Bible text: 2 Samuel 22:17-34
The text was written by David as a chronology of his experiences with God. As David neared his end, he could not help but marvel at the story that was his life. At every stop, every junction and intersection he could see the mighty hand of God working deliverance for him.
Verse 17-18 opens with
“he sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me for they were too strong for me”.
The verse is reminiscent of Isaiah 43:2, when you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you…” Isaiah 30:20 also mentioned “waters of affliction and the bread of adversity”. David had all these and more. His life was not easy right from birth. He was left with the most tedious and dangerous task of the family; keeping sheep in the wilderness all by himself even though he was the youngest. Through this task, he learnt early in life, to trust and depend on Jehovah more than anyone else.
Fast forward to some months after he won his most famous victory, Saul’s persecution made him a fugitive and a wanderer for many years. Through all those many waters of affliction God not only delivered him but used them to penetrate his heart and make it open for him (God). He became a better man, more refined and a source of nourishment to others.
Verses 24-27 could be a bit disturbing. It appears that David is proudly declaring his own righteousness and uprightness as the source of the victories he received. But we know very well that David failed in many things. He also needed help which God made possible through many people. Therefore, where is his boast?
“Everyone like sheep have gone astray, there is no one who seeks God, no not one” (Romans 3:10-12 , Psalms 14:1-3). Our righteousness is not of ourselves. Our righteousness is of God who has made us righteous in Christ Jesus.
David could point out his “righteousness” in the focus of his faith; his trust in God’s deliverance and his trust in God’s word (verse 31). He knew that his adversaries did not regard God’s laws in their dealings in contrast to himself. So his confidence is from his experience of deliverance as he trusts God and everything he has promised.
“Abraham believed God and he counted it unto him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). God knows that we have fallen below the standard in which he created us. All of our efforts at righteousness on our own power, falls terribly below His standard, and remains a filthy rag (Isaiah 64:6); but, faith in what he’s ordained imputes righteousness to us. The cleanness of our hands and the righteousness of our deeds are reckoned only on the basis of what we’re doing with the revealed word of God; JESUS. This faith we have in Jesus keeps us safe from spiritual corruption and helps us not to wickedly depart from our God as unbelievers do.
So, living right in response to God’s word is a sure way of attracting God’s blessings and deliverance, but, we must take care not to confuse God’s righteousness with our own self righteousness. God imputed righteousness to us because we have accepted Jesus’ finished work on the cross as the perfection of the righteousness of God. The grace that Jesus’ death brought makes it possible for us to enter boldly into God’s presence on the account of him who seats on the mercy seat speaking better things for us.
Our good works do not necessarily make us acceptable to God, as many people still erroneously believe, rather it is a manifestation or the offshoot of our faith as people who have been cleansed (See Titus 2:11-14). If we remove Jesus’ work of salvation from our righteousness, it simply means that we are basing it on our works and this equates us with the rest of mankind who trust in other ways of being right with God other than through Christ redemptive death and resurrection.
PRAYER: father we thank you for your sure promises which never grow old. You are faithful and so we can confidently trust in what you’ve spoken. Help us lord by your mercy to keep on walking in the light of your revealed word and live each day according to the precepts you’ve laid down for us. By so doing we continue to live out the grace we’ve received as we await the joyful return of our saviour and for the reward that awaits us for accepting your lordship over our lives. This is our prayer in Jesus name, Amen!