My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation. My stronghold, my refuge, and my Savior, You save me from violence.
What a wonderful effect the light of God's countenance has upon men who have the Divine life in them, but who have been living in the dark! Travellers tell us that, in the vast forests of the Amazon and the Orinoco, you may sometimes see, on a grand scale, the influence Of light in the colouring of the plants when the leaf-buds are developing One says: — "Clouds and rain sometimes obscure the atmosphere for several days together, and during this time the buds expand themselves into leaves. But these leaves have a pallid hue till the sun appears, when in a few hours of dear sky and splendid sunshine, their colour is changed to a vivid green. It has been related that, during twenty days of dark, dull weather, the sun not once making his appearance, the leaves were expanded to their full size, but were almost white. One forenoon the sun began to shine in full brightness, when the colour of the forest changed so rapidly that its progress might be marked. By the middle of the afternoon, the whole, for many miles, presented the usual summer dress."
The psalm was composed as a thanksgiving for the safety and deliverances David had experienced when Saul so persistently sought to destroy him, and afterwards in the wars with the house of Saul, and with the heathen tribes that set themselves against him. It appears to belong to an earlier period than the place it occupies in the book would indicate. It is scarcely possible that David could have asserted his uprightness and innocence in the strong terms of vers. 21-25 after his great sins. These verses form the introduction to the psalm, and express in emphatic language the safety and salvation which David had found in God. The Christian may use the words of the similar perils to which he is exposed, and of others not immediately in the psalmist's view.
I. THE DANGERS TO WHICH WE ARE EXPOSED. Bodily, mental, spiritual. To reputation. From our own constitutional tendencies. From diseases and accidents. From the malice of men, and their favour. From prosperity and adversity. From solitude and society. From labours, rest, and pleasures. From Satan and his angels. From the broken Law and injured justice of God. Always and everywhere, under all circumstances and conditions, we are all exposed to perils.
II. THE SAFETY AND DELIVERANCE TO BE FOUND IN GOD. The psalmist labours to express his sense of the protection, safety, and deliverance which God had vouchssfed to him, yea, which God himself had been to him. The imagery he uses is taken chiefly from natural features of Palestine, with which he had become especially familiar as affording refuge and safety during the time that he was hunted by Saul. He calls him "my Rock," in the heights and recesses of which he had been safe from his foes; "my Fortress," his fortified castle, too high to be reached, too strong to be broken into; "my Deliverer," by whose aid he had escaped from many a peril; "the God of my Rock," equivalent to "my mighty God;" "my Shield and the Horn of my salvation," at once protecting him in battle and pushing his enemies to their destruction; "my high Tower," or lofty Retreat; "my Refuge and my Saviour." What the Almighty was to David he is to all his people. We may use similar language. Our dangers may not be so fearful in appearance, or so numerous, or so obvious; but they are as real and serious. And our safety and deliverance must come from "the Lord." The words of the text show that it is not only what he employs for our good, nor what he himself does, but what he is, that assures of safety. Not only does he afford protection and secure deliverance; he is our Protector and Deliverer. In his almightiness, love, knowledge, wisdom, universal presence, observation, and operation, we realize salvation. In Jesus Christ, his very righteousness has become our friend, and assures us of victory. The safety thus assured is not absolute immunity from trouble, but protection from the evil it might produce, and change of its character. The righteous are visited with calamities similar to those which befall the wicked, and in some conditions of society with calamities peculiar to themselves. But in their ease they lose their unfriendly character, and become visitations of a Father's love, means of deliverance from worse evils, and of obtaining greater good. The evil which they might do God will defend us from, if we trust and obey him. Nor are the righteous sure of absolute preservation from sin, though they would enjoy perfect immunity if they fulfilled the necessary conditions on their part. But they have a right to feel sure of preservation of' body and soul in this world, until their appointed work is done; and of final deliverance from all evils (2 Timothy 4:18). They should not desire more.
III. THE CONDITIONS OF SAFETY AND DELIVERANCE.
1. Faith. "In him will I trust" (ver. 3). Confidence in God as our Friend, Protector, and Saviour. Especially as he is revealed to us in the gospel. Faith assures us of the Divine love, lays hold of the Divine strength, enables us to flee to God as our Refuge, to rise to the lofty Rock and Tower where we are above all adverse powers, and safe from their assaults, and gives the calmness needful for employing such means as tend to safety and victory. "All things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23).
2. Prayer. "I will call on the Lord...so shall I be saved from mine enemies" (ver. 4). Faith prompts obedience, as in other respects, so in respect to prayer. Divine help and protection are promised to those who pray. "Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me" (Psalm 50:15). The sense of peril, the knowledge that there is safety in God, and that his delivering power is exercised on behalf of those who seek him, cannot but lead the Christian to that earnest and believing prayer which prevails. The Apostle Paul, after pointing out other methods of ensuring victory over our enemies, adds, "Praying always," etc. (Ephesians 6:18).
IV. THE RETURN TO BE MADE FOR SAFETY AND DELIVERANCE REALIZED, AND ANTICIPATED. Praise. This psalm is one of the returns of praise which David made to his Deliverer, of whom he speaks in ver. 4 as "the Lord who is worthy to be praised." Many are ready to pray to God in danger, who forget or refuse to praise him when they have experienced deliverance. The Christian will not fail to give thanks, not only for what he has experienced of Divine protection, but for what he feels sure he shall experience, up to and including victory over death itself, "the last enemy," in view of whose approach he sings, "Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:26, 57). - G.W.
For Thou art my lamp, O Lord; and the Lord will lighten my darkness.
The Rev. Dr. Horton, who, after a period of seclusion through trouble with his eyesight, recently returned to his church at Hampstead, related in one of his Sabbath sermons how one day he was in the oculist's consulting-room at Wiesbaden, and as he waited he put his hand into his pocket and drew out his little Bible — not to read it, but to see if he could — and as he opened it his eyes tell on the text in 2 Samuel., "For Thou art my lamp, O Lord: and the Lord will lighten my darkness." "I had not been aware of the very existence of this text, and do not know who but an angel could have led me to it; but I felt that whether I received my sight or not, those words were enough for me, and from that time I seemed to know that I should not die, but live to proclaim the words of this life."
It is worth noting how plants and trees turn to the light; how bleached vegetation becomes if it be shut up in darkness. The utter dark is dreadful to men, it may even be felt, so does it press upon the mind. The dimness of a foggy day depresses many spirits more than trouble or pain. The cry of the sick man, "Would God it were morning!" is the groan of all healthy life when gloom surrounds it. What, then, can be said, if there be light, and we refuse it? He must have ill work on hand who loves the darkness. Only bats, and owls, and unclean and ravenous things are fond of the night. Children of light walk in the light, and reflect the light.
()It had been one of those days on which everything goes contrary, and I had come home tired and discouraged. As I sank into a chair, I groaned, "Everything looks dark, dark." "Why don't you turn your face to the light, auntie, dear?" said my little niece, who was standing unperceived beside me. "Turn your face to the light!" The word sot me thinking. That was just what I had not been doing. I had persistently kept nay face in the opposite direction, refusing to see the faintest glimmer of brightness. Artless little comforter I She did not know what healing she had brought. Years had gone by since then, but the simple words have never been forgotten, "Turn your face to the light."Sir James Wylie, late physician to the Emperor of Russia, attentively studied the effects of light as a curative agent in the hospital of St. Petersburg, and he discovered that the number of patients who were cured in rosins properly lighted was four times that of those confined in dark room. These different results are due to the agency of light, without a full supply of which plants and animals maintain but a sickly and feeble existence. Light is the cheapest and best of all medicines. Nervous ailments yield to the power of sunshine. Pallid faces grow fresh and ruddy beneath its glow. The sun's rays have wonderful purifying power.
TopicsBreastplate, Faith, Horn, Keeps, Preserver, Refuge, Rock, Safe, Salvation, Save, Savest, Savior, Saviour, Shield, Stronghold, Tower, Trust, Violence, Violent, Wilt
Outline1. David's psalm of thanksgiving for God's deliverance and blessings
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 22:3
1240 God, the Rock
2 Samuel 22:1-3
1320 God, as Saviour
8031 trust, importance
8730 enemies, of believers
2 Samuel 22:1-4
5292 defence, divine
2 Samuel 22:2-3
1205 God, titles of
2 Samuel 22:2-51
8609 prayer, as praise and thanksgiving
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
ON the revival of science in the 16th century, some of the earliest conclusions at which philosophers arrived were found to be at variance with popular and long-established belief. The Ptolemaic system of astronomy, which had then full possession of the minds of men, contemplated the whole visible universe from the earth as the immovable centre of things. Copernicus changed the point of view, and placing the beholder in the sun, at once reduced the earth to an inconspicuous globule, a merely subordinate …
Frederick Temple—Essays and Reviews: The Education of the World
The First Commandment
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.' Exod 20: 3. Why is the commandment in the second person singular, Thou? Why does not God say, You shall have no other gods? Because the commandment concerns every one, and God would have each one take it as spoken to him by name. Though we are forward to take privileges to ourselves, yet we are apt to shift off duties from ourselves to others; therefore the commandment is in the second person, Thou and Thou, that every one may know that it is spoken to him, …
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments
In the Present Crusade against the Bible and the Faith of Christian Men...
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
A Discourse of Mercifulness
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7 These verses, like the stairs of Solomon's temple, cause our ascent to the holy of holies. We are now mounting up a step higher. Blessed are the merciful . . '. There was never more need to preach of mercifulness than in these unmerciful times wherein we live. It is reported in the life of Chrysostom that he preached much on this subject of mercifulness, and for his much pressing Christians to mercy, he was called of many, the alms-preacher, …
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12
The Ark among the Flags
'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 …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Christ's Prophetic Office
'The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet,' &c. Deut 18:85. Having spoken of the person of Christ, we are next to speak of the offices of Christ. These are Prophetic, Priestly, and Regal. 'The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet.' Enunciatur hic locus de Christo. It is spoken of Christ.' There are several names given to Christ as a Prophet. He is called the Counsellor' in Isa 9:9. In uno Christo Angelus foederis completur [The Messenger of the Covenant appears in Christ alone]. …
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, …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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