2 Samuel 22:1–23:23
This chapter is almost identical to Psalm 18. It’s a look back at David’s life and the way the LORD transformed his troubles into triumphs. Although David made many mistakes, and had his setbacks, his heart was in a good place, as Paul summarized in Acts 13:22 (referring to 1 Samuel 13:14), how David had a heart after God’s own heart. His name means “Beloved,” and God showed and showered him with His gracious love.
David gave God all the glory for the victory over his enemies. This soldier was not ashamed to say that he prayed, and God answered, that it wasn’t him and his skill as a warrior, it was the LORD who gave him favor in his fights. David almost died, many times.
2 Samuel 22:6–7 (NKJV) “The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me. 7 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry entered His ears.”
Let’s keep praying! God will move on our behalf – though it may take some time, don’t lose heart (Luke 18:1).
The Lord will come, He will “invade” our world on our behalf, and one day we’ll say the same thing David said:
2 Samuel 22:19b (NKJV) “…but the LORD was my support.”
When David speaks of God rewarding him for his righteousness, we understand two things. First of all, anything good in us is God, His righteousness is imputed and imparted to us. Secondly, David WAS blameless, he wasn’t guilty of what Saul and others accused him of, he was innocent of the specific accusations against him.
God gave David victory after victory, but God also gave David strength and wisdom to fight victoriously. It was through God that David was able to run, and leap, and have the strength to swing swords, shoot arrows with his arms; God even gave him that courage in his heart.
After all that David went through, I thought it was interesting that David described God as a gentle God, even to the point of saying that it was God’s gentleness that made David great (2 Samuel 22:36).
David didn’t just beat his enemies, he beat them down, and it was done because God had armed him with strength for the battle (2 Samuel 22:38-43).
God gave David domestic and foreign favor. God was his Rock of salvation, his avenger, his deliverer; David sees it so clearly now as his life takes its final turn and he writes this Psalm as an expression of gratitude.
2 Samuel 22:50 (NKJV) “Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name.”
In 2 Samuel 23 we have some of the final words of David – he knew who he was. Just a man (the son of Jesse), but a man God had graciously raised up and anointed to be a king and the sweet Psalmist of Israel. It’s okay to discover who we are in Christ – without Him we are nothing and can do nothing, but in Him and with Him we’re blessed beyond measure and able to do, “all things through Christ who strengthens us.”
God not only spoke through David, He spoke to David, loud and clear:
2 Samuel 23:3b (NKJV) “He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”
May all leaders take heed!
God would show grace to David’s house and lineage, but the sons of rebellion would be thrust away.
Finally, I always love reading about David’s soldiers, his mighty men of valor (heroic courage). I love the way Eleazar’s hand stuck to the sword (2 Samuel 23:10) symbolic of the way our hands and heart need to stick to God’s Word, the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). I love the way Abishai killed the lion, in a pit, on a snowy day. This points to a victory over the worst enemy, in the worst place, and under the worst circumstances (2 Samuel 23:20). No doubt the lion is symbolic of Satan. As Christians, we also, are soldiers in Jesus’ army (2 Timothy 2:3-4). May God grant us that grace to fight valiantly.
The Feast of Pentecost had fully come. Jewish tradition tells us that the law was given on the Day of Pentecost. The Bible tells us that when the law was given, there were accompanying signs that brought fear to the people of Israel and caught their attention. Jewish tradition also tells us that when God marked out the nations in Genesis 10, He marked them out to 70 nations. After the Tower of Babel this led to 70 languages. Here in Acts 2, we have an undoing of the Tower of Babel (so to speak). God got their attention with the noise of the rushing mighty wind, and flames of fire over 120 people, and then tongues spoken in their native languages, to men who had come from all over the world, in all their languages.
It’s no wonder some asked, “Whatever could this mean?” (Acts 2:12)
Peter then stands up and delivers an amazing message.
He begins by backing up their practice/experience, Biblically. Peter quotes from the book of Joel, how God would pour out His Spirit in the last days, how God’s sons and daughters would prophesy, in the sense that they were speaking miraculously. Of course all this was not simply a sign to itself, the sign was intended to lead others to God…so we read:
Joel 2:32 (NKJV) “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
It’s interesting that Peter goes on to preach the Name of Jesus, the Lord Jesus Christ, offering more Scriptural support out of Psalm 16:8-11 and Psalm 110:1, Christ crucified, and risen from the dead.
Sandy Adams said, “Peter, the man who proved chicken when the rooster crowed, now preaches with power. The power of Pentecost turns wimps into witnesses!”
We also need the personal power of the Holy Spirit. Have you been baptized with the Spirit as a believer? Do you seek to be filled daily with the Spirit? Read Luke 11:9-13 and Ephesians 5:18. We can’t only be determined, we must be dependent upon God, we need Him, and we must be under His influence.
By the Word of God anointed by the Spirit of God, the people were cut to the heart (convicted by God). They asked Peter for the next step, and Peter guides them in:
Acts 2:38–39 (NKJV) “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.’”
Not that baptism saves us, it’s simply an outward expression of an inward work. To be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ is an expression of faith in Jesus Christ – and this is how we’re saved. It’s a promise to us, and our children, and every generation to come.
On that first altar call 3,000 souls were added to the church born that day. Wow!
And God began to move. The saint became steadfast.
Acts 2:42 (NKJV) “And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
Acts 2:42 is the key to victory and growth. These are to be the practices for us as Christians, individually and congregationally. Am I (are you) practicing these four fundamentals faithfully?
1. The Word of God (the Bible)
2. Fellowship (talking together about the things of God, the deep things of God)
3. The Breaking of Bread (taking communion together, centered on the cross)
4. Prayer (never give up on your prayer life individually and with others)
Acts 2:47b (NKJV) “…and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
As we do our part, God will do His.
Another Psalm of Ascents; the people would sing these songs as they journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate the various feasts.
Warren Wiersbe, “Do you really rejoice when you have opportunity to go to God’s house and worship Him? We today can travel easily to a place of worship, but the ancient Jews had to walk a long distance. Yet the pilgrim was happy to go to God’s house.”
Jerusalem is compact, many people in a relatively small geographical setting, but it’s because Jerusalem was blessed with the temple, it was the place of David’s descendants – therefore the people were joyful in going to Jerusalem and therefore all people are called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Today when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we not only think of the Jews, we think of all people, for ultimately peace will not happen, until the Prince of Peace, Jesus, comes and rules the world from the city of Jerusalem.
V. 19 – It’s better to be poor and humbly saved, than to be rich and proudly doomed. Jesus poses that pressing question:
Mark 8:36 (NKJV) “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”
V. 20 – In one sense we can see here the formula for success. We don’t just read the Word, we get passionate about obeying God’s Word, we, “…heed it wisely.” And the reason we do so is because we trust God completely. I thoroughly and unreservedly believe that God knows what’s best for me. As I do things His way, I find the “secret” to happiness.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.