David’s Song of Deliverance
“I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies” (v. 4).- 2 Samuel 22:1–20
Continuing his concluding section regarding the life and reign of David, the author of 2 Samuel features in chapter 22 what the ESV calls “David’s Song of Deliverance.” Found also in Psalm 18, this song celebrates David’s deliverance “from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul” (2 Sam. 22:1). This indicates that it may have been written early in David’s reign, just after Saul’s death, or perhaps even earlier after one of the many occasions that David escaped Saul. Yet, given that David escaped from many enemies over the course of his life—Absalom, Saul, Sheba, the Philistines, and more—the author appropriately puts the song here. Indeed, God’s deliverance of His anointed king David is one theme that characterizes the life of the son of Jesse.
In this song, David poetically describes how the Lord rescued him, emphasizing the Lord’s power. Note verses 8–16, where David refers to earthquakes, thunder, arrows of lightning, the laying bare of the earth’s foundation, and other acts of God. Interestingly, we have seen little if any of this in 1–2 Samuel. The Lord rescued David, but often it was in a less spectacular fashion than what 2 Samuel 22 describes. The Lord used such means as a slingshot, a deep sleep, a Philistine army, and a friend to rescue David, not an earthquake, a lightning storm, or other such natural events (1 Sam. 17; 23:24–29; 26; 2 Sam. 15:32–37; 17:1–18:18).
Why, then, does David speak of God’s deliverance in such an exalted way? We may suggest at least two reasons. First, David clearly wants us to see God in all His glory. The Lord who rescued him is the same Almighty God who controls the forces of nature even if He did not rescue David by those forces. Second, David wants us to know that the God who controls the weather, the land, and the sea does not have to use such means to rescue His servants. He can—and more often than not does—rescue His people in ordinary ways.
Let us conclude today by noting that David’s deliverance is a type of the deliverance everyone who trusts in David’s greatest Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, will enjoy. God will ultimately rescue His people from all their enemies by appointing them as kings and queens over His new creation (2 Tim. 2:12). Matthew Henry comments, “We shall never be delivered from all our enemies till we get to heaven; and to that heavenly kingdom God will preserve all that are his.”
The Lord frequently delights to preserve us in more ordinary ways. In fact, we likely escape many dangers that we are never aware of because God is guarding us in ordinary ways—for example, perhaps the alarm never goes off and makes us run late so as to keep us from being involved in a car accident that would have occurred had we been on time. Let us thank the Lord for His protection, including the protection we never see.
Passages for Further Study
2 Corinthians 1:8–11
2 Peter 2:9