Today from Chuck Swindoll. Even though we resist it, it's true. He delights in us. We believe the business about calamity and strong enemies and distress and trouble and death and destruction and violence, but we don't really believe that the Lord delights in us.
But he says he does. That's grace. That's the whole message of grace. The Lord dispatches his angels of hope and help because he finds delight in us. In this season of suffering, the Spirit of God moved upon David to write one of our favorite songs.
Chuck titled today's message, A Song of Triumph. He became a warrior. He was also a musician. And when I say that, I would include he was a composer.
He was an instrumentalist. And much of the lyrics he would use would come from a journal that he kept privately. And he often wrote beautiful poetry, some of which has found its way into the Scriptures, and we know that today as the Psalms.
He especially wrote such poetry in times of deep distress. David also wrote great songs of triumph. We come to one of those songs today, and I want to read some excerpts from this particular song recorded in 2 Samuel 22 from the New Living Translation. So you listen and enjoy the writings, the composition of David the songwriter in this song of triumph.
David sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang, The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my savior. My God is my rock in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me and my place of safety.
He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. I called on the Lord who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. He reached down from heaven and rescued me. He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the Lord supported me. He led me to a place of safety. He rescued me because he delights in me. The Lord rewarded me for doing right.
He restored me because of my innocence. For I have kept the ways of the Lord. I have not turned from my God to follow evil. I have followed all his regulations. I have never abandoned his decrees.
I am blameless before God. I have kept myself from sin. The Lord rewarded me for doing right.
He has seen my innocence. To the faithful you show yourself faithful. To those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure. But to the wicked you show yourself hostile.
You rescue the humble, but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them. O Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness.
God's way is perfect. All the Lord's promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. The Lord lives praise to my rock. May God the rock of my salvation be exalted. For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations. I will sing praises to your name. You give great victories to your King. You show unfailing love to your anointed, to David and all his descendants forever. You're listening to Insight for Living.
To dig deeper into the Bible with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insight.org slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled A Song of Triumph. I'd like us to bow in prayer as we close our eyes. Who is sufficient, our Father, for the things that you have set aside for us? Take away your grace and not one of us can participate. Hallelujah, what a Savior. Guilty and vile and helpless we, and yet spotless Lamb of God was he. Full atonement can it be. What a Savior.
Our only claim is the blood of Christ. Our only hope is his life, his death, his resurrection. And we meet in all the beauty of your holiness tonight, our Father, longing for the day when we shall do it face to face in his kingdom. Make this a meaningful experience as we turn our thoughts to the written word and then ultimately to the living word. May there be a splendid experience that's ours to enjoy in this intermediate time as we await your Son's return. It is in his name that we offer these requests and these expressions of praise.
Amen. In the 22nd chapter of the book of 2 Samuel, we come upon a very important experience in the life of David. We are beginning to detect the long shadows of age and pressure falling across his life. He's lived a full life that he isn't dead yet, and as long as there is breath in the Christian's lungs, God has a purpose for us to continue. That's certainly true in David as well as the rest of us. But things have occurred rather recently to put him on his knees. Seems as though David spent most of his days there just being forced to trust God in impossible circumstances.
Let me name three of them that serve as a preliminary period of preparation before he composed a song, I'm convinced the last song that he ever wrote. In chapter 19, which I'd like you to turn for just a moment, he has lost his son. And at the end of chapter 18, verse 33, he expresses these words of anguish and grief. O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom, would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son. His favored precious son has been killed by Joab, and David is in mourning and can hardly recover from the anguish and the heartache of his experience. We have a couple in our church that's gone through the murder of their own daughter, and they are doing their best to stay on their feet and to keep body and mind and soul together during the anguish of their lives. And in the awful tragedy that has crossed their steps, they find themselves awake in the middle of the night crying out, as it were, O our daughter, our daughter, would God we had died instead of you. It's a tragedy upon tragedies. It's a loss.
It's a breaking experience for this dear couple. It's chapter 19. In chapter 21, verse 1, there is a famine, a second blow in David's life.
Keep count of them now. He's lost a son, and now he is beginning to lose his nation. It says there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. There's anguish.
There's pathos in the first verse. There's a feeling of loss there. I'm sure that the cattle of the field began to die, the rivers dried up, Jerusalem lost its blossoms, and the heavens were brass as people prayed in vain for the rains to come.
Three years, there is drought, there is famine in the land. And finally, in the midst of the series of problems, verse 15 of chapter 21, they are back at war with their age-old enemy, the Philistines. When the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David went down and his servants with him. And as they fought against the Philistines, David became weary.
Well, I would say it's about time. He's only human. You can take only so much. The loss of a son, the beginning to a loss of the land, and finally the weary experience of battle.
It all begins to wear on him, and he begins to crack, and he falls before God. Now, I am not a composer of songs. I think if there were something I really would love to be able to do, it would be that. I've written a few poems, but they've never gotten into print.
And the reason is they're not that great. In fact, that's another reminder to me that I better stick with my gifts and leave the other things alone. And I wish I had the ability to compose music and put feelings into melody and words. That was one of David's best abilities. In fact, long before he was a king, he was a composer. And I understand from those that compose that they often, those songs are often born out of times of either elation or depression.
Times in which we are, the one is really high and delighted or is low and at the bottom. While David was weary, verse 1 of chapter 22, he declared his feelings in a song, in a hymn called in those days a psalm, or in later days a psalm. And in this psalm, which covers 51 verses, almost 51 verses of chapter 22, he expresses his feelings to God and to the surprise of many who would read this on the heels of what we have just read about his tragic life, it is a psalm of praise. Karl and Delitzsch are noted German scholars of past generations, and they write this about this psalm. David praises the Lord as his deliverer out of all dangers during his agitated and conflicting life.
Good comment beginning in chapter 22. His agitated and conflicting life, these things give birth to a song. And I observe in verse 1 that the words of this song that David spoke were words spoken to the Lord.
See it? He spoke the words of this song to the Lord. He addressed the hymn to Jehovah God. What were his times? Look at verse 3.
Be ready to mark some words. The last part of the third verse, thou dost save me from violence. They were violent times. Verse 5, they were days of death that encompassed him.
Torrents of destruction overwhelmed him. Verse 7, they were days of distress. And finally, they were, verse 19, days of calamity.
They confronted me, that is the enemies, in the day of my calamity. These were hard times for David. But out of them all the Lord delivered him. Now what does he do in the psalm? Well, I think that he sums up his life in four themes, four expressions that sort of weave their way through this song that he wrote. It is a great song of praise. And I want you to see as I unveil the four themes of his life.
Here is the first one. When times are tough, the Lord is our only security. That's verses 2 through 20. When times are tough, the Lord is our only security.
Let's see how they appear, how these words are written. He said, verse 2, The Lord is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. These are poetic expressions, but they each one carry different unique meanings. If you are going through times in which there are tough days upon you, this psalm should encourage you.
David was a melancholic, and he wrote some of his best works while he was down, really low. He says, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield. These are all words of security. The horn of my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge. All of these words, David is describing the Lord as a secure, heavenly Father. Times are tough. I've lost my son, I'm losing my nation, I'm watching the disintegration of my army. I am seeing, again, another reminder of warfare as the Philistines come upon me, and yet I find that the Lord continues to be a shield, my stronghold, and my refuge. A picture of verses 7 and following. Just feel it as I read the words. Songs are written not to be analyzed, but to be experienced and felt.
Just follow along. In my distress I called upon the Lord. I cried to my God.
I cried. From his temple he heard my voice. My cry for help came into his ears. Now watch God move.
Just watch him in the movement of this psalm. My cry came into his ears. Then the earth shook and quaked. The foundation of heaven were trembling, and were shaken because he was angry. Smoke went up out of his nostrils and fire from his mouth devoured.
Coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens and came down with thick darkness under his feet. He rode on a cherub and flew.
Eloquent words, aren't they? He appeared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness canopies around him, a mass of waters, thick clouds of the sky. What's he doing? He's bringing rain.
He's answering the call for help in the drought and the famine. From the brightness before him, coals of fire were kindled. The Lord thundered from heaven. The Most High uttered his voice. He sent out arrows and scattered them, lightning and routed them.
The channels of the sea appeared. The foundations of the earth were laid bare by the rebuke of the Lord at the blast of the breath of his nostrils. He sent from on high. He took me. He drew me out of many waters, delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity. That's just like an enemy. Down, beaten, broken, an enemy comes and confronts and deals harshly, without feeling, without tenderness. But the Lord was my support.
Now look at this. Look at the reprieve in the psalm. He brought me into a broad place. He rescued me because he delighted in me.
Isn't that fantastic? We don't believe that 20th verse. We believe the business about calamity and strong enemies and distress and trouble and death and destruction and violence, but we don't really believe that the Lord delights in us.
But he says he does. That's the whole message of grace. The Lord dispatches his angels of hope and help because he finds delight in us. He cares for us. He feels our ache. He feels it deeply.
Even though we resist it, it's true. He delights in us. Are times hard? Are there troubled days upon you? Believe me, from this psalm you have the assurance that the Lord takes delight in you and your need. The psalmist says he brought me to a broad place because he delighted in me. When times are tough, the Lord is our only security. The second theme begins in verse 21 and carries us down into 31. When days are dark, the Lord is our only light. Look, for example, at verse 29. It will remind you of another psalm.
For thou art my lamp, O Lord, and the Lord illumines my darkness. When I was a little boy, my dad and I used to flounder. I don't know too many people out here that are familiar with floundering, but it's very popular on the Gulf Coast. You have a lantern, and you walk about knee-deep or not much deeper than that in shallow water along the shore, and you have a gig in your hand. It's a two-pronged spear, sort of a broomstick on the end of it, and as you swing the lantern along, you look for the flounder that have come up close to the shore, and they flutter their little fins, and they sink down in the sand. And the sand comes over the flounder, and of course it's about the color of sand already, so it's perfectly camouflaged.
And this flounder that's built sideways has a mouth that just was wide open, and it's there to capture the shrimp or the mullet that come in close in the evening or in the nighttime in the cool, shallow waters of the Gulf. And I remember walking along with a lamp or a lantern, an old Coleman lantern. We'd swing it along, and we'd stop, and we would see one. And my dad would say, Do you want to get him, or do you want me to get him? I remember the first time I said, I'll get him, and I gigged my toe. I just knew I could get him, and I was right over him.
I went right down in the toe of my sneaker and right in the front there, just grazed alongside my great toe on my foot there. And the lantern, as a result of it, the flounder of course, and flashed all this water up and blew the lantern out. Here we were in complete darkness.
I recall how that little lantern gave you just enough light to see into the water and see just the step or two ahead of you. It's all the light you needed. And that's all the light the Lord needs to give. He's a lamp. There are times that we are floundering our way along, and we cannot see much further than that step, and that's all the light he's required to give, and that's all the light he plans to give.
He's gracious to hold back some of it. Chuck Swindoll's illustration helps us personalize the truth in this passage. In the dark and foreboding moments of our lives, God provides a light source. It reminds me of David's words recorded in Psalm 119. David said, Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. That's an abiding principle here at Insight for Living, the reason we use the Bible every day on this program.
And if you're prepared to dig deeper on your own, let me provide a couple of suggestions. First, there's a tool we provide for every sermon Chuck presents on this program. We call this free resource Searching the Scriptures. It's a document that contains interactive study notes so you can personally engage in every passage that Chuck addresses. Feel free to share the PDF with your friends or print out copies for your Bible study group.
All the details for Searching the Scriptures are at insightworld.org slash studies. And then I'll point you to a classic from Chuck that's been an inspiration to so many readers. It's called Growing Deep in the Christian Life. It's a perfect choice over the summer months because it breathes life into the practical side of theology. In this book, Chuck delves into key doctrinal issues and explains why they're so important for you to understand today.
And he does so with humor and down-to-earth applications. To purchase Chuck's book called Growing Deep in the Christian Life, go to insight.org slash store. Or call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. This daily program is made possible through the voluntary contributions of grateful listeners like you. So please, as God prompts you to give, follow His lead. To get in touch today, call us.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Or if you're online, go to insight.org. . Travelers who want to take a tour to Israel have lots of choices, but few measure up to the thoughtful journey prepared by Insight for Living Ministries. With a proper mix of historical information and biblical context, we provide ample opportunities to pause and let the wonder in.
Our goal is to create special moments when you deepen your love for the Bible and draw closer to your Lord. Experience an unforgettable 12-day tour to Israel with Chuck Swindoll and Insight for Living Ministries March 5th through the 16th, 2023. To help you grasp the significance of each site, you'll be accompanied by hand-picked Israeli guides, and we choose the best, along with seminary-trained pastors and professors to enhance your spiritual journey. No organization I know of offers this level of exceptional, in-depth instruction and personal care for Holy Land travelers.
To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. Just imagine walking along sacred sites and watching the Bible come to life. Make your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444 or go to insight.org slash events. Insight for Living Ministries Tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us again when Chuck Swindoll continues to describe the triumphal psalm of David. That's Thursday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, A Song of Triumph, was copyrighted in 1978, 1988, 1997, and 2009, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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