Song of David: The Coming Messiah

Song of David: The Coming Messiah

Song of David: The Coming Messiah.

Please read II Samuel 22 (Psalm 18).

AUTHOR. King David probably composed this song around 1018 BC, near the end of his life. By the time he died around 1015 BC, he had been king for 40 years, and he passed away when he was 70 years old. Historians have hailed him as the greatest king of Israel. He was able to unite the separate tribes of Israel into one unified nation, he was able to secure peace with all his neighboring nations, and he maintained Israel as a God-fearing, God-centered nation. By the end of his life, after nearly 400 years of division and of disjointed tribes, he was able to enjoy the unified nation in the Promised Land under Yahweh. Finally, under David, the kingdom was one and at peace, and devoted to the Lord.

DAVID. We probably know more about David than any other Biblical character, excepting maybe Moses. His life was recorded in minute detail. (Refer to the first Song of David in this series for more about his life). David wasn’t shy, he tended to be blatant in his actions. He wore his heart on his sleeve, and the Bible doesn’t try to hide any of his flaws or weak moments. It appears that David was a man of big appetites… God, war, women. He was utterly devoted to God, but he made big mistakes. Whenever he fell into sin, he confessed, asked forgiveness, faced the consequences, and tried to learn from his mistakes. He rarely repeated his moral blunders. He was a great king, for instance, but he was a terrible parent. His family life was in shambles, but his nation was in great shape. Because of his many psalms, we know he was a man who rejoiced, lamented, prophesied, praised, wept, raged, questioned, trusted, and revealed himself to be a thoroughly complex person who experienced deep emotions and profound insights. David was supremely gifted in many ways, and the Spirit of the Lord was upon him from the day he was anointed king as a mere shepherd boy. Even though David had obvious flaws, he remained devoted to the Lord and a “man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22).

Unfortunately, David was kept from fulfilling his heart’s desire to build a permanent Temple in which all of Israel could worship God and experience His presence. But David had too much blood on his hands, he loved to wage war to the degree that God found him to be unacceptable as the Temple builder. So David accepted God’s decision, and took part in getting everything ready for his son Solomon… David drew the plans, gathered the materials, and prepared everything for the builders. David died a relatively quiet death, and Solomon succeeded him as king of Israel (II Kings 2:10).

COVENANT. God made an eternal covenant with David, that salvation would come through his family line. God promised him that the saving Messiah would be a direct descendant and would establish God’s throne forever. The Messiah would be known down through Jewish history as the Son of David. During Jesus’ time on earth, when he was declared Messiah, it was often through that formula, the Son of David. “I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.(II Samuel 7:12-13). And David humbly accepted this covenant with God. “And now, Lord God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, so that your name will be great forever. O Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have given this good promise to your servant. Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight.” (II Samuel 7:25-29). And among David’s last words was this triumphant affirmation, “Has he not made with me an everlasting covenant arranged and secured in every part?” (II Samuel 23:5). Jesus the Messiah, the Anointed One, proved to be the fulfillment of this ancient covenant between David and Yahweh.

“The historical David was a living prophecy of the true King yet to come. The divine promises made with respect to David’s messianic throne are fulfilled in the kingdom of Jesus, at once David’s descendant and his Lord.” (Patrick Henry Reardon, Christ in the Psalms.

CONTEXT OF SONG. David composed this song near the end of his life when all is at peace with the world. There were no troublesome wars with his neighboring nations, and he even exalts in the fact that his long ago flight from Saul is but a distant memory. What begins as a picturesque song of thanksgiving develops into a victory song, and then concludes with his fervent reliance on God’s “everlasting covenant” with him and his throne. David starts by extolling God’s attributes, moves into the triumphant interventions of God, then exults with his messianic expectations for the future. David seems to sum up his life with an energy known only to David at his best. Here at the end, David undoubtedly once again embraced the truth he uttered long ago, that “Surely goodness and mercy (have pursued me) all the days of my life. (Ps. 23). The Orthodox Church has labeled Ps. 18, the identical song to II Samuel 22, as “the victory of David fulfilled in the Messiah.”

ATTRIBUTES OF GOD. David was so utterly convinced of God’s divine goodness and character that he stretched his vocabulary to include numerous, effective word pictures of God. David seems like he wanted to test the limits of his imagination. David truly loved God with all his heart, and this Song of Praise in II Samuel 22 underlines that fact to an amazing degree.

Attributes: “Rock; Fortress; Deliverer; Refuge; Shield; Horn (Strength); Stronghold; Savior; Worthy of Praise; Attentive; Brightness; Most High; Rescuer; Support; Faithful; Blameless; Pure; Shrewd; Lamp; Helper; Perfect; Flawless; Preserver; Alive; Avenger; Kind.”

INTERVENTION. David’s personal moments of distress in verses 4-5 lead quickly to his crying out to God for relief. The Lord’s power is described with poetic license as he exults in God’s dramatic intervention. God is described by David as an active volcano to come in support of David against his enemies, as he is surrounded by evil. God’s power is evident, but so his gentleness (v. 17-20), when he is saved from drowning in his troubles, and is brought into a spacious place because God “delighted in me.” David’s God is an intervening God, ready to rescue at a moment’s notice.

INNOCENCE. Prophetically, David is speaking of the innocence and righteousness of the coming Messiah, Jesus. But David is referring to himself as well. After all of David’s ups and downs, after his grievous sins, he has maintained a clean conscience. In verse 21-25 he claims that he is righteous, blameless, clean and faithful. His conscience has been washed clean because of his habit of confession and his recognition of God’s mercy. David doesn’t wallow in guilt, he instead trusts in the overpowering mercy of God. St. Paul also served God with a clean conscience, despite the evils he did against the Christian church. (I Cor. 4:4). Keeping a clean conscience is a confessional act of faith that God will cleanse us of all sins, even the most terrible, because His mercy is stronger than any mistake. Confession is the humble act of renewing your innocence.

RESURRECTION. Verses 16-20 were acknowledged by the early church as a prophetic description of Jesus’ resurrection by the Father. Once again, David prayed more than he knew. It is easy to picture Jesus referring to the sweet, life-giving Father God as “He reached down from heaven and rescued me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies… He led me to a place of safety; He rescued me because He delights in me.

ELOQUENT. Proceeding on, David waxed eloquent again as he claims that God is his lamp, his light in the darkness. God equips him with strength and confidence, able to challenge any enemy and scale any wall. God makes him like a sure-footed deer prancing high on a rock, protected and well-positioned to view his environment and what lies ahead.

SPIRITS OF WAR. Many early Christians claimed that verses 38-43 describe the spiritual warfare that is an inevitable part of every believer’s walk of faith. The enemies described in David’s song here are demonic spirits, the fallen angels challenging the Christian warrior. The church believes there is a “deeper malice” than mere human enemies. But through Jesus, we can say with David, “I have wounded them, so that they could not rise. They have fallen under my feet. For you have armed me with strength for the battle. You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.”  And in truth the righteous are spiritually to have no mercy on their demonic foes, they are to “beat them as fine as the dust of the earth, pounded and trampled like mud in the streets.

GENTILES. In verses 44-50, there is a call from David to the nations, the Gentiles, to be saved, to come to God and find salvation. St. Paul quoted David’s words in Romans 15:9, “So that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.” (II Sam. 22:50). David was once again praying into the future.

MESSIAH. David closes this song with messianic overtones, as he declares, “He shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.” David senses in the Spirit that there is great significance to God’s covenant with him, and he triumphs in that knowledge.