Poet, warrior, father, king . . . adulterer, murderer—David was all of these things. And yet he is also called a man after God’s own heart. Perhaps more than any other biblical character, David embodies the tension of fallen man in a relationship with a holy God. As we examine his song of praise, we see the interaction between God’s faithfulness and David’s faithful finish.
God chose David, a lowly shepherd boy, to be king over His people, and David represented the Lord well in the beginning (1 Samuel 16–2 Samuel 6). God also initiated an unconditional, everlasting covenant with David (2 Sam. 7:4–17). This didn’t, however, mean that David was exempt from temptation and sin. The consequences of his sin with Bathsheba reverberated for years. Despite monumental failure, David repented and the Lord remained loyal to His promises (2 Samuel 12; cf. Psalm 51).
Our reading today is a song of praise that David offered at the end of his life. The sections of the song reflect the relationship between this fallen-yet-faithful man and an always-faithful God. The first portion boasts of God’s deliverance (vv. 2–20). David depicted his enemies as powerful waters overtaking him and the vise grip of death strangling him. The Lord, however, is sovereign over the forces of creation, and He is mighty to save.
The second section, verses 21–30, reminds us that our faithfulness matters to God. He responds to our obedience and righteousness. This is not some sort of innate goodness or a salvation by works. It does mean that our response to God’s work of salvation is important. Those who seek to serve the Lord will experience His faithfulness (v. 26).
In the third part of the song, David praises the character and provision of God (vv. 31–51). There is a cause-and-effect portrayed here: because there is no God besides the Lord, therefore David is able to defeat his enemies (vv. 32–33). We can have victory because God is with us—“and who is the Rock except our God?” (v. 32).