GOD’S ANOINTED: David’s Song of Deliverance

David’s Song of Deliverance, 2 Samuel 22

This long chapter in 2 Samuel has long been considered to be one of the oldest major poems in the Old Testament.  It is paralleled, almost verbatim, by two psalms, 18 and 28.  Even though David’s words of praise appear near the end of his history, it belongs to the early part of his life, as indicated by verse 1—

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.

While the setting of this song is determined for us, in all likelihood David composed it late in life, while reflecting on his past.  Despite his weaknesses, David recognized God’s faithfulness and he saw God’s hand bringing him to old age.

It is a worthwhile practice to look back once in a while and consider all that God has done in our lives.  We live in the moment too often sometimes, and we fail to appreciate the many subtle ways the Lord has guided us to this exact moment in our lives.  In the midst of our busy and harried lives, it’s good to pause and reflect.  David probably wrote Psalm 23 around the same time as he wrote what we call 2 Samuel 22.  Only somebody who has lived life and who has come to appreciate all God has done for them could write as David wrote—

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  (verse 1)

Young or immature believers don’t have an understanding of God’s provision and care.  The apostle Paul did and he put it this way in Philippians 1:6—

[B]eing confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Only someone who had experienced the gracious provision of God resulting from living a life of faith is able to write such a sentence.  David and Paul were two such believers, though different in every respect, who lived by faith and experienced the loving care of a loving heavenly Father.  Hopefully you have, as well.  If you are born again, then God has brought you to this very moment in your life.  Whether times are good or bad for you is completely irrelevant to that fact.  If you believe God has brought you to this point in your life, do you think for one moment He would let you go?   After all that David had done in his life against the will of God, God never once left David’s presence!   How many of us, I wonder, are as aware of God’s presence in our lives as David was?

1.  Survey of the chapter

This whole chapter is a record of David’s song of praise.  Without studying each verse and stanza, an important thing to remember is that David was able to write such magnificent words of praise only after having endured some hardship.  During his flight from Saul and after his battles with the Philistines, David did not become depressed or frightened; he did not become despondent and blame God for his problems; he was able to focus on his Deliverer.

Life is rarely easy, yet it is easy to allow life’s trials to dictate our mood and our level of faith and confidence in God.  One thing we notice right from the start is that David, as human and as fallible as he was, had an unshakable, if imperfect, faith in God.   Even while he struggled to bring his actions and decisions in line with his faith, his belief in God’s care and provision never really wavered.

David saw God as his Rock, Fortress, Shield, Horn of salvation, High tower, Savior, and the One worthy of our prayer and praise.  Over the course of his lifetime, especially during the early years when his future was so uncertain from the human perspective, David recognized that it was God who was sustaining Him.    The metaphors and comparisons are striking:

  • Rock.  God is our firm foundation; He is not soft or shifting like sand.  God is always dependable in all His ways.
  • Fortress.  There is protection in a relationship with God.  Elsewhere the Psalmist wrote these memorable words—

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.  (Psalm 91:4—)

  • Shield.  Again, we have a battle metaphor.  God is seen as protection surrounding His followers; He absorbs the blows of the enemy; He stops the onslaught from touching those He loves, who are trusting in Him.
  • Horn of salvation.  In Hebrew history, the “horn of salvation” was a sign of power; it came to refer to the saving power of the king.  Here the king describes His God as HIS saving power!
  • High tower.  Like a tower afforded protection and visibility, so God protects us and is never caught off guard because He sees everything that comes at us; no attack of the enemy ever catches our Lord off guard!
  • Savior.  Only God is able to save; He saves us from attacks of the enemy and he saves us throughout all eternity by forgiving our sins and imparting new life to us.
  • The One worthy of prayer and praise.  What a marvelous way to describe God.  He is worthy of our time in prayer because He hears us and He answers our prayers.  Because God desires what is best for us and desires His will to be accomplished in our lives, He deserves our highest praise.  What God gives us He will take away.

2.  God’s deliverance is always needed, verse 18

He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.

Here is a powerful picture of God’s indignation and readiness to vindicate,  not only the psalmist, but all who put their trust in Him.  The Lord is ever watchful, ever ready to intervene and pluck His loved ones from the hand of the enemy.  Plumer observed,

God’s grasp cannot be broken.  None can pluck His children out of His hand.

Notice what David says:  his enemies were too strong for him.  There was no pride here; no arrogant presumption; only complete dependence on God.  The enemy of God’s people is too strong for them, but not too strong for God!  That great trinity of evil:  the world, the flesh, and the Devil all conspire to bring about our downfall, and when we face their attacks on our own, in our own strength, we will fall every time.  Followers of Christ are unbeatable only when we, like David, learn to recognize the real power of the enemy, then trust in His deliverance.  John, the brother of our Lord wrote this:

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.  (1 John 4:4)

3.  God’s deliverance is supernatural, verse 17

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.

David did not fear the awesome power of God grabbing hold of him.  When we need help the most; when we find ourselves in awful situations, whether they be the result of demonic onslaughts from without or the consequences of bad choices we have made, God never comes to His children in anger!  Though we may find ourselves going down for the last time, the Lord always prevails over the circumstances that confound us.  God alone can deliver us from all adversity, providing a new dimension of life, for nobody is closer to his Lord than the one who has experienced His mighty deliverance!

When we look at David’s life, from the very beginning his help came from above.  When God sent the prophet Samuel to David, he anointed David from head to toe with the holy oil, symbolic of the Holy Spirit.  When God saw the wretchedness of man, He sent help from above in the form of His Son:

For God so loved the world, He sent His only Son… (John 3:16a)

When the infant Church, called into existence by God, built upon Christ, needed empowerment, that power came from above:

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2:3, 4)

Our help always comes from above.  From the moment of our new birth, the Lord comes again and again to us supernaturally, to rescue us, to sustain us, and to uphold us.

4.  God’s deliverance is personal, verse 17

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.

What an amazing testimony David had!  What an amazing testimony we all have.  God’s help is always personal.  God treats His children as the individuals they are.  There are two things every believer should avoid.  First, we should never think God will “take hold” of others, leaving us behind because we think we are undeserving of His help.  For the sake of the Son of God, God the Father has bound Himself to all who have called upon His grace and mercy.   God reached down to save us and He continues to save us from all the horrible pits we stumble into.

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  (Psalm 40:1, 2)

God’s salvation is personal, and so is His continued help in troubled time.  Wait patiently.  Never give up.  Don’t be overwhelmed.  Secondly, we should never assume that God will help us the exact same way He may have helped someone else.  God has a plan for us all; it is a tailor-made plan that suits the individual.  Never limit God to what you have seen or even experienced before.  Our God has a boundless imagination; let Him use it freely to help you!

5.  God’s deliverance is great, verse 17

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.

The picture David drew is that of a man drowning in the ocean.  Many are the threats and dangers that confront the believer every day.  Every day, every believer struggles with temptation, with fear, with doubt and uncertainty, with anger and jealousy, with despair and anxiety; every day we find ourselves treading water, trying desperately to keep afloat.

For David, the Lord saved him over and over from the hands of the murderous King Saul.  The Lord delivered David from the giant Goliath.  The Lord strengthened David even in waters of affliction of his own making.  The King was drawn from the rapids of guilt when Nathan promised God’s forgiveness of David’s sin.  David may have deserved another fate, but God reached down and pulled him up.

God’s deliverance is great, because the problems of life are great.  Those who have never experienced God’s deliverance have never really asked for it or expected it.  There are Christians who would rather go at it alone; God is a gentleman and He never forces Himself on anybody.  But what a waste of resources!  What arrogance we have; thinking we can deliver ourselves!

6.  God’s deliverance gives Him joy, verse 20

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

This is such an amazing verse to consider!  Not only does God deliver us from our troubles, this verse really expresses the ultimate triumph of faith.  The Lord is faithful to deliver us, but He not only delivers us from our trouble, but to a better place!   Instead of “disaster,” the Lord gives “support.”  Instead of “distress,” the Lord gives “a spacious place.”  Instead of hopelessness, the Lord give hope.  This is the God who loves us.  The love of God is expressed by David in a stunning series of verbs:  God “reached down…took hold of me…drew me out of the deep waters…He rescued…He brought me out…He rescued me.” This is the love God, not only for David, but for all believers.  God is the One who acts first.  God is the one whose love is manifested by action, not merely words.   God’s wondrous acts of deliverance are proof of His love.

God delivers because He loves, but also because it gives Him joy!  David wrote that:

[God] delighted in me.

God delights in His children; what a thought!  Yet that delight is not a result of something in us, but something in God; it is part of His character.  There is something in God that gives Him joy when He helps us.  Will you be the cause of His joy by allowing Him to deliver you?  God’s love and generosity are fathomless in regard to those who love Him.

7.  God’s deliverance is satisfying, verse 20

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

It’s strange that some people, even those who call themselves Christians, are actually afraid to be drawn out of their sea of sins and/or problems for fear that they should be brought into a narrow place, where they would never again experience happiness or joy.  Did you know that God wants you to be full of joy?

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.  (John 16:24)

God does not want to steal your joy by stealing the things that make you happy, but God does want your joy and happiness to be based on Him, not on “things.”  But as we grow in grace, we learn that and we appreciate that.  There are many miserable Christians in the world who have accepted the tiniest portion of the legacy God has for them because they are afraid that if they have too much of God, they will lose too much.  How sad!  When God saves us and when He continues to deliver us, He puts us in a place we could never have imagined!  When we have been brought out of the kingdom of darkness and placed in the kingdom of light, there are blessings for us beyond our wildest imaginings.  Even while living and working in a sinful, depressed and depressing world, we who put our trust wholly in God will find that we are immune to the world around us.  That is not some pie-in-the-sky denial of reality, it IS reality for the believer because we have God’s promise.


It’s sad but true:  there are many Christians who could never write what David wrote because, by their own choice, they have never experienced the supernatural deliverance God so willingly provides.  To them, the world must seem like a cold, threatening, evil place, full of sadness, disappointments, and unfulfilled dreams.  I would encourage you, if you are like that, to at least open your mind to the reality of what God is offering.  Take full advantage of God’s help; reach out in faith believing, and you will experience a side of God that will forever change, not only the way you view God, but also the way you view the world in which you live.  When you walk in the light of His deliverance, the worst the world can offer is but a  minor inconvenience in comparison to greatness of His work in you.

(c)  2009 WitzEnd

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