Friday, September 10, 2021

2021.09.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 22:1–20

Read 2 Samuel 22:1–20

Questions from the Scripture text: To Whom is David speaking (2 Samuel 22:1a)? In response to what (verse 1b)? What nine things does he call Yahweh in 2 Samuel 22:2-3? What has Yahweh done (verse 3b)? To what will Yahweh respond by doing this again (2 Samuel 22:3-4)? What had been David’s circumstances in 2 Samuel 22:5-6? What did he do (2 Samuel 22:7a–b)? How does verse 7c–d communicate the personal nature of God’s response? How does 2 Samuel 22:8a–b indicate the intensity of God’s response? How does 2 Samuel 22:8-9 indicate the attitude of God’s response? How do 2 Samuel 22:10-13 communicate the power of God’s response? What specific action do 2 Samuel 22:142 Samuel 22:16c describe Yahweh as taking? With what results, (2 Samuel 22:15-16)? But what is the nature of His interaction with His servant (2 Samuel 22:172 Samuel 22:19b)? From whom does He deliver him (2 Samuel 22:18-19a)? Why (2 Samuel 22:20)? 

This chapter is found, almost verse for verse, in Psalm 18. Coming at the end of the Samuel material, it seems that this was a Psalm that David originally wrote upon deliverance from Saul, but had much more opportunity to sing over the rest of his life. 

In this first third of the Psalm, the focus is upon how good the Lord has been to David. In the next section he sings especially of the Lord’s graciously sanctifying him, and then in the last section of the Lord’s graciously strengthening him. But in this section, it is especially the Lord being good in almighty strength. 2 Samuel 22:2-4 overflows with gushing praise to God.

The heart of this section is how David finds himself on earth in very dramatic trouble (2 Samuel 22:5-6), but when he cries out to God (2 Samuel 22:7), God’s response in heaven is described in terms that are even more dramatic (2 Samuel 22:8-16).

David is in very dramatic trouble. When we consider prayers and songs like this that God has given us, we mustn’t be surprised when we find ourselves in intense trouble. Death and the grave are closing in on David like a noose (2 Samuel 22:5a, 2 Samuel 22:5a). It comes in waves (2 Samuel 22:5a), while the tide of ungodliness arise to swallow him like a flood (verse 5b), and death latches onto his legs like a snare to pull him down (2 Samuel 22:6b). Dear believer, don’t expect life in this world to be easy or painless! 

But one thing the most dramatic trouble can’t do is cut off the believer’s access to the Lord. Romans 8 famously embraces how nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, or the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. But here in 2 Samuel 22:7 we see that neither can death or Sheol separate the believer from the ears of God that are ours in Christ Jesus. However low the believer may find himself, when he calls upon Yahweh (2 Samuel 22:7a) and cries out to God (verse 7b), He hears us from His temple. There is no trouble so deep that the saint’s cry can be stopped from ascending all the way to the ears of his God!

And that spells great trouble for the trouble! It is difficult to convey the intensity of God’s response in 2 Samuel 22:8-18 to the crying out of this individual human in 2 Samuel 22:7. The images conveyed by the poetry are great in their own right. Just read them in a voice that attempts to reflect the image, and “see”! But behind them is a much greater amplification than poetry: theology. 

The images here are mixed in from the creation, from the flood, from Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Red Sea crossing, from Sinai, and from the Tabernacle. Lightness upon dark waters. Brightness before Him. Waters separated to expose the land. Quaking and fire and smoking and thunder. Brightness and cloud. It’s like the Holy Spirit was wadding up into one all of the greatest displays of the power of God thus far, and reminding us that it is this very God Who is pleased to move to action by means of our prayers. 

In our pride and unbelief we sometimes think to ourselves as if things might be different if God would only take notice how intense our circumstances are on earth. But how very different would our hearts be, if we would only take into account by faith the infinitely greater intensity of our God and His response in heaven! And so, in this Psalm, the Holy Spirit pulls back the curtain to rub our noses in this glorious reality!

Dear believer, how great is your God! And how great is His power and His work as He responds to your Christ-borne prayers! Yahweh Himself is your support (2 Samuel 22:19), because having chosen you in Christ, He delights in you with His delight in Christ (2 Samuel 22:20)!

What troubles have surprised you with their intensity? What intense troubles have you perhaps downplayed? How does this portion of the Psalm free you to own how great your troubles are, without despairing over their greatness? What are you able to do, no matter how great the trouble is? How does the greatness of God’s response compare, no matter how great the trouble is?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise You, our Rock, our Fortress, our Deliverer, our God, our Trust, our Shield, our Horn of salvation, our Stronghold, our Refuge, our Savior! Whenever Your people have cried out to You from great trouble, they have found You and Your response to be infinitely greater than the trouble. Yet, in our unbelief, we often feel and act as if we have somehow discovered the first difficulty that is simply too great. Forgive us! And grant that when we need it, Your Spirit would bring this Word readily to mind, so that we might call upon Your Name in Jesus Christ, through Whom we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP18A “I Love You, Lord” or TPH520 “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”

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