This chapter in Second Samuel is virtually identical to Psalm eighteen. Here King David describes how the Lord Yahweh delivered him from his enemies.
Who were these enemies? First, wicked King Saul who hurled spears at David, and pursued him with armed men in order to kill him. All this Saul did even though David was always loyal, helpful, and served Saul as a valiant warrior repeatedly.
Other enemies included Absalom, Davidís own son, who conspired to take over the kingdom from King David, and for a time succeeded. Also Sheba, a rebellious scoundrel who tried, and nearly succeeded, in drawing the ten northern tribes away from David.
Also the heathen nations were constant enemies of David and Israel: Ammon, Syria, Philistia, Moab, Edom, Amalek, and Zobah. These were all powerful nations that surrounded Israel. This is not even to mention the giants, including Goliath of Gath whom David slew, and some others that his men slew. David and his army fought many battles against all these.
David was constantly in deadly distress. He could have looked around at the danger he faced and said, ďWhere is the Lord who anointed me to be king? Why is He leaving me dangling over death like this? God is delaying too long.Ē So David might have turned away from the Lord. He might have mistrusted the promises of God and abandoned the path laid out for him.
This may sound implausible. How could a great hero of the faith like David doubt the Lord? But Saul did something similar. He became impatient because the Lord appeared to delay. Saul took matters into his own hands and disobeyed the commands of God. Likewise, David at his darker moments also became puffed up with his own success and strayed from the path of God. It can happen to great saints like these, so it can surely also happen to us.
The Lord God keep us from our own desire to mistrust and stray.
But David did not turn away in the face of his enemies. He trusted Godís promises. He remained humble before the Lordís mighty hand that delivered him.
In the end, the Lord gave victory to David against all these enemies. Yet David does not give credit to himself or his strength or his clever military strategies. He gives credit to God. He says that the Lord of Israel delivered David, so He gives thanks and praise to the Name of Jehovah.
David describes the success he gained as if the Lord made him into a super-powered warrior. He could run against a troop, as if he was so brave he could take on any number of enemies single-handed. He could leap over a wall, he says. This seems to be hyperbole, since if God gave David such miraculous leaping power in this life then it would have surely been recorded in Scripture. Instead, he is describing the great success God gave David constantly, so that troops and city walls fell to him with great speed and ease.
He equipped David with strength and gave him feet like a deer, that is, swift and agile. He set David secure on the heights, as if he was an agile mountain goat that could leap from rock to rock without danger.
We might view these descriptions with a kind of tolerant skepticism. To be sure, there is probably some hyperbole here as David describes how great Godís protective power is. That is the point: Not that David became a superman, but that God the Almighty was with Him to deliver from all his enemies.
But there is an even greater point. David knew, and of course the Lord knew, that a Son of David was coming who would be even more victorious over enemies. This One would prove Himself so powerful that no hyperbole could exceed His abilities. This Son of David is more agile than any deer, able to leap over anything He pleases, and stronger than Samson. This mightiest warrior, Jesus Christ, has no equal. He is both Davidís Son and Davidís Lord.
He entered the battle fray on our behalf.
The enemies that threatened us would surely overwhelm us. Not just sinful nations and persecuting tyrants hated us. Most of all, the enemy of all good, the devil, wanted to destroy us. The gates of hell stood against us, and none of us could scale or leap over those walls.
But Christ could. He joined them in battle, since He is the strongest of all. He did not fight as an earthly warrior, grappling or shooting arrows or throwing javelins or slashing with a sword. No, Christ fought by giving Himself as the Ransom for us sinners. His life was the weapon that He wielded, and His Blood shook all the powers of darkness. His last breath and then His coming to life again made the gates of hell shatter and fall.
This is our Champion. When David speaks of God being his Lamp and his Shield, we can apply these words to Christ. For who shields us from the fiery arrows of the evil one more than Christ? Who shines upon us more brightly than the Son of Mary, the Light of the world?
Christ is our Rock and Refuge. We find shelter in Him against the stormy blasts. Troubles and tribulations surely come, but our Lord is firm and secure through all of them. We can put our trust in Him, since He is a Rock that never wears away with wind or rain or earthquake. He will keep us secure even through death, as surely as the stone was rolled from the entrance to His tomb.
This Champion was also Davidís Champion. It is not that Christ Jesus physically stood before David to fight his enemies. But every success was from the true God. More than that, David says, ďThis God has made my way blameless.Ē Both in redemption and sanctification, Christ the Son of David was Davidís blamelessness. He cleansed Him and purified him from every sin. He also kept him blameless in his conduct in life. Not that David was perfect by any means. Yet David humbled himself before God, and God watched over his ways and guided him in paths of righteousness for His Nameís sake.
With the humble, the Lord Yahweh does this. With those who attend to His Word and trust His promises, He proves the truth of His Word for them by giving them all the blessings He has won in Christ. With those who submit themselves to the mercy of God, He also makes them reflect that mercy in their lives. It is not with the proud that the Lord delights. He is against them, and will bring them down. But to the lowly He gives success.
You may not see that success in your life. You may struggle and find frustration. You may experience rejection and pain and sorrow repeatedly. Do not let it trouble you. David also felt much distress. He wept and fought and was nothing but a homeless fugitive for years. Yet when he looked back and saw the pattern of his life, he recognized Godís hand and the victories He had won.
Your life is also victorious, since you are justified in Christ. But do not look for evidence in what your eyes see. You may or may not find it there. Instead trust the promises, not your eyes. Christ will be victorious in you in the end. He cannot fail. Will you doubt the mighty Son of David, as if He cannot do it? Of course He can, and He will. It will not always look like you think it should look. But even as you stand against the anti-Christian forces in this world, the Lord is winning the victory. Even if they take your life, you win eternally. In this way, the deaths of the martyrs were an overwhelming conquest. In the same way also, the Cross is the greatest victory of all, that looked like defeat.
So judge your life by that Cross, and by the Empty Tomb. In faith, you trust that God is your Shield and Rock, your Lamp and your Defender.
In His Name, the great God of our salvation. Amen.
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