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September 22, 2019

David's Last Song

Most would say that the only thing for certain in this life is death and taxes. What things are certain in your life? Listen or read four things for which to be absolutely certain.
Duration:28:58

Mike Gerhardt, 09-22-19, David's Passion, David's Last Song, 2 Samuel 22:1-51. How many have ever formally played a musical instrument in a school band or garage band? How many do not play that instrument anymore?

I don't know if I ever confessed this publicly, but I have written over sixty songs with guitar and piano. None made it to the top forty of anyone's list. One song was performed and recorded by Billy Lord, the country Christian musician. Another is in a church songbook for worship. I wrote two songs for my wedding which by the way was 39 years ago yesterday; one I sang to Janet as she walked down the long aisle to me, and one that Janet and I sang together. Here's a chorus of one of my dumber songs: Get out and run a mile, get out and run a mile, you know there's clean air to breathe out there so get out and run a mile. Maybe 619 Fitness can use it to inspire more participation.

Chapter 23:1, the writer stated that these were the last words of David when in reality David has a lot more to say before he dies in 1 Kings 2. This may be a way to say these were the last public pronouncements of David. Some commentators see Chapter 22 as the last public song David sang though there may have been more songs privately. In our 11 messages studying David, we mentioned briefly that he played guitar and wrote a lot of songs. Most are recorded in the Book of Psalms, some 73 are attributed to him. We have looked at David's passion for the Lord, and his passion for life. This final message will not be enough to grasp all that happened to David which are recorded from first Samuel to first Kings chapter 2 and in first Chronicles chapters 11-29, plus all the songs he wrote. For a fuller study, pick up Chuck Swindoll's book David.

Wasn't there enough tragedy in David's life?  We mentioned that David's son Amnon raped Tamar his sister, and then was murdered by his stepbrother; then Absalom led a rebellion and raped David's wives publicly; then David fled Jerusalem and then Absalom was killed. When David returned to Jerusalem, he faced another rebellion - Sheba led the ten tribes of Israel against David. After that there David endured a 3-year famine. Then the Gibeonites wanted to slaughter all of Saul's remnant. And David conceded. Chapter 21 ends with several new battles with the Philistines (they just kept coming back). Then the text reads Verse 15 David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines and he became exhausted. No wonder. The long ravages of war, of personal hurt, of disappointment, of leadership pressures, it all finally wore David down. David had suffered the anguish and grief of running a kingdom. I don't know if it happens to you, but I get that way, exhausted. Sometimes I hear your stories and I wonder how much more calamity can one person take? Yet exhausted, David sang to the Lord. The last time it was recorded that he sang and danced was when the Ark was being brought into Jerusalem many years prior.

This wasn't a new song. It is Psalm 18 almost word for word. A psalm was written when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. In this song, Chuck Swindoll sees four themes, four expressions that weave their way in praise for the Lord God Jehovah no matter what had happened. Read verses 2-7.

When times are tough, God is our only deliverance. The song is filled with poetic expressions of the disasters that David faced. Waves of death swirled about me; torrents of destruction overwhelmed me…can you feel the emotion? Then I called and God heard! God was no distant deity to David; God was always listening. God is the only one who can deliver David or any of us. Verses 19-20 the Lord was my support… He rescued me…because he delighted in me.  The Lord delights in us his children. I watch my son with his two little boys and remember the days when I sat on the floor and let my boys climb all over me laughing. We had no need for entertainment, we delighted in our children. And God delights in you. So often our image of God is like a mean father who has a whip when in reality he is like a cheering father on the sideline with a banner with your name on it. He wants you to win the game called life.

When days are dark, God is our only light. Verse 29 you are my lamp, o Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light. Seeing the way is important. Walking in the dark can be perilous. A small light from our phones can prove enough against those Lego pieces or that shoe that we thought we put away. God lights our path. We might not see a mile down the road but God lights enough to make one more step. Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation. Read verses 32-40. When we are weak, God is our only strength. It is God who arms me with strength. David was not just talking about spiritual strength, but also physical strength, mental strength, and emotional strength. God enables me to stand on the heights. No fear. To face the battle with courage. Paul admitted in 2 Corinthians 12:10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. God's help makes me strong to do His will, especially when I am feeling weak! Verses 44-46.

When paths are unclear, God is our only hope. People I did not know… how are we to calculate what will happen tomorrow? How are we to understand the ripple effect of our faithfulness in the people around us and in their future? Recently someone in our church came up and thanked me for saying speaking to someone in the hospital who I was not visiting but I decided to stop and encourage them also with a few words. I have no idea how many tomorrows I have, but I know who does and who holds my future in His loving hands. Verse 51 He shows his unfailing kindness to his anointed.

There is a Psalm that I believe made a difference in David and can make a difference in each one of us if we could grasp its truth. Psalm 73:21-26. Pastor Reid read it some weeks ago. Fighting with negative emotions concerning events and enemies, the writer pens: my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant, I was a brute beast before You. Yet I am always with You. You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward, You will take me into your glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

That is the way David lived his life. That is the way we can live our lives also.