Rev. Toh Nee Lim | On 06, Feb 2019
Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 22:1-14
“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, out of the hand of Saul: 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.”
2 Samuel 22 is a song sung by the Musicians in the tabernacle. This song is composed by David, apparently at the end of his life. David is a poet, a natural musician; he plays the harp. The lyric in this song is poetic in nature, and David plays the harp and sings it to the LORD. We can say that music could summon a good spirit or help someone with an evil spirit. It is not surprising that music calmed Saul who had mental illness. Music has a mysterious way to heal mental illness. Concerning Saul’s illness, I want to reaffirm my belief in the demonic; Saul’s illness has to do with the demonic. And music was able to bring tranquility to his soul.
This story was featured in Fox News just yesterday. Brian Johnson who is Bethel Music founder and worship pastor, the son of Bill Johnson experienced severe panic and anxiety that hospitalized him after a nervous breakdown. An ambulance had to come to his home at Redding, California to pick him up. That was July 2015, where he lost control and was desperate and broken. Then he recounted his recovery. He played music 24/7 around the house, read the bible in the mornings. Also, through a SOZO healing time with his wife, prayer, bible reading and more music he started to see light at the end of the tunnel. After 4 years he said that there is a lot of fruit from the dark season of his life and of course worship music. He said, ‘I have this passion to encourage people that are really going through it, the Word and Worship, when you get desperate going after God with all you have, I really believe every answer in life if found in that. Today Bethel Music Family is starting a victory tour across the United States. One of the songs that came out of that experience is titled: ‘You are going to be OK.’
Later it is believed this song in 2 Samuel 22 was put to music for use in the temple services and appears in the book of Psalms as Psalms 18. Music plays a very important role in this church because it can bring down the presence of God and bring forth a good spirit. Music is wonderful thing in the church. Music has the power to touch the inner door of your soul. It opens up the heart. It opens up the mind. It opens up life. It lets you live. We hear so much about people wanting to ‘live’ and music does it. 2 Samuel is a song of deliverance and this morning I want to share about deliverance. Psalms 18 is a duplicate of 2 Samuel 22. The title of Psalms 18 comes from the Greek word Psallo which means ‘to pluck’. When YHWH delivers you, it is to pluck you out of the hand of the enemies and you are going to be OK afterwards. As David looked back over his life, he could see how the hand of God had moved and brought him to the place of old age. I can understand David. As I grow older, and as I ponder over my life, I must say, I can see how the hand of God has moved and brought me to where I am today. Paul put it this way, ‘Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ. God has brought you up to this moment, friend; why in the world do you think he is going to let you down now. Gods loving deliverances for David in the past gives you confidence for your future. David recognizes God in all the experience of life and it has been one of deliverances. David’s relationship with the living God, especially in the area of deliverance is a model for us to follow.
I want us to observe the part of God in deliverance.
1. The Description and Titles for YHWH
2 Samuel 22:3 says, “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 savior; thou savest me from violence.”
He is my rock, which literally is a cleft rock. A cleft rock is such that there is a split in the rock so that I can hide in. When David says God is his rock, it means that YHWH is a solid, immovable, unchanging rock, that hides David in a cleft for concealment. It shows the unchanging character of God. There are times God would need to hide you away for a period of time to protect you from danger or even protect you from yourself. Jan was asking Pastor Lily why her sermons are so anointed and yet God did not use her to a wilder audience outside of Iloilo. Well, for one, I know that Pastor Lily is not interested in such limelight and also, I feel that God is hiding her. If God hides you it is to protect you from danger or protect you from yourself. Bro Winston was sharing about Lauren Daigle who was recently interviewed by Ellen DeGeneres. Actually prior to Winston’s sharing, Pastor Lily had mentioned to me about Lauren Daigle. Pastor Lily has great admiration for Lauren Daigle and enjoyed her songs; for example, Noel, Noel. She was so good that she was invited to sing together with Chris Tomlin. She was a simple girl and plain in her dressing. Previously she will just wear a T shirt and jean when performing but today she is full of makeup, dyed hair with all sort of ornaments over her body. But the day she was nominated for Grammy awards she started changing. This Grammy award things is from the devil and it has destroyed many good Christians singers. Amy Grant, Sandy Patty, Israel Houghton, Casting Crown. Whitney Houston. All started off well but when the Grammy Awards or Nomination came, it started their downfall. There is something that God doesn’t want to put you in the world fame arena. He wants to hide you in a cleft for concealment. The same goes with many of us. We are concealed by God because we cannot handle success and we will be exposed to danger.
He is my fortress. The ancient ‘fortress’ was a walled city, a sophisticated construction of defensive barriers that kept out all but the most persistent of enemies. Typically, it featured high, thick stone walls, often constructed above a glacis, a sharply angled, smooth stone slope. In a land of mostly unwalled villages, the population hurried to a walled ‘fortress’ city for security when an enemy attacked. YHWH’s protection of you is sophisticated and out of reach from the most persistent of enemies in your life.
He is my deliver, my shield and my horn of salvation. The horn is a means of attack and defense against some of the strongest animals. It is an idiom of power and strength. He is my high tower. The high tower is literally high places beyond the reach of danger. He is my refuge and my Savior.
2. Deliverance from all Forms of Enemies
2 Samuel 22:4-6 says, “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.’
These verses declared I will be saved from all forms of enemies. Waves of death, flood of ungodly men and sorrows of hell are three forms of enemies mentioned here. The sorrow of hell compassed me literally means sorrow comes upon me like that of a net; it becomes unbearable to a point of experiencing hell. The snares of death prevented me means death encountered me, cross my path and endangered my safety. The Psalmist does not mean that he was in death’s power but rather death crossed his path. Then there were the floods of ungodly men that makes him afraid. I must be honest that there were many times that the flood of ungodly men makes me afraid but today I realize it is foolish for these ungodly men to make me afraid because I am no more under them. Even though I am no more under them, they still want to make me afraid. I have to declare in my spirit that I am not afraid of them because I am no more under them. Then hell and death, here are personified as man’s great enemy. Recently God revealed something to me that is very revelatory and powerful. He told me that Death is in the hand of YHWH, not Satan. To those who know YHWH, death is a friend, not a foe. Time and life are in YHWH’s hand! Death should not be decided by Satan but rather YHWH. I must not allow death to come upon anybody prematurely when it is not decided by YHWH. David says ‘I am going the way of all the earth’. David knows everybody has to die and he has to die too. But he says his death is in the plan of God. He has accomplished God’s purpose for him on earth and it was God’s plan for him after serving for 40 years as King to go the way of all the earth. It was God’s plan and God’s time. But David’s death is not decided by Satan and his devil and demons. What I am trying to say is that if it is not time for anyone to die, you should not die. I must not allow death to come upon anybody when it is not decided by YHWH. My mum is 83 years old and recently she had to have a major surgery. We all know that it is not good for old people to go for surgery. At that time, I was in Cambodia and God told me specifically that I am to go to my mum and pray for her and she will be ok. So, while transiting to Singapore, Pastor Lily and I went to the Singapore hospital to see her. Pastor lily told me that when she saw her face, it was a face of depression, probably the fear of death. I took the authority and told her that God told me to come and pray for her and she will be well. Well her spirit livens up. Today she is still alive even after the major surgery. I called her recently and instead of being concerned for her own health, she told me to pray for her sister’s son who is in comatose in Singapore. She believes in my prayer. My mum is still recovering and improving day by day. One day, after fasting for one month, and deciding whether I should stop fasting (honestly who wants to fast) when I step into the church sanctuary after the SCG, the voice of God was so clear, loud and authoritatively that I am not allowed to stop fasting. I obeyed God to fast and specifically not only for this church but for my mum. I have to tell the devil that he is not allowed to take away any lives when it is not decided by YHWH that they should die. YHWH doesn’t want my mum to die and I have to fight for her by fasting and declaring and praying. Actually, to be honest, God doesn’t want my mum to die before my enemies
David describes his distress in vivid, parallel, poetic language. Death experience is always a vivid experience. The bible says, ‘the cords of death encompassed me.’ It is possible that ‘cords’ is understood as ‘waves’ of death. David also uses this language in thanking God for deliverance from ‘pangs of death’ and ‘rivers of Belial’. The torrents of Belial terrified me. David also uses the phrase ‘cord of Shoel’ that surround him. Every human is fearful of death until they have a personal faith encounter with the God of life and love. But more than that they should know that Satan does not control death but he does want to steal our life for early death. And we have to fight for it when death has not been decided by God.
3. All the Senses of God are Activated for Deliverance
2 Samuel 22:7-14 says, ‘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 utter his voice.’
2 Samuel 22:28 says, ‘And the afflicted thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down.’
Notice the anthropomorphic phrases.
1. His ears, v. 7
2. His nostrils, vv. 9,16
3. His mouth, v. 9
4. His feet, v. 10
5. His voice, v. 14
6. His eyes, vv. 25,28
Do you know that all the senses of God react to our cry? God is alive. I do not know what is your problem and affliction. This is something that God told me when I am in trouble.
He heard (ears)
He smelled (nose)
His mouth will speak (mouth)
His feet will hasten to my rescue (touch)
His thundering voice (mouth)
He sees (eyes)
The 5 senses are activated to my cries and drawn to my cries. Hearing (ears), seeing (eyes), smelling (nose), tasting (the mouth) and feeling (the touch).
He hears the bitter cries in the silence of the night. Your cries enter into his ears. He hears you out of His temple. When you cry out to God in the church, that cries enter into His ears. His eyes see the stumbling of your feet. He is touched with our feeling of infirmity. His thundering voice will dispel the enemy. The lightning and the thunder are the voices of God. Every enemies are afraid of thunder. You must understand the fact that God has acted in an intensely personal way: he had come to David and helped him in his times of need.
What happens when all the senses of God react to my cry?
Verse 8 says, ‘Then the earth shook and trembled, the foundations of heaven moved and shook.’ They are references to earthquakes. Verse 9 says, ‘There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. They are references to volcanic eruptions. Verse 12 says, ‘He made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies. They are references to typhoons, cyclones. Many waters represent calamities. Much of these imageries are one of military deliverance and establishment of reign. God displayed his mighty power in earthquakes, winds, rain, lightning, thunder and darkness and he used these forces to save David from his enemies.
I am going to touch on something that is sensitive. All causality (the relation of cause and effect) is attributed to YHWH. In the Old Testament there is only one ultimate source and that is YHWH. There are no secondary causes in Israel’s worldview. All acts are attributed to Him. This is a way that YHWH asserts his sovereignty. These are difficult verses to interpret theologically. It includes sickness. How about weather; typhoon, earthquakes, famine? Are all weather events from YHWH?
Please understand that YHWH sees, hears, and his voice thunders as a result of the cry of a child of God. All the senses of God are drawn towards the cry of his child. Of course, YHWH chose David as His example when it comes to deliverance. Because David loves God. Because David is divinely chosen by God. David is the servant YHWH. David is not sinless but he walks with God and obeys God; fulfilling the purpose and plan of God in his entire life. Jan made a statement to me yesterday which I felt summed up our life. She said, ‘I realized that I just have to walk with you.’ That is David. And when you do that, all the senses of YHWH are activated for deliverance for David and all the forces of nature are at YHWH disposal to rescue David. I also remembered that one time there was a couple that were criticizing us and very unhappy with our style of leadership. I remembered Typhoon Frank. They were staying in Ledesco Village. And the whole of Ledesco Village was submerged. They had to climb to the rooftop. All electricity was cut off and they were in danger that a helicopter had to go Ledesco and rescue them. During Typhoon Frank, I was staying at Barangay Cubay, Balabago. I still remember that the road was like a river. But it was Sunday and we still were able to go the church with our Tamaraw. But no water entered our house in Barangay Cubay. A woman who says that I cheated my ex church financially claiming she was an accountant and understand accounting. She declared this to Ben and Joy. The next thing I heard was her husband had a stroke and he had heart by-pass surgery. That same lady who lost everything when her house was flood to the rooftop also suffered a scare on her heart and too had heart surgery because of so much evil that they have spoken against this church and Pastor Lily and I. Then there was this terrible storm. Typhoon Yolanda is considered the most powerful typhoon ever to hit Philippines but God spared Iloilo City and Etab. But Etab was spared. I believed God did the separation. I remember when Typhoon Yolanda was about to hit Iloilo, on that eve, I was facing the window of my house In Molo praying for mercy. And He showed mercy. As far as I am concerned, I do believe YHWH can use weather to judge His people and encourage them to obey Him. But does that mean all weather or nature events are directly caused/sent by God? Honestly, I cannot give you an answer because of the sovereignty of God. We live in a wonderful but fallen world. And YHWH’s use of weather is always directly related to His covenant people.
4. God, The Deliverer
David’s deliverance is a glorious deliverance. He experienced divine deliverance in his agitated life. God is a mighty protector and defender of the righteous. David saw the deliverance he had experienced was attended by extraordinary miraculous phenomenon. Throughout history YHWH has always been a deliverer. And his deliverance is always associated with someone who loves him, chosen by him and serve him, especially those in the divine plan of God. He delivers Jacob’s family from famine, so that a nation will not perish. He delivers Joseph from death. He delivers Israel from Egypt. He delivers David from Saul. He delivers Daniel and the three Hebrew children from death. He delivers Daniel from the Lion’s den. He delivers Jonah from the whale. He is a God of deliverance. And He is still delivering people. He is in the business of deliverance.
A missionary from Kenya responded to the question of what it was that was drawing so many people to Christ. He replied that the number one question that was asked of the missionary was about the power of God, what God was able to do. Then he told of several incidents where whole communities were made aware of God’s power through some very concrete experiences and how the result was hundreds of individuals turning to God. In the midst of God’s love and grace we must not lose sight of His power, the same power that raised Jesus Christ up from the grave. That power points to God as the deliverer.