Saturday, May 12, 2012


These are the last words of David:

The declaration of David son of Jesse, the declaration of the man raised on high, the one anointed by the God of Jacob, the favorite singer of Israel: The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me, His word was on my tongue.  The God of Israel spoke; the Rock of Israel said to me,

‘The one who rules the people with justice, who rules in the fear of God, is like the morning light when the sun rises on a cloudless morning, the glisten of rain on sprouting grass.’

Is it not true my house is with God?  For He has established an everlasting covenant with me, ordered and secured in every [detail].  Will He not bring about my whole salvation and [my] every desire?  (2 Samuel 23:1-5 HCSB)

The shadows are lengthening in David’s life.  He is headed toward sunset. All of us will come to that time. What will the last days of our journey bring? What will the last chapters of our story say? These chapters in many ways form a summary of the life of David. They are a microcosm of the man. David has been a singer, seer and soldier.  His life has been touched by God’s music, message and military.  We see him here in each of these roles.

THE MELODIES DAVID COMPOSED.  This is reflected in 2 Samuel 22.  David was a singer. He played the harp and wrote worship songs. Many psalms are composed by him. David is described as a man after God’s own heart—he was in tune with God. David had a passion for praise. Worship was at the core of his life. David knew the ministry of music—that it spoke to others and to his own heart. Haven’t you experienced this in listening to and singing out the songs of Zion? In this context, he composes this song, which is typical of the many the sweet singer shared. In fact, he is described as, the favorite singer of Israel” in 2 Samuel 23:1. There are four stanzas of this song.

The first stanza underscores that GOD IS A SHELTER IN THE STORM, (22:2-20).  In verses 2-7 we read:

He said:

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,  my God, my mountain where I seek refuge.  My shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge, and my Savior, You save me from violence.  I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies.  For the waves of death engulfed me; the torrents of destruction terrified me.  The ropes of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.

I called to the Lord in my distress; I called to my God.  From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry for help [reached] His ears.’ ”

The storms of life will come. We are not exempt from them—not even God’s champions can avoid them. Just as soon as David began to enjoy the warmth of sunny days, a thunderclap would sound, and another torrential downpour would burst upon him. God didn’t stop the storm, but He gave David a shelter in the storm. He will do that for us.  One day, we will reach Heaven’s harbor, but there will be stormy seas to sail through at times on our journey into a land where clouds never darken the skies.

The second stanza reminds us that GOD IS A LIGHT IN THE NIGHT, 22:21-31.  Consider verse 29, Lord, You are my lamp; the Lord illuminates my darkness.”  In another Psalm, he mentioned how God gave songs in the night. The night is coming, and David has already passed through some dark days of discouragement. But in his night, God gave light.

We want a searchlight, but God gives a lantern. He gives enough light to take the next step. That’s walking by faith.  We may not see all that we would like; often the ways of God are enshrouded in mystery.  Still, there is enough light to show us the way we should go—and that is enough to bring us safely home.

Stanza three stresses that GOD IS A FORTRESS IN THE FIGHT, 22:32-49.  For example:

For who is God besides the Lord?  And who is a rock? Only our God.  God is my strong refuge; He makes my way perfect.  He makes my feet like [the feet of] a deer and sets me securely on the heights.  He trains my hands for war; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  You have given me the shield of Your salvation; Your help exalts me. (v.32-36)

Life isn’t a playground, but a battleground. David knew about warfare. We’re in a war, dear friend.  Don’t become a spiritual casualty!   The enemy is real—and fierce.  But as Luther sang years after David, and years before us, “a mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.”  It is just as true today!

Then, the final stanza rejoices that GOD IS A TOWER IN OUR TROUBLE, Therefore I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing about Your name.  He is a tower of salvation for His king; He shows loyalty to His anointed, to David and his descendants forever.” (22:50-51). 

Job said that our days are full of trouble. Though we may not ever be in the same sphere of suffering as that godly man, still we may feel we are getting close!  None of our circumstances change the fact that God gives us a tower to run into when we are afraid.  People may be fickle—even those who profess to love us—but, God is faithful—He is perfect love.

As David heads toward sunset we hear the melodies David composed, but also THE MESSAGE DAVID PROPOSED.  This is the theme of 2 Samuel 23:1-7.  David was more than a singer, he was a seer—both poet and prophet. When these verses begin with the statement that these were the last words of David, it doesn’t mean these were the last things he ever spoke, for we have recorded additional statements—some of which would have been better left unspoken (see 2 Samuel 24 for instance). It means that these were the last inspired words, spoken under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as a prophet. David was a vehicle by which God delivered His truth.  This is the last word from God that he uttered.

We should recall THE SOURCE OF INSPIRATION, “These are the last words of David: The declaration of David son of Jesse, the declaration of the man raised on high, the one anointed by the God of Jacob, the favorite singer of Israel: The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me, His word was on my tongue.” (v.1-2).

We call the Bible, the Word of God, because that is what it is—a Word from God.  You can trust the Word to direct you for God is the source.  He has inspired it, and One with perfect knowledge is never mistaken, and with perfect love will never deceive us.

Neither should we fail to grasp THE SUBJECT OF REVELATION, “The God of Israel spoke; the Rock of Israel said to me,The one who rules the people with justice, who rules in the fear of God, is like the morning light when the sun rises on a cloudless morning, the glisten of rain on sprouting grass.’ ” (v.3-4). 

We trust the Word of God because He is the source of it and we teach the Word of God because He is the subject of it.  The Bible isn’t just a collection of moral propositions, though it surely contains those, nor mere narrative of historical actions, but, it is the revelation of Almighty God.  In its pages we meet Him—and what can be more important?  It’s transforming!

David’s life is in his twilight time and so we hear the melodies David composed and the message David proposed, but something else we see: THE MILITARY DAVID DISPOSED, (23:8-39).  David was a singer, seer, but also a soldier. As a battlefield general he saw to the disposition and direction of his troops.

The record points to DAVID’S FAMOUS WARRIORS (23:8-23). 

For example, we read,

These are the names of David's warriors: Josheb-basshebeth the Tahchemonite was chief of the officers. He wielded his spear against 800 [men] that he killed at one time. After him, Eleazar son of Dodo son of an Ahohite was among the three warriors with David when they defied the Philistines. The men of Israel retreated in the place they had gathered for battle, but Eleazar stood [his ground] and attacked the Philistines until his hand was tired and stuck to his sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day.  Then the troops came back to him, but only to plunder [the dead].  After him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines had assembled [in formation] where there was a field full of lentils. The troops fled from the Philistines, but Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field, defended it, and struck down the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.” (v.8-12).

David was a leader. He inspired others to valiant acts and victorious achievements. This is the law of magnetism—we attract the kind of followers we are as leaders. David was a strong soldier whose might was in the Lord and so he was able to gather others like that to follow him.  Are you raising up champions—in your family, in the church and community?

Finally, we have highlighted DAVID’S FAITHFUL WORKERS (23:24-39).  Here is a list of names, without a lot of notoriety.  Basically, the text states who they are—and that’s about it.  These were the little guys—the pluggers, you might call them. They weren’t in the spotlight, but they were at their post!  They might not have been very famous, but they were very faithful!  The army cannot win without generals, but generals won’t win without the infantry. Both are indispensable in the church. 

Maybe you think of yourself as a foot soldier.  You labor in obscurity.  You do the little things and not many seem to notice or to care.  Yet, you keep at it, and with joy in your heart, for it is loving service to the Lord.  Maybe it feels like you are a lowly servant washing feet (or wiping baby bottoms in the church nursery), but that is following the example of Jesus!  He notices—and one day your name will be called out in heaven.  It’s Saturday—tomorrow is Sunday, with work for God to be done in the house of God unto the people of God.  Will you be at your post?

Sunset is coming to all of us.  When the light fades on this side, we know an eternal Day will dawn soon.  May God help these last days to be our finest hour!

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