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2 Samuel 22:17; 23:17 comment (0)

November 27, 2008

By Doug Wilson

Related Scripture: 2 Samuel 22:17; 23:17

Explore the Bible
Associate Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile

2 Samuel 22:1–7; 23:1–7

This lesson closes a defining era in Israel’s history. David’s kingdom introduces readers to a personal covenant that God establishes with David and reveals that even the best of men are apt to wander from the will of God. Sin results in death. In 2 Samuel, David faced the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, Uriah the Hittite, his unnamed son by Bathsheba and his sons Amnon and Absalom. He was surrounded by death. The old king was now facing his own mortality, and he addressed this issue — as everything else — with song. As we face life and death, we must approach them from God’s Word and through His salvation.

Concerning God (22:1–3)
David’s song is a near verbatim version of Psalm 18, in which he employs a number of metaphors to describe God.
Finding safety in tumultuous times was important for any warrior, and David was continuously aware of his secure relationship with the Lord because of His unchanging character. The king referred to God as his rock, his fortress, his deliverer, his refuge, his shield and his salvation, among other terms. A person without peace in his or her relationship with God is unprepared for dealing with the issues of life and death.

Concerning Death (22:4–7)
Throughout his life, David was often in mortal danger. His responsibilities as a shepherd brought him face to face with wild animals. As a musician in Saul’s court, he dodged spears from the king’s hand. After he ascended the throne, he faced threats from outside tribes and from his own flesh and blood. In all this, David did not presume upon the Lord, but he knew that God is faithful to keep His promises. By his own words, he was confronted with enemies, death, destruction, Sheol (Hebrew for “the grave”) and distress. 

David had no dread of death. Jesus instructed His disciples not to fear the one who can kill the body. Martin Luther wrote: “Let goods and kindred go/This mortal life also/The body they may kill/God’s truth abideth still/His kingdom is forever.”

Concerning Life (23:1–4)
“The last words of David” were basically his last will and testament. His lineage was addressed as a son of Jesse.
His calling from God as anointed king was emphasized. His popularity as a musician was mentioned. He identified himself as a prophet, for the Spirit of the Lord spoke through him. Unlike the legal wills of our day, this was a testimony to David’s relationship with God and to eternal matters, not to inheritance issues of temporal items gathered during one’s lifetime. This testimony may remind readers of Stephen, the first Christian martyr recorded in Scripture. When falsely accused of speaking against Moses, the Law, the temple and God, Stephen was given an opportunity to defend himself. So he offered an apologia, a legal defense presenting evidence from the Old Testament why the Jews must respond to Jesus as Messiah. For to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Concerning Salvation (23:5–7)
David knew his salvation was secure because God is faithful to His word. He knew his eternal house was with God.
He also knew God made an everlasting covenant by which a “house of David” and an eternal kingdom would be founded by the Lord (see 2 Sam. 7). He trusted in the faithfulness of God.

Many people live as if there is no God, and yet they desire the comfort of heaven for a family member who has died or for themselves when facing mortal danger. They do not know God, they fear death and they pursue life based on their own misconceptions or their culture’s ever-changing norms. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to God apart from Jesus.

We are called to repent of our sins and to trust in Jesus, who lived a sinless life, died a criminal’s death on a cross and rose from the dead on the third day. We must receive Him by faith as Lord, submitting our will to His. Has there been a time in your life when you have surrendered yourself to Jesus? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Do it today. Receive God’s salvation through Jesus today.

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