Devotion May 20, 2020
Many people turn to the Psalms when they are going through difficult circumstances in their lives. The Psalms are filled with comfort for troubled times. They are also rich with visual imagery. The author of so many of the Psalms in that book were written as songs by King David, some before he was king, some during his time as king. But in 2 Samuel 22 is another song written and sung by King David that rivals anything he wrote in Psalms in terms of imagery. It is often referred to as David’s song of deliverance.
One of the amazing things about the writing of David in his songs is his ability to point out the role God plays in his deliverance and protection. These word pictures that David paints are sources of great comfort and strength. In his song in 2 Samuel 22, we see David utilizing a number of these word pictures to describe God’s character. In fact, there are a number of them packed into the first couple lines of the song. “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence.” 2 Samuel 22:2-3
There, in the span of two verses, David uses ten different images for the manner in which God has protected and delivered him over the course of his life. Let’s take a moment to look at each one of these word pictures.
“The Lord is my rock” – David calls God his rock. He uses this to imagery to recall how God has been his source of strength during difficult times. When he felt as though he couldn’t stand up to the raging waters of life or circumstances, he clung to God, his rock, who is immovable no matter what comes.
“and my fortress” – David spent a good portion of his life on the run, first from Saul, later from Absalom. Other times, he would have enemy nations preparing to attack Israel. The picture of God as a fortress was a powerful one for David. A fortress is formal protection against enemy attacks. And while earthly fortresses can be laid siege and fall, God will never fall so we are safe in Him.
“and my deliverer” – Another picture of David dealing with enemies. Here he refers to God as his deliverer. No matter the plans or schemes of the enemy, God doesn’t just protect us, he delivers us from the danger.
“my God” – If we only look to God for protection during difficult times, it is easy to overlook God during good times. David is saying that God is not just his protector, but also the one he looks to for everything, from everyday living, to giving thanks for the good gifts in his life, to direction in how to walk in a righteous manner.
“my rock” – Here David repeats the image of God as his rock. Repetition in Scripture often shows an emphasis on an idea. There is an addition to this image of God as David’s rock. Here he includes the phrase “in whom I take refuge.” Later, he refers to God simply as his refuge. This image of the rock is not just about standing firm or strength, it is a picture of taking shelter in a cave. That during the driving storms of life, we have a place we can run and find shelter from the storm.
“my shield” – David now moves to an image of protection that is often associated with going into battle. David understood that life is a spiritual battle, as is seen in so many of his Psalms, and that God alone is the one who can provide protection from the enemies’ attacks.
“and the horn of my salvation” – This carries with it so many Biblical references. Often times, in the middle of a battle, when reinforcements would arrive, they would blow a horn to announce their arrival. This would serve two purposes. First, it would stir up the courage of the army they were there to provide support for, knowing that they had reinforcements backing them up. Second, it would strike fear into the enemy, as they realized that victory was not in their grasp, because the cavalry had arrived. We see the use of horns in battle all throughout the Old Testament. The horn was also blown upon the beginning of entering the battle. In this case, David is giving the credit for all his victories, all the times he was delivered from his enemies, not to his own strength or prowess on the battlefield, but to the strength of the Lord.
“my stronghold” – This imagery is similar to that of the fortress. David understood that when the enemy was on the attack, God was his stronghold. It was in God’s presence where David would find that protection from the advancing attacks.
“and my refuge” – Another image similar to previous ones mentioned in these two verses. This is the picture of a place someone can find shelter from a storm that shows no sign of letting up. A refuge was also used often to describe a harbor for ships when the seas were rough because of a storm. It is a place where one can find shelter, protection from the elements, and be able to wait out the strength of the storm. God does this same thing for us. When the storms of life rage around us, we are able to run to Him to find shelter and refuge.
“my savior, you save me from violence.” – This is a picture that we are so often familiar with. David’s use of the term savior referred to one who steps in between the attacking enemy and the one being attacked and takes care of the problem. David refers specifically to being saved from violence because so much of his life was spent on the battlefield. The image holds true for us spiritually as well. The enemy of sin was insurmountable. We were incapable of defeating it, so Jesus stepped in and went to the cross, rose from the dead, and defeated sin and death. He truly is our Savior!