And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul:
2 Samuel 22:31
The way of God may mean: (1) the way which He prescribes, the simple, absolute way of holy duty into which He seeks to guide the soul; or (2) the way which He Himself pursues, the method of His dealings with His children, humanity, and the world.
I. Consider first our knowledge of the way of God. (1) There is a light in man—call it the practical reason, the conscience, the moral sense, or what you will—which, even in a fallen state, is capable of furnishing to man certain broad lines of duty which will be coincident mainly with the ways of God. (2) God sent His word to reinforce conscience and to inspire it to be a guide. (3) God is a Person; and in Christ, the express image of His person, we may talk to Him as a friend to a friend.
II. Notice the ways of man with which David had had opportunity to compare the perfect way of God. (1) The way of passion; (2) the way of pride; (3) the way of the world.
III. Notice the reason of the perfectness of God's way as the way of a soul. (1) It stands square with the possibilities, constitution, convictions, and needs of our being; (2) with the laws and orders of the great universe; (3) with the fact of eternity.
I. The way of God is perfect in that grand order of the universe which He has established and maintains.
II. In the order and progress which, as Lord of men, He secures in the human world; in the discipline and education of individual souls. The leading principles of His way are: (1) To establish a strong attraction; (2) to leave that principle to develop itself and have control of the whole nature and of the world by struggle; (3) to make it learn, by extreme severities of discipline if need be, patience, power, and knowledge of a fitness for Himself.
J. Baldwin Brown, The Perfect Way of God: Two Discourses.
2 Samuel 22:36These words gather up into their brief utterance all the song of the great king David when he recounted his greatness, and reveal at once the secret of his greatness and the heart of his song. David knew God as few human souls have done. He knew Him as the Creator and the Judge, but when he comes to consider his own life, it is to the gentleness of God he turns. All the lights and shadows and depths and heights of his manifold spiritual life had this for their source, and only this: the gentleness of God.
I. The gentleness of God is the secret spring of all the worth to which the great ones of God's kingdom have ever reached. Above and underneath all virtues are the dews and fountain-springs of the gentleness of God. From verge to verge, over all the sea of redeemed life, rises the thankful, joyous, self-abasing song, "Lamb of God, slain for us, Thy gentleness hath made us great."
II. It is not only the lives of saintly thinkers and workers in former centuries that illustrate this fact. It is borne out by the experience and testimony of God's people at the present day. Under all varieties of experience each arrives at the same conclusion: "By His grace we are what we are."
III. Of this gentleness which maketh great, Christ is the manifestation to us. The work Christ came to accomplish was the bestowal of gentleness upon a world which had lost the very elements of it. The light which shines from the Cross is the gentleness of God. He passed into the shadow of death, and there, with the gentleness of a Divine mother, laid His hand on the hand, His heart on the heart, of the very race which crucified Him, that He might overcome their enmity and bring them back to God.
IV. This is still the greatness of Christ as a Saviour and His power over the hearts of men. He is strong to save because He is longsuffering, and merciful, and generous. We are surprised when we read, "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us," but it is the same wonder of mercy, the same manifestation of gentleness, that He still lives to save His enemies.
A. Macleod, Days of Heaven upon Earth, p. 184.
References: 2 Samuel 22:36.—A. M. Fairbairn, The City of God, p. 204; W. H. Jackson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xviii., p. 172; J. Van Oosterzee, Year of Salvation, vol. ii., p. 433. 2 Samuel 22:51.—J. Irons, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 371. 2Sam 22-23.—Parker, vol. vii., p. 214.
And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid;
The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;
In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.
There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.
And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.
And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.
Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled.
The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice.
And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.
And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.
He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters;
He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.
They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.
He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them.
I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.
Therefore the LORD hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight.
With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright.
With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.
And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down.
For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness.
For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall.
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?
God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.
He maketh my feet like hinds' feet: and setteth me upon my high places.
He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.
Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip.
I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them.
And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet.
For thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me.
Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me.
They looked, but there was none to save; even unto the LORD, but he answered them not.
Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad.
Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people, thou hast kept me to be head of the heathen: a people which I knew not shall serve me.
Strangers shall submit themselves unto me: as soon as they hear, they shall be obedient unto me.
Strangers shall fade away, and they shall be afraid out of their close places.
The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.
It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me,
And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies: thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.
Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.
He is the tower of salvation for his king: and sheweth mercy to his anointed, unto David, and to his seed for evermore.