Who is your rock in your life? Everyone runs to something or to someone when in trouble or when life gets difficult. Where we turn reveals a lot of about who or what we trust. David has been through many life difficulties. We are studying the epilogue of David’s life as recorded in 2 Samuel 21-24. What is presented to us are two songs that describe the whole life of David and the summary of his life will be the points for teaching us today.
How Do You End a Book? (22:1-51)
So how do you end a book? When we started the books of 1 and 2 Samuel the hope was for a king who would change the hearts of the people to God. The book of Judges ended that there was no king in Israel and everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes. First Samuel opened with Hannah whose prayer was that the Lord would judge the earth, give strength to his king, and exalt the horn of the anointed (2:10). Look at the first verse of 2 Samuel 22. “And David spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul” (2 Samuel 22:1 ESV). The set up to the song is the faithfulness of God. The Lord has delivered David from all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. This is the setting for the song that follows. As you look at chapter 22 you can see the whole of the chapter is this song. This song is also recorded as Psalm 18 in our scriptures. The psalm describes how the Lord has been David’s rock and fortress throughout his life, rescuing from all of his troubles. We covered this psalm recently in our Bible class. Therefore I do not want to go through it line by line since we just did this together. Rather I want us to see the big message of this psalm and how it relates to God and David.
The Lord is the place where David runs for salvation and refuge (22:2). The Lord is his rock. The start to David’s song connects us back to the beginning of the book with Hannah’s song who started with similar words. Listen to Hannah’s song. “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no rock like our God” (1 Samuel 2:2 NIV). The whole message of the book is to see your faithful God who can be trusted to be your rock, your fortress, and your savior. God is worthy of being your rock in times of trouble.
Think about all the places we can be tempted to run to in times of trouble. Think about all the people we can be tempted to run to in times of trouble. None of those people and none of those objects are rocks that can support us in times of trouble. Wealth cannot rescue us from life’s problems. Often wealth is a cause for our problems. But money and possessions are terrible saviors because they often are not there for us when we need it most. People are also terrible saviors because they can let us down. They are weak and frail and cannot help us. They can listen but they cannot solve our problems. They have their own problems and their own issues just like us. So what I want us to see is that the places and people that we often turn to in most difficult times have all let us down to some degree. They are not perfect saviors and cannot be the rock that we need. But God is the perfect savior and the perfect rock we need. He does not let his people down and is not held back by a lack of knowledge, a lack of ability, or a lack of power.
I want us to see this hope in verse 20. “He rescued me, because he delighted in me.” God delights in being our rescuer. God loves to be the rock we need in our lives. God is there for us and wants to be the support for our lives especially when life is difficult. God loves you and takes delight in you. He is offering to be your help. Listen to what you will find when you run to him.
“You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light.” (2 Samuel 22:29 NIV)
God is the light you need for your life. He is the one who can show you the way through the darkness that comes in your life. Let God be your rock and your light and he can show you the way through your difficulties and suffering.
David’s Final Words (23:1-7)
Paired with the song of deliverance, chapter 23 records the last words of David. We should not read this as saying that this was the last words he ever uttered from his mouth. Rather, this is the final teaching of David. This is his final proclamation. The Spirit of the Lord is on him and David will proclaim God’s message (23:2-3). This final proclamation is another declaration of God’s faithfulness. In verses 3-4 David notes how the Lord blesses those who serve him and faithful rule in the fear of the Lord. David wants you to see what the Lord has done for him. David turned his heart to the Lord and the Lord made an everlasting covenant with him and made his house secure (23:5). He will increase all my help and all my desires because he has been looked to God to be his rock.
David is always put forward as a model for us in the scriptures, not only as a model of the Christ. David is always telling people to look at what God did for him and see that he can do that for you. Let the Lord be your rock and he can bless your life. Seek the Lord and he will be your help. Desire the Lord and he will grant your desires. In verses 6-7 David shows that if we do not seek the Lord it is only going to be disaster for us. “Worthless men are cast aside like thorns.” “They are utterly consumed with fire.” This is what happened to David’s enemies. This is what happened to Goliath. This is what happened to Saul and his sons. This is what happened to Amnon and Absalom. You can trust in the Lord to deal with the enemies and carry your through your difficulties.
Not only David setting up his final words as a promise to us, but the prophets did the same thing. God wants us to look at David’s life and see how this is promised to us as well. Look at Isaiah 55.
Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. (Isaiah 55:3 ESV)
God will be faithful to you as he was faithful to David. He will show you steadfast, sure love like he showed to David. Let the Lord be your rock. He will be faithful to you.
David’s Mighty Ones (23:8-39)
The section ends with naming the mighty warriors of David. This is a listing of the heroes who served David. The accounts that are given are simply amazing. For example, in verse 8 we are told about one of David’s men who killed 800 with a spear at one time. In verses 9-10 we read about another who fought the Philistines when Israel had retreated. He struck down so many Philistines that his hand was tired.
An interesting event is recorded for us in verse 14. David longed for the water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem. You can imagine David camped with his men around a fire and him talking about missing home and how good the water was there. Three mighty warriors broke through the Philistine camp, drew water from that well, and brought it back to David. David is so humbled and amazed by the devotion of these men, he refused to drink it but poured it out on the ground as an offering to the Lord. We read this and are stunned by David pouring it out. But David was honoring what these men. The water was so valuable and represented the lives of these men who risked their lives for him that it made the water worthy of an offering to God. He is thanking the Lord for these men who are so dedicated to him.
More of the mighty warriors are listed. Abishai killed 300 men with his spear (23:18). Benaiah struck down Moab’s mighty warriors and went down into a pit and killed a lion (23:20). He was held in great honor but was not numbered among the three great warriors for David. In verse 24 we get the listing of the 30 notable warriors of David. These were great fighters who served their king. Please look at the last name given in the list, which is found in verse 39. Uriah the Hittite was one of the 30 great warriors who were dedicated to David. Uriah is the final name in the list. Uriah is remembered by God. Uriah is written in God’s book. Friends, he is remembered by God and noted for all eternity as a faithful servant of the king, a king who slept with his wife and killed him to cover up his own sin.
But we need to back up and see the big picture that is given to us in these two chapters. These two chapters are about David calling upon people to trust in the Lord as their rock because he is faithful. Is there any greater proof of this reality than ending this section with the words, “Uriah the Hittite?” God is faithful and will be your rock even in your greatest failure. God can still remain faithful to you when you make your greatest life mistakes. Your relationship with God is not over or forever severed. The Lord delivered David from all his enemies and calls for us to see that God will be faithful to us and show his steadfast love for us also. Our most appalling sins can be covered by God’s grace.
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:20–21 ESV)
God will be your rock. You can run to him and find mercy and grace. He can turn your darkness into light. He will give you help for your life. What else have you run to in your life that has let you down? We can only go forward if we have God as our rock and our hope. Do not put your hope in things that do not help or in people that are weak and unable to truly help. Put your hope in God. Build your life on the rock of Jesus.