He made darkness a canopy around Him, a gathering of water and thick clouds.
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.
TopicsCanopies, Canopy, Clouds, Dark, Darkness, Gathering, Gatherings, Mass, Pavilions, Rain, Round, Setteth, Skies, Sky, Tabernacles, Tent, Thick, Waters
Outline1. David's psalm of thanksgiving for God's deliverance and blessings
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 22:12
2 Samuel 22:2-51
8609 prayer, as praise and thanksgiving
2 Samuel 22:8-16
1045 God, glory of
2 Samuel 22:10-12
4810 darkness, natural
2 Samuel 22:10-15
4855 weather, God's judgment
LibraryDavid's Hymn of victory
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Frederick Temple—Essays and Reviews: The Education of the World
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