These small group studies through the lives of David and Solomon contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
David’s Song of Praise – 2 Samuel 22 Inductive Bible Study
God protects David from His enemies (1-7)
God is spectacular (8-16)
More on God’s protection for David (17-20)
David’s close relationship with God (21-30)
David praises God (31-37)
David is thankful for God’s deliverance (38-46)
David resolves to praise God (47-51)
I. God protects David from His enemies (1-7)
- What is the background for this song? Why is included here instead of with the rest of David’s Psalms?
- What is the main theme of this song?
- How does David describe God in these verses? Why does he describe God like this?
- What were some of the times in David’s life when the “waves of death” and “torrents of destruction” were all around him?
- How did David respond when he faced these difficulties?
- What should we do when we face troubles?
1. So far we have focused on the narrative passages about David. We have learned much of his life story, the good and the bad. But a study of David’s life would not be complete without reading some of his own personal writings. It is in these psalms that we get a much deeper and more personal glimpse of David. We learn his thoughts. We feel his struggles. We experience his victories. We share his gratitude. We learn of his love for and praise to God. We also sometimes see doubts or complaints. In David’s prayers to God he bares his soul. There is no pretense. There is no pretending. What you see is what you get. While we don’t always remember it, David was in fact a prolific writer. He recorded many prayers and songs (at least 75), which have been included in the Bible for us to study and learn from. While 2 Samuel 22 is not in the book of Psalms, it nonetheless accurately represents the attitude and content of many of David’s Psalms.
Application: David clearly kept a song/prayer journal. Throughout our study of his life we see that David had a very close and real relationship with God. One reason is his love for and delight for God’s Word as well as his personal prayer life. Do you keep a prayer journal? This could be one way to deepen your walk with the Lord.
2. David sang to the Lord – We should do the same. Singing is not just something to do with others or on Sundays. Singing can be very personal way to express our own prayers and praises to God.
3. The Lord is my rock – David uses the words: rock, fortress, deliverer, refuge, shield, horn, salvation, stronghold, and savior in these verses to describe God. What did he mean by all of these descriptions? Why use so many different adjectives? God is incomprehensible. One song says that God is “indescribable.” You see, none of these words do adequate justice to portray exactly who God is. But each of these words gives us a glimpse of one aspect of God’s character. David (and we) could not perfectly describe God, but he certainly tried. We should put a solid shape to our thoughts about God. Writing songs or prayer journals can help us do that.
Sometimes a counselor will ask a man, “what do you like about your wife?” Men will sometimes answer, “That’s a good question. I haven’t thought about that.” Or “Well, I don’t know exactly. She is nice.” These are not good or clear answers. I am pretty sure that ladies would not be happy to hear those “descriptions.” A good husband should strive to praise his wife by expressing thoughts vocally. That first requires meditating on your wife. The same is true about our relationship with God. We should meditate on God and express our praises to God. Verse 4 says that He is worthy of praise. Even if our attempts are feeble and do not adequately express just how great God is, a feeble attempt is better than no attempt. And practice makes perfect!
Rock – David describes God as rock and fortress. David’s life was filled with difficulty. He had many enemies. He fought long wars. And he lived for years as a fugitive. In verses 5-6 he poetically describes these difficulties as “waves of death” swirling about him and “torrents of destruction” and the “cords of the grave.” But God was His one constant. God was the solid foundation. Turning to God made him feel safe. Standing on God’s unchanging promises, meant that David could be stable no matter what troubles were raging around him.
In Hebrews 13:8, we learn that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He wants to be the solid rock for your life. He wants to be your fortress and your refuge. Are you building your house on the solid rock of Christ or are you building your house on the constantly shifting sands of money, materials, or pleasure?
What is your refuge? Who or what will you turn to when things get difficult?
II. God is spectacular (8-16)
- What is David describing in these verses? Should we take his description literally or figuratively? Why?
- What do we learn from these verses about what God is like?
- What is the relationship between God and nature?
- Should we consider that God launches the lightning bolts and blasts wind from His mouth or does this not fit with science? How can we view God’s power over nature and also the scientific laws that govern our world?
1. In these verses David seems to be describing how God reacted to David’s enemies. In verse 15 he mentions that God shot His “arrows” and “scattered the enemy.” Then in verses 17-18 he continues on about God’s protection from his enemies. Verses 8-9 portray God’s anger, again seemingly with David’s enemies.
2. These verses seem to be a poetic (figurative) description of God. God’s power and glory are indescribable. But David still makes a valiant attempt to paint a picture which can give us a glimpse of God’s spectacular awesomeness! Let’s look at the description of God verse by verse and answer the question, “What do these verses teach us about God?
III. More on God’s protection for David (17-20)
- Were these actual waters David was sinking in? What might they represent?
- Will God still do this for us?
- Why did God deliver David?
1. He reached down and took hold of me – Here is on amazing aspect of God’s character. Some people believe that God is very distant. He is like an impersonal force. Or He created the world and then just “let it go.” This was a popular view of God by 18th century deists in America. But it is not a Scriptural portrayal of God. Here we see that God cared enough for David to reach down and pick him up when he needed help. This shows us a God who is personal. He is a God who cares. He is a God who is willing to get involved with earthly matters and in our very own lives. In the previous passage we saw some of God’s supernatural characteristics. Here we see He is not only powerful, but personal. We can have a personal relationship with Him and that is some of the best news in the whole Bible. Do you have a personal relationship with God like David did? Or are you distant from Him? If so, it is your own fault. See James 4:8.
2. God is stronger than David’s enemies. No matter how tough things seem or how desperate they get, remember that God is stronger. God is stronger than anything you face. Make up your mind to rely wholly on Him as David did.
3. Because He delighted in me – Does God delight in us too? I believe He does. We are precious to Him. We have great value in His sight. When we do what is right, He is pleased. We can imagine Him smiling just like a proud father would. At the same time, when we sin, He does not cast us out. How can He cast away something He delights in? He delights in us. Do you delight in Him?
IV. David’s close relationship with God (21-30)
- Is David being prideful here? Are his words true? Was he righteous?
- Will God bless us when we are righteous?
- Can we pray like this to God?
- How can we resolve these statements with verses like Romans 3:23?
- What can we learn from verses 26-28?
- Will God treat the faithful/pure/humble like this?
1. One thing that is very amazing to me about David’s prayer life is his (brutal) honesty. This is not unique to David. Jeremiah, Abraham, Habakkuk, Job, and Moses are the same way. Some of their prayers are filled with complaining, whining, anger, or doubt. Certainly we shouldn’t accuse God. Neither is complaining right. At the same time, there is something very refreshing about their honesty. They are open to God with their feelings. And why not be? God knows everything. God knows exactly what they are thinking. Is there any point for us to try to pretend to be more spiritual than we actually are in our prayers to God? NO! That will just add hypocrisy onto our list of sins. I believe that God wants us to be honest with Him. Some people will never truly know who you are deep inside. But we should not be afraid to bare all before God (see verse 15). Through the process of telling God how we feel, we should also humbly allow Him to correct our wrong attitudes and wrong feelings/emotions. Just like in our relationships with other people, we should bring our problems out into the open to solve them rather than burying them deep where they can fester and grow.
2. David’s righteousness – We don’t know whether he wrote this before or after his sin with Bathsheba, but it would appear that he wrote it first based on the intro to this song. But even at that time, David was a sinner. Obviously there were times when he failed. So how he could say these things with a straight face? See 1 John 3:4-10 and Proverbs 24:16. While David did sin, we have seen that David was generally very quick to repent when confronted with his sin. When he repented, God forgave him. And I believe this is why he could say these strong statements.
Application: Are you quick to repent when you sin? Are you willing to humble yourself and confess verbally to the people around you and to God? If you do, God will cleanse you.
3. To the faithful you show yourself faithful – Some have asked whether there is any benefit to serving God. The answer is a resounding “YES!” But it is not the kind of benefit most of those people are looking for. They are looking for materials, something tangible they can see and feel. From these verses we learn that God is on the side of the humble, but sets Himself against the haughty. You tell me, is there a benefit to having God on your side (or more accurately, to being on God’s side?)
David praises God (31-37)
- What attitude does David display here?
- What can we learn from him about how to praise God?
- Is it important that we praise God?
- How can you become a person who truly delights in praising God like David?
1. He shields those who take refuge in Him – Here we see God’s sovereign power side by side together with our responsibility. We have to make the choice to take refuge in Him. If we do, He shields us. We would not and could not take credit for that. All the credit goes to Him who protects us.
2. He trains my hands for battle – Here too we see our responsibility. David was a warrior. God sent him into many battles. These days God generally works in a different way. He sends us to fight different kinds of battles. What kinds of battles does He send us into? How can you be prepared? What was David’s view of God’s role and his own role in these battles?
David is thankful for God’s deliverance (38-46)
- How could David win such complete victories?
- Was he right to destroy them so utterly? Why or why not?
- With what kind of attitude did David approach these missions from God?
- What missions has God given you? Are you approaching them with like tenacity perseverance?
1. David was very thorough – The missions God gave him to accomplish, he finished completely. He gave 100% effort. A good leader always wants his troops to give 100% effort. We should do no less for God. Whether we are serving in church, sharing the gospel, doing housework, or working on a project at the office, we should give 100% effort and do our best.
VII. David resolves to praise God (47-51)
- To whom would David speak out his praises for God? Do you praise God in front of others? In private?
- If you were to replace your name with David’s in verse 51, what would you say God does for you?
- Let’s together offer prayers of praise to God.
1. David’s conclusion after all the many things he had seen in his life was to praise God. He did this. He did it sincerely. In Revelation we learn that God’s endvision for all creation is that we will worship Him. He created us for this purpose. Are you praising God? Are you worshiping Him? David made a conscious decision to do this. It is not something that comes automatically most of the time. We have to intentionally make the decision to do it. He shows His unfailing kindness and faithfulness to us. He is worth it.
Application: How will you begin to give God the praise He deserves?