A Saviour’s Anthem

David sang of God’s saving grace in different seasons of life. 

2 Samuel 22  

22 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 saviour – 
    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. 

31 ‘As for God, his way is perfect: 
    the Lord’s word is flawless; 
    he shields all who take refuge in him. 
32 For who is God besides the Lord? 
    And who is the Rock except our God? 
33 It is God who arms me with strength 
    and keeps my way secure. 
34 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; 
    he causes me to stand on the heights. 
35 He trains my hands for battle; 
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 
36 You make your saving help my shield; 
    your help has made me great. 
37 You provide a broad path for my feet, 
    so that my ankles do not give way. 

38 ‘I pursued my enemies and crushed them; 
    I did not turn back till they were destroyed. 
39 I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; 
    they fell beneath my feet. 
40 You armed me with strength for battle; 
    you humbled my adversaries before me. 
41 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, 
    and I destroyed my foes. 
42 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them – 
    to the Lord, but he did not answer. 
43 I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth; 
    I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets. 

44 ‘You have delivered me from the attacks of the peoples; 
    you have preserved me as the head of nations. 
People I did not know now serve me, 
45     foreigners cower before me; 
    as soon as they hear of me, they obey me. 
46 They all lose heart; 
    they come trembling from their strongholds. 

47 ‘The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! 
    Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Saviour! 
48 He is the God who avenges me, 
    who puts the nations under me, 
49     who sets me free from my enemies. 
You exalted me above my foes; 
    from a violent man you rescued me. 
50 Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; 
    I will sing the praises of your name. 

51 ‘He gives his king great victories; 
    he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, 
    to David and his descendants for ever.’ 

Our Bibles record this song here at the end of 2 Samuel, but also in a very similar form as Psalm 18 with the same introduction. Here are some reasons why this song exists in two places in the Bible… 

As a song, David probably sang this at different times, specifically when God delivered him from Saul but also when God delivered him from other enemies. The placing of this song just before David’s last words (see tomorrow’s Grow Daily) also suggests that David sang this at the end of his life. 

As a songwriter, David might have tweaked the song over time in different seasons of life. I know (as a songwriter myself) that songs can feel like ‘living’ things that develop over time.  

As someone who received God’s deliverance throughout his whole life, the meaning of these words for David probably expanded and changed over time. As a young man, David would have experienced God’s deliverance in the defeat of Goliath, but how much more would David have appreciated God’s saving grace after the countless military victories we’ve read over the last few weeks? As a young man after God’s own heart David could boast of his righteousness, but how much more would David have appreciated God’s saving grace after being forgiven for adultery and murder (cf. 2 Samuel 11-12)? 

This truly was a song – an anthem – for David to sing and enjoy at different times of life and be continually reminded that God is Saviour, and that He saves His people. 

These days we often pick something up to enjoy intensely for a short time, and then forget about it. But our God isn’t like that. He will always be our rock, and our experience of that will deepen and change over our whole lives as we revisit his saving work in different ways and in different seasons. 

Head: In what way is God a deliverer for you in your particular season? i.e. a fortress from enemies (v3)? A holy deity (vv7-16)? A personal help (vv17-20)? A reward (vv21-25)? A light (v29)? An equipper (vv33-37)? 

Heart: Which verses warm your heart / give you the ‘feels’? Meditate on these verses. 

Hands: Revisit a song of praise you used to sing in a different season of life. How can you appreciate the music and the lyrics differently in your current season? Share your new appreciation with someone. (Listen to a modern reworking of a 500-year-old hymn by Martin Luther below) 

Prayer: Our Rock and our Redeemer, praise be to you! Thank you for being the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank you for reaching down and taking hold of me. May I grow in my appreciation of who You are and what You’ve done! Please continue to preserve my life for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

A song to listen to: A Mighty Fortress is our God  

Reuben Birchley 

Living Church – Creek Road