1David sang this song to the LORD on the day the LORD rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. 2 He sang:

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
3 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.
4 I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and he saved me from my enemies.”
2 Samuel 22:1-4 (NLT)

There are many things one can say about King David. Obviously, he was a King. He was a victorious warrior. He was persecuted. He was a sinner. He was described by God as a man after His own heart. What has the strongest impact on me is that he was a man of praise. Whether running from Saul, winning tremendous victories or repenting from sin, David praised. He tasted the highest highs and lowest lows that mankind experiences. And he praised.

As I came to his song of praise in 2 Samuel 22 (today’s Resting at the River’s Edge reading), I was expecting a chapter like most other chapters in 2 Samuel. I was wrong. This is the longest chapter in the book of 2 Samuel and it is one of only a handful of chapters dealing with only one topic. At 51 verses, it has nearly 50% more verses than any other chapter in 2 Samuel and its single topic is praise.

17 “He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
19 They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
but the LORD supported me.
20 He led me to a place of safety;
he rescued me because he delights in me.”
2 Samuel 22:17-20 (NLT)

In today’s world of 144 character tweets and two or three sentence Facebook posts, 51 verses took me by surprise. I wonder how long it took him to write the song? I’m guessing it was longer than it will take me to write this blog post – which will probably be about 1,000 words – many of which are David’s. (David’s song, by the way, is 835 words long in this translation, 909 in NIV.)

I love to praise God! I am a worshipper at heart. (Yes, there is a difference between praise and worship, but that’s a topic for another blog.) These 51 verses of praise demonstrate practices of praise that stretch me and as I look at them, the Holy Spirit asks me several questions:

  • David’s praise is “crafted.”It has the characteristics of something that has been written and rewritten so that the meter and rhyme worked (in its original language) and so that it could be easily remembered and sang. I’m not a song writer , a poet or an artist. Yet there is value in taking time to think through the reasons we have to praise God and to shape those reasons into something that pleases God. In today’s world it might be a song, a poem, a blog, a piece of art, a scrapbook, a Pinterest pinboard or YouTube video.
    • And the Holy Spirit asks me “When was the last time you ‘crafted’ a praise to the Lord?”
  • It took David a bit of time to write this praise– undoubtedly at least an hour or two, perhaps many times more than that. The song praises God specifically for who He is and for what He’s done.
    • And the Holy Spirit asks me “When was the last time you spent an hour or two praising God in your own words?”
  • David “worked” at developing this praise.That may seem like a contradiction. We tend to have the perspective that praise should come naturally and when it doesn’t it feels like we are being hypocritical. Ignore your feelings. They are wrong. We are commanded to praise God. That means we’re to do it whether we feel like it or not. We’re to offer a “sacrifice of praise,” which is a phrase that is used repeatedly throughout the Bible. That means we’re to do it whether we feel like it or not.
    • And the Holy Spirit asks me “When was the last time you worked at praising God?”
  • David’s praise gave Him confidence in God.As you read through the 51 verses, you see David’s confidence in God grow as He praises God for His faithfulness and for His sovereign power.
    • And the Holy Spirit asks me “Are you learning to praise God when your confidence needs to be boosted?”

29 “O LORD, you are my lamp.
The LORD lights up my darkness.
30 In your strength I can crush an army;
with my God I can scale any wall.
31 God’s way is perfect.
All the LORD’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
32 For who is God except the LORD?
Who but our God is a solid rock?
33 God is my strong fortress,
and he makes my way perfect.
34 He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
enabling me to stand on mountain heights.”
2 Samuel 22:29-34

David’s praise was the result of a lifetime of triumphs and struggles. But a lifetime of triumphs and struggles don’t always result in a life characterized by praise. It is by praising – by practicing praise during those triumphs and struggles that our life become characterized by it. I want my life to be characterized by praise. That means developing the pattern of spending time with God crafting my praise, working at it even when I don’t feel like it, and praising Him when it looks like I’m about to go under.

Lord, help me praise with David:

 “The LORD lives! Praise to my Rock!
May God, the Rock of my salvation, be exalted!”
2 Samuel 22:47

Friends, let get our praise on!

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