From Death to Deliverance to Dominion

  • Brian Overholtzer
Cross with mountains in the background

By now I think we are acquainted with the prevailing dominance of death in our culture. Death permeates the news media, tv shows, the increasing murder of police, demonstrations, and riots against the police when people are shot and killed, and the countless resources being poured into medicines of all kinds. It seems as if many people have suddenly been awakened to the reality of death and desire to plunge their life into this unstoppable reality. The reality of death used to be a thought that was suppressed by the minds and souls of many. It should not be forgotten that death and the fear of death have been around since Genesis 3 where God warned Adam of death and then enforced the penalty of death to mankind. Since death is inevitable, how should a Christian “cope” with the fear of death? The answer is found in the biblical teaching that believers do not cope with the inevitability of death, but they hope in Christ’s victory over death. Christians do not cope, they hope. 

David was a believer who turned from coping with the immanent Presence of death that followed him in the wilderness to hoping in God’s promise to deliver him from his enemies. After being pursued for years by Saul and experiencing God’s unrelenting faithfulness in his time in the wilderness, and fulfilling His promise to his kingship, David sings a song with specific recollections of Yahweh’s attributes and how those characteristics were personally significant to David’s life. The words of this song conclude with David relating God’s promises to Him, extolling Yahweh’s mighty acts in delivering him, and a future look to God’s fulfillment of these promises in Christ.  What I want us to take away from this song is that God’s deliverance of David prepares us to understand the significance of God’s deliverance of Christ, and Christ’s deliverance is our deliverance. 

This song that David sings in 2 Samuel 22 is long and cannot be covered in depth here, so I have summarized the main points for you. 

2 Samuel 22:1 – David Sings of Yahweh’s Mighty Acts of Deliverance 

We are immediately informed of the background of this song is Yahweh’s faithfulness to deliver David from his enemies. David set time apart on a particular day to recount the greatness of God’s deliverance of him during the first few years of his kingship and Saul’s pursuit of David in the wilderness. This deliverance includes Yahweh’s power in preserving David before his kingship and in Yahweh’s preservation of David as king. David’s song extols Yahweh for fulfilling His promises to David in his life. 

Christians should not distance themselves from the relevance of God’s care for David even though He has not promised us physical deliverance of Christians in this age. Believers are warned by Christ that following Him results in our lives being endangered. At the same time, Christians are robbed of the benefits of their relationship with Christ if this is not applied to their lives. 

Where does the crossroad meet between the promises God made to David and the promises made to Christians? They meet at God’s promise that He would be faithful to His promises made to David in the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7). Christ is the ultimate David and the promises given to David in this covenant see their fulfillment in God delivering Christ from death itself by raising him from the dead, exalting Christ to His throne, and the future dominion of Christ over all His enemies. David traces these blessings in his own life. Take a look at the flow of David’s song. 

2 Samuel 22:2–4 Yahweh worshiped for delivering David 

2 Samuel 22:5–7 David faces certain death 

2 Samuel 22:8–32 From certain death to deliverance

Yahweh’s ability to deliver David

Yahweh’s desire to deliver David

Yahweh’s motive to deliver David

Yahweh’s faithfulness to deliver David 

2 Samuel 22:34–46 From certain death to deliverance to dominion

Yahweh’s sufficient empowerment of David

Yahweh’s fulfillment of His promises 

I encourage you to read David’s song. Your time in reading this portion of God’s Word can be enriched by ascribing praise to our God for His faithfulness to be true to His promises made to David. Our worship of God for His work in this passage should not stop with David. We see that Christ, the true and ultimate David, was also delivered from death by being resurrected and God has exalted Him to His throne and awaits the day God has planned for Him to set up His kingdom on earth in Jerusalem where He will reign. 

As believers who belong to Christ, we benefit by having the promise of reigning with Christ in this future kingdom on earth and we have the assurance that as God was faithful to His promises to David, He will be faithful to the promises He made to His church. Let’s consider one of these promises, namely that Christ has promised He will build His church. When the church is threatened by the enemy, we have the same confidence as David in God’s promise. As God provided the victories for David and strengthened David, so He provides delivery for us and strengthens us to meet with one another in church and to boldly worship Christ in word and deed and sing praises to our great God who takes His people from certain death to a great deliverance, and to one day reign with Christ who has dominion over His creation. Surely, we do not cope with the attacks of the enemy, but we hope in the victory of Christ on the cross and in His reign.