Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 20:1-26, 2 Samuel 21:1-22, 2 Samuel 22:1-51, Psalm 89:29-33, Revelation 20:11-15
Chronologically speaking, David’s Song of Thanksgiving recorded in 2 Samuel 22 belongs earlier in David’s story, closer to the beginning of the book. David probably wrote this before he was king, around the time he had been saved from Saul and realized his place on the throne was eminent.
David was in for an eventful forty-year kingship, filled with many highs and many lows. To name a few—
High: David is crowned king of Israel.
High: He moves the capital of Israel to Jerusalem.
Low: He commits adultery with Bathsheba and has Bathsheba’s husband killed.
Low: David and Bathsheba’s son dies as a consequence of David’s sin.
High: God forgives David for his adultery and blesses him with his son Solomon.
Low: His son Absalom kills his other son Amnon to avenge the rape of Absalom’s sister Tamar.
Low: Absalom tries to take the kingdom of Israel from him.
High: David’s men defeat Absalom’s men and the kingdom is restored to him.
Low: Absalom is killed in battle.
David’s problems did not end with Saul. A rollercoaster of war, death, family rivalry, and suffering would mark his days. And as his circumstances changed, so did his character. Faithful one minute, unfaithful the next. God’s character, however, did not change. He was David’s rock during a lifetime of shifting sand.
Throughout the Song of Thanksgiving, David describes God with adjectives and metaphors of strength and consistency:
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer” (v.2).
“My shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge” (v.3).
“… the Lord was my support” (v.19).
“And who is a rock? Only our God” (v. 32).
“The Lord lives—blessed be my rock!” (v. 47).
If you were to write down your life’s list of highs and lows, it may not be as dramatic as David’s, but I’ll bet it’s just as inconsistent. Suffering, hope, despair, joy—our circumstances are constantly changing and with them, our hearts. Faithful today, unfaithful tomorrow. But just as God intervened in David’s life and pulled him out of deep waters (2 Samuel 22:17), so did He intervene in our lives by sending Jesus Christ, who entered this world to save us from the dark waters of sin. Christ is now the rock on which we stand. The winds will change and they will change us, but His faithfulness to us will not.
I like that the writer of 2 Samuel placed David’s Song of Thanksgiving at the end of the book. The words were true before David’s forty-year reign, and they were true after it. David’s change in circumstances did not signify a change in God’s character. I wonder how often he went back to the words he wrote on that day of thanksgiving. I wonder if, in his darkest nights, he clung to what he knew to be true of God then, even if it didn’t feel true in the present moment.
What aspects of God’s character did you sing yesterday that you need to remember today? In the midst of life’s changing waters, we can be sure that we have been pulled out of the depths. That is a consistent truth.
Let’s be thankful today that our character and circumstances do not change who God is or what Jesus did. As we move through life’s highs and lows, we worship a God who is the same, all the time, even when we are not. He will not take His love from us, and He will never betray His faithfulness. Thanks be to God.