TRUST IN TIMES OF TROUBLE
Lord, Your faithfulness to me in all situations knows no end.
Read 2 SAMUEL 22:1–30
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. 2 He said:
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
from violent people you save me.
4 “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and have been saved from my enemies.
5 The waves of death swirled about me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
6 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
7 “In my distress I called to the Lord;
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears.
8 The earth trembled and quaked,
the foundations of the heavens shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
9 Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
10 He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
11 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
12 He made darkness his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
13 Out of the brightness of his presence
bolts of lightning blazed forth.
14 The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
15 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
16 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at the rebuke of the Lord,
at the blast of breath from his nostrils.
17 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
20 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
21 “The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
22 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
I am not guilty of turning from my God.
23 All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.
24 I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.
25 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to my cleanness in his sight.
26 “To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
27 to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
28 You save the humble,
but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.
29 You, Lord, are my lamp;
the Lord turns my darkness into light.
30 With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord” (Psa. 121:1,2a).
David’s song (practically identical with Psalm 18) deals with reflections on his life and kingship. The opening verse reflects David’s troubles with Saul (1), but because it is placed after Absalom’s rebellion, it forces us to reflect on David’s entire reign. The references to “rock” (2), “horn” (i.e., strength; 3),“king” and “anointed” (51) evoke Hannah’s song at the threshold of the Israelite monarchy (1 Sam. 2:1,2,10) and thereby create an envelope structure to the books of Samuel. Both emphasize God’s power against overwhelming odds and highlight the divine reversal of the weak becoming strong and the mighty becoming powerless (18,28; 1 Sam. 2:4).
God’s protection was evident to David when he was running from Saul and more than once escaped certain death(5,6; 1 Sam. 23:24–29). David’s cry for help in distress was heard (7), and God came to his rescue as a mighty divine warrior (8–20). David knows his own weakness and learned early on that true kingship is based on trust in the Lord who enables, not on proud self-reliance (28–30).
It is remarkable that David attributes God’s help to David’s own righteousness and blamelessness (21–25)—not sinless perfection but an attitude of faithful commitment to God. David has demonstrated this in his unwavering trust in God against Goliath and in his repeated unwillingness to kill Saul and seize royal power (1 Sam. 24,26). This is not about earning God’s favor by works. Rather, it shows that God responds to our behavior (26,27). When David abuses his royal power to take a woman that is not his and covers up his act with murder, God responds through Absalom’s rebellion. Ultimately, his repentance and willingness to endure God’s discipline shows why he is eventually vindicated.
What is the most harrowing experience from which God has delivered you?
Teach us, Lord, to recognize our need of You and to live by trust, not by self-reliance.