How to Walk on High Places
2 Samuel 22:1-7, 26-37
September 18-19, 2021
Of course, the Psalms are just so, they're just so amazing how they minister to the soul. Many people in their devotions, for example, will read at least a Psalm, maybe one of the Proverbs, and then somewhere else also but the Psalms are like a regular diet of just speaking life.
The Psalms, many of them were written by David. Here in many of the Psalms that he writes, he's revealing his heart after God. He writes these Psalms, Psalms are actually songs. You might not know that, right? They're actually songs to be sung. David was a musician and he wrote many of his psalms as songs to be sung.
Many of you might not know this but I was a songwriter when I was young. When I was young, I was very-- a musician and a singer and had a band and used to write songs, and it was a very, it's a way of pouring out your heart. I wrote a song for a friend called Hello, Old Friend, ain't that creative, and I wrote a song for my dad. Many of you know, of course, he was a non-believer for most of his life. He didn't come to faith till he was 75. He was an abusive alcoholic.
I wrote a song. It was a prayer. It was a song that was praying for my dad. That was one. Then, of course, I would write songs. Some woman broke up with me, I'd write a song.
[sympathy]. I know. Exactly. See? You just pour out your heart. David, he wrote psalms. All his life did he write psalms. Starting when he was just a shepherd out watching the sheep when he was a teen. He would write many songs, playing, singing them to the Lord and to the sheep, but to the Lord. All through his life at those monumental key points in his life, you know there are key points in all of our lives, David would often write a psalm at those key points.
When Saul was pursuing him relentlessly and God's saved him over and over and over, he would write a psalm. When he sinned with Bathsheba, he wrote a psalm in the grief that he was carrying, the agony of his own sin, he wrote a psalm. When Absalom came to take the kingdom out of his hand and he was fleeing, he wrote a psalm.
Here in 2 Samuel 22, in the story of David, we have one of those psalms written right here in 2 Samuel 22. It's a song that speaks of God's help. It's a song that honors God for the help that God is at deliverer. When you look at David's life, one of the key aspects is that David had so many troubles and God saved, God delivered over and over.
Some epic problems, troubles, and God was that deliverer. All manner of troubles. I mentioned running from Saul's wrath and jealousy, the Philistine, the enemy, enemies all around, fleeing Jerusalem, on and on. All of these troubles and yet God saved over and over. He was that deliverer.
Today, we have those psalms and when we read them, they're very encouraging. They minister to us because we can relate to them because many people have troubles. Many people have difficulties and when those psalms that speak that God is a deliverer, it literally ministers really because we relate to the psalm because the psalm relates to us. It relates to where we are. It's like the songs.
The popular songs that we hear on the radio. The reason why we listened to them is because we relate to them People listen to love songs when they're in love. People listen to breakup songs when they're breaking up. People listen to sad songs when they're sad. [sings] Hello, darkness, my old friend. I feel sad. You feel like, oh, I want to hear that sad song.
When David faced troubles, he called out to God and God delivered over and over. David would write these psalms of deliverance to honor God for it. When we read these psalms, we are encouraged in our faith as well. Let's read it. 2Samuel. I'm not going to read all of it because we'll do that at the Wednesday verse by verse service but I want to read the key aspects of it.
We'll start in verse 1 of 2 Samuel 22, and David spoke the words of this psalm to the Lord. Would you notice, it's to the Lord in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from Saul. He said this, "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in Whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my Savior, You save me from violence and I call upon the Lord Who is worthy to be praised and I am saved from my enemies. For the waves of death encompassed me."
David, waves of death encompassed me, torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of Sheol, you might know that. It's the Hebrew word for the place of the dead. The cords of Sheol surrounded me, the snares of death confronted me and in my distress, I called upon the Lord. Yes, I cried to my God, and from His temple, He heard my voice and my cry for help came to His ears.
Now moved to verse 26, if you would. With the kind, You show Yourself kind. With the blameless, You show Yourself blameless. With the pure, You show Yourself pure. With the perverted, You show Yourself astute. You see very well.
You save an afflicted people but Your eyes are on the haughty, whom you abase. For You are my lamp, oh, Lord, and the Lord illumines my darkness. For by You, I can run upon a troop. By my God, I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is blameless, the Word of the Lord is tested. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him for who is God besides the Lord, and who is a rock, besides our God? God is my strong fortress and He sets the blameless in His way. He makes my feet like hinds feet, the feet of a deer. He sets me on high places. That's where I got the title of the message. He sets me on the high places.
He trains my hands for battle so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. That takes some serious strength. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation and Your help makes me great. You enlarge my steps under me and my feet have not slipped. All right.
Those are the verses I want us to see. Again, we'll look at the other verses at the Wednesday service but there's so much to take hold of and to apply to our lives because what we see here in this song is the heart that David has for his Lord. That's where we can take hold of some great lessons for our life starting with this understanding.
I. Make God Your Confidence
Make God your confidence because that's what David did. Make God your confidence. One of the strongest keys to David's spiritual strength was the confidence he had in God. Now, you can look at David and say, "Now there's a man with confidence." Truly, and I would have to say, yes, that's right. You look at David. Here's the king, one of the greatest kings of Israel, great warrior, mighty man. Here's a man of confidence. That's right, but his confidence was not self. Confidence was not in self. Confidence was in God.
See, Psalm 71:3, 5, and 7, I love this one where he writes it this way to the Lord. Be to me a rock of habitation. Habitation is a place to dwell. I can come to this rock, be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come. Now, he's giving us an insight into the relationship that he has with God. Be a rock of habitation to which I may continually come. Now, there's a good word. You have given commandment to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress. You are my hope oh Lord God. This word here is great. You are my confidence. From my youth, you have been my confidence.
Fascinating. David has learned something when he was young that many people don't learn all their lives. I'll tell you what, you learn that great truth when you are young, it will serve you well all your life, it will serve you well. You are my confidence. From my youth, this is true, and I have become a marvel to many. See, it is once such in David's life that many people look at David's life and say, "You're amazing. David, you are a marvel." Then God says yes because God is my help, God is my confidence.
A fascinating study could be done on the names of God. Even more fascinating to understand that each of the names of God is actually personal. When you see the personal aspect of the names of God, God means it that way, God means His relationship to us to be that, to be personal. In other words, God is not just Jehovah-Jireh, God, the provider, He is God, my provider, you got to make it personal. That's when it changes the thing.
A. You need a Rock to stand on
It's not just an intellectual assent anymore, now it's the hope that you have to hold on to. See, one of the great keys to David's spiritual life, he knew his God, he knew that God was for him. Here's the point that we really need to see, you need a rock to stand on. In this troubled, turbulent world that's constantly shifting and changing, man, we need a rock. When you get a rock to stand on, in the midst of the storms all around, there is a confidence that comes when you know you got a rock to stand on.
Now, if you ever get an opportunity to go to Israel, and I surely hope you do, it's one of the bucket list on many-- I really want to go to Israel. When you go there, one of the things you'll notice is that in Israel, there are a lot of rocks. Of course, everyone takes a lot of pictures when they're in Israel, and I did that like the old days. You take a picture when you're in Israel. Now it's actually like this now, but when you get home, you start looking at your pictures, you think rocks, rocks, rocks, so many rocks, so that's why David could relate to it, God is my rock.
There were many times when David would stay in a cave in the mountains, that's when God was his rock. It's personal. A cave is like a cleft, it's a hiding place in the mountain, a place of safety, of protection, of fortress. You can imagine David writing a psalm in that cave, in that rock. You're my fortress, you're my rock.
Another aspect of a rock, of course, is that it doesn't move. It's a great picture of God because David knew that God could be trusted, could be stood on. The promises of God are sure, you can depend on that because you look at David and God, David and God had a history, and this is really important for us. David and God had a history.
God proved Himself to David when he was young. Over and over and over, did God prove Himself to David, they had a long history, and that the longer the history of walking with God, the stronger the foundation is in your life. Walk with God, a long history will come. I'll tell you what, I'm getting old. I know, I'm going to admit it. I'm getting old, and I have a long history with God, God has saved over and over. God has delivered, God has been my provision.
I had my own testimony. God and I have a long history, He's never let me down. God has always been my great provider and my help in time of need. Anybody else want to say the same? God's always been a great rock. a history. You need a history of walking with God because He's a rock you can stand on and depend on. The long your walk with God, the more you can depend on Him.
Let me give you some great verses. Luke 6, where Jesus taught this, everyone who comes to me and hears my words and acts on them. I had that emphasis because there are many people who hear the words of Christ but they don't act on them, they don't do anything with the words, but Jesus said this, everyone who comes to me and here's my words and acts on them or lives by them in other words, I will show you whom he's like, I will show you whom he's like. He is like a man building a house, who dug deep, laid a foundation on a rock, and then when the flood occurred and that torrent burst against that house, it could not shake it because it had been well built. I will show you what that man is like, the one who hears my words and lives by those words and has a history with those words is like a man who built the house on the strong foundation.
Psalm 40:2, he brought me up out of the pit of destruction. He brought me up out of the miry clay, and He set my feet on a rock, making my footsteps firm. See, there's a confidence when your footsteps are firm, there's a confidence.
Psalm 62:6, He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold, I shall not be shaken. See, there's a confidence that comes when you take hold of such great truths.
B. Learn to call out to the Lord… more
Then you look at this Psalm of David's in 2 Samuel 22, and you hear this, in his heart with the Lord, you hear this. Learn to call out to the Lord more. This is what we see, verse 7, in my distress, I called upon the Lord. Yes, I cried out. I cried out. I lifted my voice, I cried out to God, but he did this because he knew that God would hear his voice, that God would hear his cry for help. He knew with all confidence that God's ear would hear when David cried. Calling out to Him, even in calling out to Him is like one of the aspects of David's relationship that we could see is a tremendous example.
I remember when I was in eighth grade or ninth grade or somewhere, those are really troublesome years for a lot of people. It was for me, and my dad, living in a home with an alcoholic father and all the trauma, just it was very, very difficult. I remember, we lived way out in the country and I could walk out to the backwoods and walk for miles and never hit a house.
I would just go out in the backwoods, and I remember this one time, I would just-- I was yelling out not to the Lord, I was just calling for help. God hear my heart, I'm literally yelling, because I'm out in the woods, no one can hear me. I'm just pouring it out, yelling it out. Something happened there that day, it was quite something. Something happened to me that day, something changed in me that day, something between me and God changed that day. God did help, God did save, and God has rescued me many, many times from trouble.
Sometimes some people expect that when they call out to God, that He will move to rescue and to save, and it will be immediately done at the word of His command. That's what many people expect. If I cry out to God, if I call out, they expect God to move immediately to save. Yes, I have seen God move very quickly. I will tell you, I can tell you many examples, nothing short of miraculous, clearly irrefutable miraculous intervention of God, irrefutable that God has done quickly, but there are other times where it was a long journey, God walking with me on a long journey out of the trouble.
I think that there's much to learn when the journey is long. That steadfastness, walking in a steadfastness, believing that God is walking with you, and will bring you through to the other side of this thing. There is something that happens when the journey is long.
Psalm 121:1-2, David writes, I lift up my eyes to the hills. This is one of the famous ones. I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth. What a declaration. I lift up my eyes. I know where my help comes from, I will look and I will look to Him and Him alone.
Now some people feel hypocritical when they call out to God in distress because they weren't calling out to God before the distress, and so they feel I don't know if I-- I'm not really-- I really shouldn't, I'm not qualified, I don't deserve to call out to Him for help in distress because I wasn't-- Oh, I'm only doing it now because I'm in trouble.
I've heard this many, many times, and I got to tell you, my answer is always the same thing. Hey, if you're in trouble, if you're in distress, you call out to God even if you weren't calling out to God before. You start now. At least you're calling out to God, at least you know where help comes from, call out to God. Just don't forget to thank Him. When He moves, when He helps when He walks with you through it, when He encourages you through it all, don't forget to thank Him, don't forget to praise Him, don't forget to honor Him for all that He's done to be your help in times of trouble. In fact, isn't that what David is doing?
That is the reason he wrote this psalm. To honor, to thank the Lord. "You are amazing and I want to write this, I want this to be sung in Your honor. You are amazing." Be thankful. Keep calling out to God. That is such an important thing. David was saying thank You and by the way, David calls out to God, here's an interesting factoid, even the Holy Spirit joins in the interceding. Do you know the Holy Spirit will intercede also in your behalf?
Listen, here's some amazing verses. Romans 8, very famous chapter Verse 26-28, "In the same way, the Spirit helps our weakness. The Spirit, the Holy Spirit helps our weakness for we do not know how to pray as we should." The Spirit Himself is interceding for us with groanings too deep for words.
See, this is a famous verse right next to it, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." The interceding of the Holy Spirit brings forth God causing all things to work together for good. Really it's amazing. Here's another one. 1 John 2:1-1, listen to this great word. "If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father."
Now that's an amazing word right there. If anyone sins, we have an advocate. Jesus Christ, the righteous is your advocate. If anyone sins, you have an advocate. Another word for advocate might be a lawyer even. Someone to represent you before the Father. Now, this is an important verse. This is a very, very important verse. I mention this because many people as I said before, misunderstand God. If someone sins, many people assume that God is pushing them away, God is offended at the sin so He pushes them away.
"Begone, I'm done with thee, because you have offended through your sin." Many people assume that this is what God does, but in fact, let me show you this verse because it's in fact quite the opposite. If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous comes to your defense you might say to aid in the help. He says He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours but for those of the whole world. This is the magnanimous verse right there.
We need to call out to the Lord more because He hears, and He'll-- Something happens in you, this is the point that David is showing us. Something happens in you when you call out to God, you can be sure that God hears. That's right but something happens in you also. This is what happens, David understood that. He also was transformed by it. Something happens to you, it strengthens your faith, strengthens your confidence. How could you not be comforted and strengthened when you hear words like this?
He’s another set of verses out of Romans 8:35-39. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, distresses, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword? No". He says "In all these things, we overwhelmingly conquer through Him, through Him, through Him who loved us, for I am convinced," I love that word, I am convinced, I am persuaded, this thing is settled with me. I know, I am persuaded, I am convinced. You don't have to convince me, I'm convinced. I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus our Lord.
C. God rescues because He delights in you
How could you not be encouraged with words like that? It strengthens the soul to be reminded again of who God is and His heart after you. Then notice this because it’s a great word. I didn't read it but it's in Verse 20 Where David wrote, "He rescued me because He delighted in me."
See, I love this word. God rescues because He delights in you. Now, it's difficult for many people to believe that God delights in them because they're very much aware that they are sinners. How can God delight me when I am a sinner? Well, first of all, He made you in His image, He loved you so much that He sent His only begotten Son, that you might be saved, that you might have eternal life that you might have a relationship to God is your Father. He loves you. That's why He sent, He delighted in you, that's why He sent His son to save you. To seek and to save, to draw you into a relationship to himself. God delights. It's a great word.
By the way, in any relationship it's beautiful when it goes both ways. David delighted in God and that's one of the things that God loved about David. David delighted in God. It'd be great if in a relationship it goes both ways. In other words, if a husband delights in his wife, it'd be awesome if the wife delighted in her husband or the wife delighted in the husband, it'd be awesome if the husband delighted in the wife. That's what a relationship is. It's both. David delighted in God, God delighted in David. What a picture is this.
We love our own children, who are very imperfect, how much more does God love? Luke 11:11 and 13 Jesus says this. "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish. Dad, I'm hungry, can I have a fish?" It was very common in those days to have some dried fish or smoked fish or something. "I am hungry. Dad, can I have a fish?" Now, suppose one of your fathers is asked by his son for a fish, he wouldn't give him a snake instead of a fish, now would he? No, that's the idea. No.
If you then being evil or of the world know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit of a living God to those who ask Him, which is the highest, greatest thing you could ever ask for? How much more would God delight to give you that?
Or how about this one, 1 John 3:1, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us?" Don’t you like that we're lavished? It just sounds so lavish. "Oh, how great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God and that is what we are?"
Now, you're supposed to be amazed at that, that's amazing. Zephaniah 3:17, another great word. "The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love and he will rejoice over you with singing."
II. God Strengthens Those Who Trust in Him
Oh, you could just spend hours contemplating the truth of that verse and then, next, go back to 2 Samuel 22 here’s another great lesson out of this song that David wrote. It says, "God strengthens those who trust in Him." This is a great truth. God strengthens you. God strengthens those who trust in Him.
Starting from verse 30 through 37, I love those verses right there. David looked to God to be the strength of his life. His confidence is not only that God would rescue and save, but that God would strengthen his life when he called out to God to save. See David's confidence was God Himself and he let it be known that God is the one who gave him strength. "By my God, I can run upon a troop." In other words, I will not be afraid if 10,000 set themselves against me roundabout for the Lord is my help, the Lord is my strength.
A. Strength of faith brings strength of life
That's confidence, that is just confidence. Here's the point, strength of faith brings strength of life. Here, that this is important. Strength of faith brings strength of life, strength of faith brings strength of life. David accomplished great things, he was a marvel to many, surviving deep deep troubles even against terrible odds, but those victories were accomplished by God's strength. "By my God, I can run up a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall." You don't have to be strong in your own might. You and I need to be strong in His might, in Him. That's where God promised that when you walk with Him and trust in Him, He will strengthen you. This is what Joshua said to Israel at the end of his life. This is Joshua 23. "One of your men puts a thousand to flight, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised. Take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God." That's one of the great keys to the whole point. God strengthens those who trust in Him.
Take diligent heed yourself to love the Lord your God, to delight in Him because God is greater than the troubles. God is greater than all the trials. When David faced Goliath, he knew that God was greater than a man, even a giant of a man. That's why when he came out to face Goliath, David was just a young man. His confidence in the Lord was so clear, even when he was a young man.
1 Samuel 17, this is what David said when he faced Goliath. "This day, the Lord will deliver you-" speaking to Goliath, "-into my hands and I will strike you down, and all the earth will know that there is a God in Israel," because He's the one who will do it. "All that are in this assembly may know that the Lord is not delivered by sword or by spear, for the battle is the Lord's, and He will do it, He will give you into our hands."
B. He makes your feet like hinds’ feet
Next, we see this in David's psalm and I love this where he says, "He makes your feet like hind's feet." He paints this beautiful picture that God makes his feet like hind's feet and sets them on high places. By the way, do you know what a hind is? It's very important that you understand what is a hind? A hind is a doe, a deer, a female deer. I just thought out that way.
It was just true, a female deer that is known for being sure-footed in difficult terrain. That was their thing, difficult rocks. Then you look at this deer, she just climbs right up the face of that rock. That's amazing. They had this reputation for being sure-footed in difficult terrain, difficult trouble, difficult challenging, sure-footed. He makes my feet like hind's feet, and he sets me on high places. Look at that deer. She's climbed right up the high places. That's the point exactly.
God makes you sure-footed in difficulty, gives you confidence that He is your help, your deliverer. That surefootedness will cause you to walk in high places. Now, the idea, what does it mean to walk in high places? Well, it means that you walk higher than the world. This world is filled with that which is quite low, walk higher, victoriously. The reason God wants you to walk higher is because His ways are higher.
Notice Isaiah 55:9, "As the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts then your thoughts." Higher, He sets me in higher places. He sets me in higher places. You can see it in character. You can see it in faith, higher character, higher faith. The change that comes upon a man is because he is set on higher places. It's the transformed life, higher places.
David wrote in verse 35 that, "By my God, I can bend a bow of bronze." I suggest, yes, it takes tremendous strength to bend a bow of bronze, but I also suggest that it takes greater strength to know when to withhold the arrow, when to not send the arrow.
We read this last week when Shimei was throwing insults, David is feeling Jerusalem, fleeing for his life as Absalom comes to take the throne. Shimei is throwing stones, throwing rocks and insults at him and Abishai one of his generals says, "Give the word, sir and I will dispatch him." David says, "No, let him curse. Let him insult. Perhaps God will look upon my affliction."
Later on, as we were seeing this on Wednesday, when David is restored, Absalom is defeated and David is restored back to his position as king, here comes Shimei, here comes Shimei to apologize.
Humbly apologizing now. "Oh, may the Lord, my King, forgive the words that I spoke that day." Abishai was right next to him and Abishai says, "Why should this man live? After what he said to you, why should this man live?"
I love David's answer. "There's been enough dying today." He said, "No, you will live. I forgive you." That is a higher place to live. That is a higher place to live, to walk in high places. That's what you were called to do. Walk on higher places. You need strength. I remember reading the story of Corrie ten Boom.
Corrie ten Boom asked her father if she would have the strength to face the troubles surrounding them in Germany as they were rescuing Jews, and hiding them from the Nazis. She's asking her father, "Will I have the strength to face this?" Her father said, "God will give you the strength when you need it. God will give you the strength. You can do what God asked you to do. He'll strengthen you to do it. Walk on higher places."
A few years ago, I was at a conference in Washington DC. This was a conference for those who stand with and support Israel, which I do. The evening guest speaker was a very famous Jewish speaker, addressing a large crowd of Christians. This Jewish man said an interesting thing. I had never heard this before.
This Jewish speaker said this. "When a Jew meets a Christian, he asks himself a question. When a Jew meets a Christian, he asks himself a question." This is a Jew relating the story. "A Jew will ask himself if something like the Holocaust happens again, and Jews fear for their lives, would this Christian hide me?" When a Jew meets Christian, he asks himself this question, would this one hide me?"
Then the Jewish man said to this stadium full of Christians. He said, "I know in my heart of hearts, that every person in this room would hide me." Tears flowed as the crowd stood on their feet, gave this man a standing ovation. It was like, "What a holy moment was that?" Because what he was saying was, "I know in my heart that every one of you walks on higher places." God has done a work. See God changes the character of a man and makes him walk on the higher places because there's something of God's high and holy character at work in him.
Let there be something of God's high and holy character at work in you, desire that which is high and holy, that which is good and righteous, that which is filled with honor and justice. Something is right about a man who desires such things as this. It's a higher way to live. It's the transformed life. It comes from a relationship to the living God. You delight in Him and He'll delight in you and He will pour out His strength and He will transform you, because I'll tell you what, I'd rather live that way than any other way. Amen.
Father, thank You so much. We love You for the pouring out of Your hope and Your life upon us, your church. God, we hear these words, and it stirs us up because we want to have that kind of faith where we can say You are my confidence. You're my help. You're my deliverer. God, set my feet on higher places. I want to walk with that transformed heart and that transformed life. I want faith to be strengthened. I want to walk on higher places. How many tonight would say that to the Lord?
"I want to walk in higher places. I want to transform life. I want that kind of faith where You are my confidence, where I delight in You and You delight in me. Oh God, set my feet on higher places." How many would say that? Would you just raise your hand to the Lord and just say it by raising your hand to the Lord. "I want to walk on higher places. I want to transform life. I want to faith renewed and strengthened. Father, thank You for everyone who desires you." Let there be confidence in You because of the relationship that You desire.
Lord, move in us now. Draw as to Yourself now. Help us to have that which is high and holy at work in our lives, transforming the very soul within us. We love You, Lord and we honor You now, in Jesus name and everyone said?