Bible Readings for September 26th
The song David composes in 2 Samuel 22 reflects on the story we read yesterday at the end of 2 Samuel 21. There, David had gone out to battle with the Philistines, but as the battle stretched on, “David grew weary” (2 Sam. 21:15), and Ishbi-benob, a descendent of the giants, nearly killed David, until Abishai rescued him. When the battle was over, then, David’s men swore to him, “You shall no longer go out with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel” (2 Sam. 21:17). While David as a young boy at the beginning of his career killed the giant Goliath with ease in 1 Samuel 17, now another giant nearly extinguishes David on the battlefield at the end of his career here in 2 Samuel 22. We will look at three principles arising from this story.
First, whether David is young or old, strong or weak, 2 Samuel 22 demonstrates that David never forgets Yahweh. He does not compose a song to praise Abishai, since he sees that it was none other than Yahweh who saved him. David’s example stands in marked contrast to the many Israelite kings who begin their lives well only to make shipwreck of their faith later on—including David’s own son Solomon.
Second, this story reminds us that there are real considerations that leaders must make for how to transition their ministries later in their lives. Remember the words of Charles Wesley: “God buries his workmen, but carries on his work.” God buried Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and Samuel—and God will soon bury David as well. David’s men are wise to recognize David’s limitations and to forbid him from going back into battle, even though he has been their valiant leader all these years. In the same way, no one is too important to keep in ministry even a day too long.
Third, the better we understand the first principle of this story, the easier it will be for us to follow the second principle. That is, the more we remember that David was strong because of Yahweh, the easier it will be to let the Davids in our lives pass on when their times have come.
Focus on the final line of David’s song: “Great salvation [Yahweh] brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever” (2 Sam. 22:51). Remember that Yahweh has brought great salvation and shown steadfast love to his people, not only through David but through David’s greater offspring, the Lord Jesus. Yahweh buries all his leaders, but he has only raised up one leader from the dead—for now. For this reason, let us praise Jesus among the nations and sing praises to his name (2 Sam. 22:50) as we wait to be raised up with him on the last day.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.