II Samuel 22:2-51
Here are 14 reasons to praise the Lord found in II Samuel 22. Verses 2-51 have been divided into the following 14 groups. Other Psalms reveal other reasons to praise the Lord, such as wisdom, peace, understanding, knowledge, blessings and forgiveness. The 14 reasons given here are the ones that this Psalm reveals. Other equally important reasons are revealed in other Psalms. The historian who recorded David’s life in I and II Samuel elected, for his own probably God-given reasons, to include this Psalm in David’s story to show the divine side of David’s life more clearly. These reasons to praise the Lord come from David’s experiences and expectations. They can help the Christian leader develop the kind of strong faith and optimism that David had—which will, in turn, develop the same thing in your followers and disciples.
1. Acceptance Everyone has an invisible sign on their chest saying, "Accept me, appreciate me, I want to feel important to someone. I want to have self-worth." It is a deep and basic need in the psyche of the human race. We want to be accepted. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it is called "Esteem." We all need that. Even if our physical needs have been satisfied, we still have psychological needs. The need for esteem is addressed in Abraham Maslow's ‘Hierarchy of Needs.’ There are a number of component needs involved in achieving a sense of self-esteem, such as respect of others, an internal acceptance of who we actually are, confidence, and achievement. We do not need acceptance or esteem to be a Christian or even to be a fruitful Christian, but having God-given assurance of acceptance can be a rich personal blessing which can increase our potential for other good things like confidence, courage and visions.
V 19 "They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support."
2. Access to God Even though God is powerful, wise and able to solve every problem, if we did not have access to Him or if He paid no attention to us, all of His power and ability would be of little or no use to us. David illustrated in this Psalm that he himself had, as we now have, access to God. Prayer is a wonderful weapon and God’s promises to respond to it and the demonstrations of His past responses to it as we see in David’s life, is a great blessing to Christians.
V 4 "I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies."
V 5 "The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me."
V 6 "The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me."
V 7 "In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears."
3. Boldness & Courage Boldness, stemming usually from courage, enables the Christian believer to move from the position of successful endurance, patience and fortitude to proactive attack, aggression, advancement, daring and fearlessness. We carry the spiritual battle from defending ourselves and praying for our personal safety or security to the repossession of territory mankind lost at the fall. We move to take back what the devil has stolen. Just as God gave David boldness and courage, so God will give it to us for our present-day battles.
V 38 "I pursued my enemies and crushed them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed."
V 39 "I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet."
V 41 "You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes."
V 42 "They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—to the Lord, but he did not answer."
V 43 "I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth; I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets."
4. Defense & Protection Boldness and courage are valuable if we want to carry the battle forward, but that does not mean that a solid defense is not also important. The reason we can move forward confidently is because we know we are being defended and protected by the Lord. Armor, cover and fortification are a part of God’s provision for the Christian soldier.
V 15 "He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them."
V 31 "As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him."
V 36 "You make your saving help my shield; your help has made me great."
5. Deliverance & Rescue Recovery, deliverance and reclaiming what was lost are important to us because we are in a war. We win battles and, sometimes, we loose them. But when we loose a battle or experience a set-back, we have this model to fall back on. A successful retreat, recovery and another attack is part of war. We have a real enemy and at times we need to be rescued from him.
V 17 "He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters."
V 18 "He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me."
V 44 "You have delivered me from the attacks of the peoples; you have preserved me as the head of nations. People I did not know now serve me."
6. Foundation (Firm & Unshakable) The word foundation refers the support, footing and grounds on which our lives are built. If the foundation is weak, no matter how lovely or well-built the structure is, it will fall. Christians have an unshaken and unshakable foundation on which to base our faith, hopes, expectations and anticipations of all that God has for us. This is why the metaphor of God as our rock is so valuable to us. He is dependable, reliable, steadfast, faithful, consistent, predictable in many ways, steady, stable and strong like a rock.
V 32 "For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?"
V 47 "The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!"
7. Greatness God has a good reputation. He is awesome, excellent, majestic, awe-inspiring, astonishing, formidable, elevated, exalted, majestic, impressive and magnificent. Human vocabulary proves to be inadequate to describe the marvelous beauty, reputation and name of our God. The human race has three words of unusually great value and significance, "yes," "no" and "Ahh!" When we encounter something that elicits a reaction from deep within us that surpasses our understanding, we say "Ahh!" A cow, looking at an awesome and beautiful sunset cannot say "Ahh!" But a human being who beholds someone whose beauty, excellence and majesty defies description, has the ability to wonder and say, "Ahh!" He "lives in unapproachable light" (I Tim 6:16).
V 8 "The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry."
V 9 "Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it."
V 10 "He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet."
V 11 "He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind."
V 12 "He made darkness his canopy around him—the dark rain clouds of the sky."
V 13 "Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth."
V 14 "The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded."
V 16 "The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the Lord, at the blast of breath from his nostrils."
8. Guidance & Light Many are the times when we simply do not know where to go or what to do next. In those cases we need God’s guidance and light to show us the way through the darkness or the forest. Too many things block our view. We don’t know where we are and cannot see which way to turn. At a time like that it is highly beneficial to us that we have a Guide, a light in the darkness. This is another thing for which David praised his Lord.
V 29 "You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light."
V 37 "You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way."
9. Justice & Fairness When we have honestly tried our best to do the right thing, whether we have succeeded or not, we do not want someone to misjudge or misunderstand us. God will never do that. He sees our hearts and motives and we can know that He will always treat us justly—at least justly. Many times—most of the time—He treats us better than we deserve, but that is another thought. We are thankful for that, but here David is thanking God that God treats him fairly. David did right, God saw that and David was glad.
V 21 "The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me."
V 22 "For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God."
V 23 "All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees."
V 24 "I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin."
V 25 "The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight."
V 26 "To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless,"
V 27 "to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd."
10. Kindness Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit when it refers to one person being kind to another person. It is one way Christian believers can follow the example of the Lord. But kindness in this list refers to God’s kindness to David. David expressed his appreciation for God’s kindness. Kindness is a behavior that shows goodness; God did that for David and He does it for us. It is a very good reason for us to praise Him. It shows that we noticed that He did an act of kindness and appreciated it.
V 51 "He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever."
11. Lift In missiology, the study of effective missionary ministry in the world, we learn about what is called "redemption and lift." Briefly, it the tendency of new Christians to experience gains financially and in their social positions because the expenses that are attached to many of the sins non-Christians do are no longer a part of that person’s life. He or she no longer spends money on gamboling, tobacco, beer, drugs and some other sinful pleasures. The reduction in the expenses of the new Christian means he or she has more money for clothing, rent, school fees and other good expenses that lead to an improvement in life. That is one way God lifts a person. His wisdom, guidance, daily help and answers to prayer also give a lift. David here speaks about God lifting him. All of these improvements in our status are reasons to give God praise. Many are the advantages of the Christian believer. We have reason to praise the Lord.
V 45 "foreigners cower before me; as soon as they hear of me, they obey me."
V 46 "They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds."
V 48 "He is the God who avenges me, who puts the nations under me,"
V 49 "who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes;
from a violent man you rescued me."
12. Love In many of his Psalms David wrote about the lovingkindness and mercy of the Lord. In this Psalm there is only one verse on this subject, but it is a clear and important idea. God gave to David a spacious place, perhaps this would be a reference to the nice palace that was built for him when he moved to Jerusalem from Hebron. David praised God and we can too for the spacious place He provides for us.
V 20 "He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me."
13. Safety & Security Earlier we considered acceptance as an important thing that God gives to His own. But people who are afraid for their lives and who feel threatened, whether they are actually in danger or just think they are in danger, can praise the Lord that He is our Protector from dangers seen and unseen, real or just feared. We are safe with Him. "The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe" (Pr. 18:10).
V 2 "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;"
V 3 "my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation."
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent people you save me."
V 28 "You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low."
14. Strength Our enemy, the devil, is stronger than we. Besides that he is spirit and spirits don’t get physically tired. We do get tired. We become weary of fighting the good fight of faith. We get tired when we pray. We get tired of trying to be patient. The strength we need is more moral and spiritual strength than physical. God can and does give that kind of strength to us. And because He does, we can praise Him for it.
V 30 "With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall."
V 33 "It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure."
V 34 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."
V 35 "He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze."
V 40 You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me."
David’s Conclusion The word "therefore" in this verse is critical, decisive and meaningful. It means that because of something, I will do something else. David is saying that in view of all the preceding forty-nine verses, a collection of reasons to praise God, he is addressing the Lord and saying, because of that, accordingly, consequently, hence, so I will praise you; "therefore I will praise you." Because of what you have done, I will praise you. It is healthy for us to tell the Lord, as David did, the reasons we are praising Him. It gives us a chance to rehearse within ourselves, the reasons we have for praising Him.
V 50 "Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name."
Let every Christian leader, by his example, counsel, lessons, sermons and even in ordinary daily conversations, be men and women who praise God for specific and identifiable reasons as David did.
David’s honor shines brighter in his Psalms than in the records of his history. The David we see in this one is idealistic; revealing David’s heart. The David we see in the rest of I & II Samuel is the normal human struggling with issues in his day, his family, his appetites, the kingdom and God’s plan for Israel. If you look only at the behavior and outward aspects of David’s life, you would not realize the heart he had toward God. If you only read the Psalms, you might not realize how David struggled to live up to his own noble ideals. Put the two together—the Psalms and the history—and we have a more balanced picture of king David. Similarly, I don’t see your heart, I only see your outward behavior. None of us really knows others perfectly, only God does.