord, My Strength (or other selection from Psalm 18)
 
Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me       
 
A Shelter in the Time of Storm
 
A Wonderful Savior Is Jesus My Lord 
 
Note: For ESV reading, the title should be “David’s Song of Deliverance”. Other than that change, the NIV and ESV are quite similar, including the same translation of the seven metaphors for God’s protective power: rock, fortress, deliverer, shield, horn of salvation, stronghold, and refuge.
* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


“David’s Song of Praise”
2 Samuel 22
 
This passage is unique in that it is recorded, almost word for word, both in 2 Samuel 22 and in Psalm 18. In this song of praise, David uses seven metaphors to extoll the greatness of God’s protective power. We could take the next seven weeks and look at each one of those descriptions of our Lord. This Song of Praise is so rich that we could spend weeks on it. And maybe sometime we will come back and revisit this song in more detail. But today (on this warm summer evening without air conditioning), I’ll just briefly note the significance of the first description, where David declares, “The Lord is my rock.”   
 
David’s song of praise, whether it is read in Psalm 18 or in 2 Samuel 22, reminds us, first, that for the sake of Christ God repeatedly delivered David from his enemies. That is why David declared so confidently, “The Lord is my Rock” even as he faced many enemies from surrounding nations, and uprisings within his own family.
 
In a study of David’s life, Scripture records time and again how frequently he was delivered from his enemies. For instance, in the previous chapter, in 2 Samuel 21:15-22, we read in the span of just seven verses how David was delivered on four separate occasions from his enemies. 
 
One of the enemies was named Goliath the Gittite. In verse 19 (of the previous chapter), we read how Elhanan struck down Goliath the Gittite. That statement has caused confusion for some people, because we know from 1 Samuel 17 that David struck down Goliath, who was from Gath and as such was a Gittite. The skeptic says, “There is another error in the Bible.”
 
There are several explanations, including the one that I lean toward, namely that Goliath was a common noun for a giant. Just as Pharaoh was a title for a king in Egypt, and not a proper name, so, too, Goliath was a common description of a giant. As such, David had killed Goliath of Gath and Elhanan killed Goliath the Gittite. 
 
More important than who killed who in these various battles is the reason behind God sparing David’s life, time after time. The reason God spared David from so many enemies, even the unique six-fingered and six-toed foe described in 2 Samuel 21:20, was for the sake of Christ.
 
The sparing of David is rooted in the promise of God’s covenant given in 2 Samuel 7:16: And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.”  The throne that is established forever is, of course, the throne of David’s greater Son, Jesus Christ. 
 
We read about His lineage from the line of David repeatedly, Old Testament and New. Consider, for example, that Matthew 1:6 describes how Jesus is a descendant of David, and Matthew 1:17 gives this summary: Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.” It was for the sake of Christ that God graciously delivered David from the hands of all his enemies, even the six-digited giant from Gath.
 
Romans 1:2-5 also speaks to the importance of David in the lineage of Jesus as Paul writes about “the gospel he (God) promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.”
  
Or, consider the words of Jesus in Revelation 22:16: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright Morning Star.”
 
David certainly realized that the hand of the Lord was with him in unique and powerful ways as he was delivered time and again from his enemies. That is the purpose for his song. As verse 1 declares, “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.”
 
In his song of praise, David likens the Lord to his rock, his fortress, his deliverer, his shield, the horn of his salvation, his stronghold, and his refuge. David used those seven metaphors throughout the song to extoll the greatness of God’s protective power. But this evening we focus on the significance of the first description, where David says, “The Lord is my rock.” 
 
In the ancient Mideast a rock was used as an image of protection. The desert sun was brutal, and a famished traveler would find rest in the shade of a large Rock. It would be a place of shelter from the sun, or in a storm, a barrier against the wind. 
 
Large, massive rocks were also places of refuge. When Saul was on the prowl seeking David’s life, David often sought refuge in caves. The caves were hollowed out in the massive rocks. The rocky terrain became a refuge for David, and a metaphor for the way the Lord is a refuge to all who by His grace and Spirit’s power seek Him and trust in Him alone for salvation. The large rocks and boulders also gave David a vantage point, a high place he could climb to scan the desert below.
 
Biblically, rocks are also used to signify the solid foundation that we as believers have in Christ. The analogy Jesus used, of the foolish man building on the sand and the wise man building on the rock of Christ Himself, is well known. We still use the expression, “Solid as a rock,” because the foundation that we have in Christ is the only firm and lasting foundation in this life.
 
The familiar hymn, Rock of Ages, was written when its author, Augustus Toplady, was traveling in a remote area and a strong storm came upon him. He sought refuge in the cleft of a rock, and as he waited for the storm to pass, he saw a playing card on the ground that someone had left in that cleft of protection, perhaps someone who had sought refuge in a storm similar to the one Toplady was in. On the back of that little playing card, in the midst of a great storm, Toplady wrote those words that are so familiar to many of us:
 
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from guilt and make me pure.
...Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.
    
For the sake of Christ, God protected David. In turn, Christ is the Rock of Ages for all who trust in Him. In Him alone do we find our true security, our salvation from sin, and our eternal home.
 
Imputed Righteousness
 
A second great truth that springs out of this song of praise is that through saving faith in Christ, God imputes His righteousness to us, even though we are terrible sinners. It may not spring off the page immediately, but salvation by grace through faith is surely the intent of verses 21-25, even though it might not seem that way at first glance.
 
These verses, along with the verse on Elhanan killing Goliath the Gittite, have given fuel to skeptics and raised doubts in the minds of some of God’s elect. The question is often asked, “How can David so confidently say, ‘The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.’”?  
 
The same question is often asked concerning David’s statement in verses 24 and 25. In those verses he declares: “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.” The question is asked, "How can a murderer and an adulterer make that statement?"
 
As you might imagine, there are volumes written on these verses and many views on their meaning have been suggested. Some commentators point out that David was inspired to write this Song of Praise before his sin with Bathsheba and thus he was “clean” in God’s sight.
 
But David himself would disagree with that view. In the 51st Psalm, as well as other passages, David acknowledged that he was a sinner from conception and that his sin was always before him. And in verse 33 of this chapter he acknowledges that it is the Lord who made his way perfect, literally “blameless.” The ESV captures that truth clearly in its translation of verse 33 as David declares: “This God is my strong refuge and has made my way blameless.”
 
The best commentary on the Bible is always the Bible itself. Romans 3:20-24 serves as an inspired commentary, not only on how David was saved from his sin – of how he was righteous, blameless and clean in God’s sight – but how every other sinner, including you and I, can be saved from our sin and be declared righteous. Paul writes: “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. 
 
           But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
 
From the penitential Psalms of David, such as Psalm 32 and Psalm 51 among many others, we know that David recognized his sin and recognized that if God kept a record of sins no one could stand before Him. David’s life, both as a man after God’s own heart and as a vile sinner, forcefully remind us that it is through saving faith in Christ alone that God imputes His righteousness to us, even though we are terrible sinners.
 
Empowered by God’s Strength 
 
A third truth that springs out of these verses is that our “victories” are only possible because of God’s strength.
 
In verses 38 and 39 David writes: “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.” Taken by themselves, without looking at their context, these verses would make David seem like quite the boastful warrior. But he goes on to write, in verses 40 and 41, 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.”
 
It was by God’s enabling power that David was able to overcome his adversaries. And the same is true for us. We don’t face the same adversaries as David, with Philistines, Moabites, Edomites, Arameans, Saul, Absalom and others. But we face just as fierce adversaries as David did.  Scripture describes the Christian life as a battle, a great conflict, a fierce war in which we need to guard ourselves with the complete armor of God. "Our enemy, the devil," 1 Peter 5:8 warns us, "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 
 
And the Heidelberg Catechism, following Scripture, teaches the same truth concerning our adversaries. In Lord’s Day 52, it teaches us what is meant by that phrase in the Lord’s prayer, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” It means:
 
“… By ourselves we are too weak
to hold our own even for a moment.
 
And our sworn enemies—
  the devil, the world, and our own flesh—
never stop attacking us.
 
And so, Lord,
uphold us and make us strong
  with the strength of your Holy Spirit,
so that we may not go down to defeat
  in this spiritual struggle,
but may firmly resist our enemies
  until we finally win the complete victory.”
 
All our victories, including the crucial ones that count spiritually, are only because of the strength and power of Him who is within us. As 1 John 4:4 teaches, He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
 
Praises to God
 
This is a beautiful song of praise which merits far more time than we have given it this evening.  Perhaps sometime we will look at the metaphors for God’s strength as recorded in the parallel passage in Psalm 18. But by way of application this evening, this Song of Praise reminds us that those who, by grace, have saving faith in Christ alone have many reasons to praise the Lord, as did David.
 
David ends the song with praise, exclaiming,
 
“The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
    Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!
 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 praises to your name.
 
He gives his king great victories;
    he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed,
    to David and his descendants forever.”  
(2 Sam. 22:47-51)
 
Those verses are focusing on Christ. Verse 50 is quoted by the Apostle Paul in Romans 15:9. As he explained to the Romans how the gospel is for Gentiles as well as Jews, Paul wrote: For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written – and then he quotes 2 Samuel 22:50 (Psalm 18:49) – “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”
 
Christ is written about throughout the Scriptures. For the sake of Christ, God spared David so that from his line, as a human descendant, Jesus would be born. In turn, Jesus Christ is our only Redeemer; we are only saved, and delivered from our bondage to sin, through faith in Him. No wonder David praised Him! 
 
But to have Christ as your rock, your fortress, your deliverer, your shield, your horn of salvation, your refuge, your stronghold, and your Savior you need saving faith in Him. David’s confidence came through saving faith in the Messiah yet to be revealed. And his faith in Christ was accompanied by true godly sorrow for his sin.
 
Repentance and true saving faith always go hand in hand; together they equal conversion. And their genuine character is revealed by how we live our lives. Even though we, like David, struggle with sin throughout our lives, if our faith is truly in Christ, we will “demonstrate our repentance by our deeds” (Acts 26:20) and have an ever increasing “obedience that comes from faith” (Rom. 1:5).
 
By God’s grace through saving faith in Christ alone may you and I, by our lives and by our words, live to the praise of Jesus Christ – our rock, our fortress, our deliverer, our shield, the horn of our salvation, our stronghold, our refuge, and our Savior! Amen.
 
 
sermon outline:
 
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’s Song of Praise”
                                        2 Samuel 22
 
I.  David’s song of praise is recorded almost word for word in both 2
     Samuel 22 and Psalm 18. His song of praise reminds us:
     1) For the sake of Christ (Matthew 1:6; Romans 1:3; Revelation
         22:16), God repeatedly delivered David from his enemies (2-20)
 
 
 
 
 
 
     2) Through saving faith in Christ, God imputes His righteousness to
          us, even though we are terrible sinners (21-25; Romans 3:22-24)
 
 
 
 
 
 
     3) Our “victories” (38, 39) are only possible because of God’s
          strength (40-41)
 
 
 
 
 
 
II. Application: Those who, by grace, have saving faith in Christ alone
     have many reasons to praise the Lord, as did David (50-51; Romans 15:9)
 
 
 
 

 

 




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright, Rev. Ted Gray

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