He parted the heavens and came down with dark clouds beneath His feet.
The distress referred to is graphically described in vers. 5, 6, 17,18. The interposition of God for the psalmist's deliverance is poetically depicted in vers. 8-20. The connecting link is given in this verse. David, in his danger and trouble, called on God, and therefore he was delivered. We have here -
I. DISTRESS. This may arise from various causes; such as:
1. Enemies. As in David's case, with the dangers of the battles fought against them. There are many forms less extreme in which the enmity of men may show itself and occasion pain or peril.
2. Circumstances. Worldly losses and anxieties.
3. Personal affliction. Of body or mind. Special distress from afflictions which implicate the nerves, and so the mind itself.
4. Death of dear friends.
5. Conviction of sin. (See Psalm 32:3, 4.) It would be well if this form of distress were more common.
6. Pressure of powerful temptation. The mighty and threatening uprising of inward corruptions, or the pressing solicitations of evil from without.
7. Fear of calamities or of death.
II. PRAYER. Natural for men to call upon God when they are in great trouble or danger. Yet all do not; and of many the prayers are unacceptable, because they lack the moral and spiritual elements of successful prayer (see Hosea 7:14). Prayer, to be acceptable, must be:
1. That of a righteous man. (Vers. 21-25; James 5:16; Psalm 66:18.) Yet the prayers of one who is stirred by his affliction to sincere repentance will be heard; for repentance is the beginning of righteousness.
2. Offered in faith. (Matthew 21:22.)
3. Importunate and persevering. (Luke 11:8, seq.; Luke 18:1-8.)
4. Accompanied, where practicable, with the use of appropriate means. David fought vigorously as well as prayed earnestly.
III. DELIVERANCE. The Almighty heard the psalmist's voice "out of his temple" (equivalent to "the heavens"), and, interposing in majesty and power, delivered him, discomfiting and scattering his foes. True prayer is always heard and answered; but the deliverance granted is often not according to our conceptions and desires, yet ever according to the perfect wisdom and goodness of our heavenly Father. Sometimes the causes of our distress are removed; sometimes they are allowed to continue, but the distress is allayed, and the causes turned into blessings. So it was with St. Paul's "thorn in the flesh," although he prayed earnestly and repeatedly (2 Corinthians 12:8-10) Spiritual deliverance, however, is always granted to those who truly seek it; and ultimately complete rescue from all that afflicts the Christian.
IV. GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE AND THANKSGIVING. Although David's victories were wrought through the skill and valour of himself and his troops, he gives to God all the glory of them; for he knew that all was due to him. His example will be followed by the Christian, as he reviews life and calls to mind his distresses and deliverances. He will recognize the hand of God in all, and render praise to him who both furnishes the means of deliverance and exercises the power which renders them successful. Finally, let none wait for trouble before they begin to pray. Live in the habit of prayer, and you will be able, when trouble comes, to pray truly and successfully. Otherwise you may find yourself in the miserable condition of those described in ver. 42, who "looked even unto the Lord, but he answered them not." - G.W.
He bowed the heavens also and came down.
In 1808 there was a meeting of the Emperors of France and Russia at Erfurt. There were distinguished men there from other lands. It was so arranged that when any of the Emperors arrived at the door of the reception-room the drum should beat three times; but when a lesser dignitary should come, then the drum would sound but twice. After a while the people in the audience-chamber heard two taps of the drum. They said, "A prince is coming." But after a while there were three taps, and they cried, "The Emperor!" Oh, there is a more glorious arrival at your soul to-night. The drum beats twice at the coming of the lesser joys and congratulations of your soul; but it beats once, twice, thrice, at the coming in of a glorious King — Jesus the Saviour, Jesus the God. I congratulate you. All are yours — things present and things to come.
"God lives," that is the armour that David had. You cannot see it; it does not glisten in the sun; but he has it; God is with him. There are two sovereigns who never move from their capitals. The Pope sticks to the Vatican — it is papal etiquette; and the Sultan, he has remained for fifteen years within the bounds of his capital — it is Mahommedan etiquette. But God is not like that. God, as it were, leaves high heaven, and He has betaken" Himself to this young David's side. Oh, warrior for Christ, why should you be downhearted? Why should you be sad? Why should not your vision be glorified so that you can behold the horses and the chariots of the living God? In the battle against sin: the armour you have is the consciousness of the living God. David knows God.
TopicsBent, Bowed, Clouds, Dark, Darkness, Heaven, Heavens, Inclineth, Thick
Outline1. David's psalm of thanksgiving for God's deliverance and blessings
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 22:2-51
8609 prayer, as praise and thanksgiving
2 Samuel 22:8-16
1045 God, glory of
2 Samuel 22:10-11
1210 God, human descriptions
2 Samuel 22:10-12
4810 darkness, natural
2 Samuel 22:10-15
4855 weather, God's judgment
LibraryDavid's Hymn of victory
'For Thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that, rose up against me hast Thou subdued under me. 41. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me. 42. They looked, but there was none to save; even unto the Lord, but He answered them not. 43. Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad. 44. Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people, Thou hast …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
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Frederick Temple—Essays and Reviews: The Education of the World
The First Commandment
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Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments
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IN the present crusade against the Bible and the Faith of Christian men, the task of destroying confidence in the first chapter of Genesis has been undertaken by Mr. C. W. Goodwin, M.A. He requires us to "regard it as the speculation of some Hebrew Descartes or Newton, promulgated in all good faith as the best and most probable account that could be then given of God's Universe." (p. 252.) Mr. Goodwin remarks with scorn, that "we are asked to believe that a vision of Creation was presented to him …
John William Burgon—Inspiration and Interpretation
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Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12
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'And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. 2. And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. 3. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink. 4. And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. 5. And the daughter of Pharaoh came …
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Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity
Alike from the literary and the historical point of view, the book of Samuel stands midway between the book of Judges and the book of Kings. As we have already seen, the Deuteronomic book of Judges in all probability ran into Samuel and ended in ch. xii.; while the story of David, begun in Samuel, embraces the first two chapters of the first book of Kings. The book of Samuel is not very happily named, as much of it is devoted to Saul and the greater part to David; yet it is not altogether inappropriate, …
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