The Power of Praise
2 Samuel 22 records David’s song of praise. Remember what David has come through. Remember all that we have read over the last couple of months. It’s been tough. He’s been hunted down. He’s been betrayed. He’s let himself down. And yet he is able to look back and praise His God.
There is power in that kind of praise. The ability to thank God when everything has not been plain sailing. The ability to praise when you’ve faced enemies and tough times and battles in your own mind.
Because God is God. Always. He never changes. However bad things have been or are, our God is faithful.
If you get a chance, read the whole chapter – click on this link 2 Samuel 22 if you don’t have a Bible to hand…..
Here are the bits that struck me and spoke to me and excited me the most…..
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
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. 2 Samuel 22:2-3
This is a lot like the start of my favourite psalm – Psalm 46. I love the idea of God as a refuge, a safe place to hide and be restored, a haven – strong enough to keep whatever enemies I am facing out. I love the solidity of God as a rock – immovable, unchanging, always there. It’s not nice to have enemies – people who have bad things to say about you and deliberately try to make life unpleasant for you……but God is there and for you and with you – and that is something to shout about!
I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and have been saved from my enemies.
The waves of death swirled about me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
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. 2 Samuel 22:4-7
Where do you turn in your distress? Who do you cry out to for help?
There’ve been times, real times, when I wished I was dead. There’ve been times when I felt like I was drowning in despair and sadness. There’ve been times when I’ve felt like I can’t go on any more.
And I’m not sure I’ve been that good at calling out to God at those times. Because sometimes it’s hard to lift your eyes and believe that there is any hope, believe that there is anyone out there who can save you.
But there have been times where I’ve called out to God and He has answered – not immediately maybe, but maybe with enough grace to get me through another day…and then the next day…and the next….until hope begins to take root and a fresh start seems possible and life begins to feel bearable again…..
Seek first the kingdom of God. Call on God first. Turn to God first. That’s my lesson for today.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me. 2 Samuel 22:17-20
I can look back over the emotional turmoil of the last few years and see how God has kept hold of each member of my family. He has kept hold of Courtney and brought her to a better place. He has taken hold of Keir and drawn him out of deep waters. He has rescued Nicola from all the hurtful things that have been said and done to her. He has supported Jordan in his lack of confidence. He has brought Luke and Becca into a wonderful place together. He has rescued me and Andy from being broken emotionally and rescued our marriage and our home. All of this because he delights in each one of us. He loves each one of us. He wants the best for each one of us.
The same applies to you too.
You, Lord, are my lamp;
the Lord turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall. 2 Samuel 22: 29-30
How empowering is this! Where there is darkness, we can always find God’s light. I get overwhelmed by the darkness in the world sometimes – the suffering and selfishness and meanness really get me down. But then there are glimpses of light in the darkness – glimpses of hope where I can see that God is at work. I need to focus on those sparks of kindness and goodness and generosity and not on the darkness.
And as for climbing a wall, actually I can’t – I tried a climbing wall in the States and got about a foot off the floor. But I am embracing the fitness advertising campaign at the moment that says ‘THIS GIRL CAN’. I do believe that anything God calls me into, He will give me what I need to achieve it. So yes, maybe that time in the States was the wrong time but I still want to shout ‘with my God, I can scale a wall!’
Hah. Really? I had to leave this post unfinished on Friday and now I come back to it in a completely different place mentally – having woken up this morning battling in my mind with the meaninglessness of life………
What I have written so far was true for Friday and is true for today too – I just can’t feel the gratitude and blessing in the same way in this moment.
So this could be interesting…..
Where there is darkness, we can always find God’s light.
Yes. Even before I forced myself out bed this morning, friends were reaching out to me with positive comments on Facebook; Andy was trying to find a solution to make me smile; my lovely little man Jordie came in and connected with me; the cat came for a stroke; I listened to some of Obama’s powerful grace speech…….God’s light started to shine in…..
And this girl can. I’ve been here before. I can get through this. I can carry on. I can scale the wall of despondency today.
For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure. 2 Samuel 22:32-33
Because it isn’t all about me and how I feel. In fact, very little is. God is God. God is my rock. However I may be feeling. Whatever I may be feeling.
And I love the image of this verse –
You provide a broad path for my feet,
so that my ankles do not give way. 2 Samuel 22:37
God has my back. He is for me. He is watching out for me. He’s way ahead of me, scouting out the best route. He’s got it covered. He’s going to do all He can to make sure I don’t wobble or trip or stumble or fall. He’s clearing the path.
The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Saviour! 2 Samuel 22:47
It’s all about trust in who God is and what He can do in us and for us.
Which is why I am now going to go in the kitchen and put this CD on and sing this song with my husband and dogs and kids at the top of my voice (regardless of how I feel) – ‘Be exalted, O Lord our God’.
You never fail. Your love endures. You never change.