Sing when you’re winning?

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Can you think of a song that has helped you focus on God in times of trouble?

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Bible passage: 2 Samuel 22:1–30

2 Samuel 22

David’s Song of Praise
 1 David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. 2 He said:

   “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
 3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
   my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
   from violent people you save me.

 4 “I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
   and have been saved from my enemies.
5 The waves of death swirled about me;
   the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
6 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
   the snares of death confronted me.

 7 “In my distress I called to the LORD;
   I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
   my cry came to his ears.
8 The earth trembled and quaked,
   the foundations of the heavens shook;
   they trembled because he was angry.
9 Smoke rose from his nostrils;
   consuming fire came from his mouth,
   burning coals blazed out of it.
10 He parted the heavens and came down;
   dark clouds were under his feet.
11 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
   he soared on the wings of the wind.
12 He made darkness his canopy around him—
   the dark rain clouds of the sky.
13 Out of the brightness of his presence
   bolts of lightning blazed forth.
14 The LORD thundered from heaven;
   the voice of the Most High resounded.
15 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
   with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
16 The valleys of the sea were exposed
   and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at the rebuke of the LORD,
   at the blast of breath from his nostrils.

 17 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
   he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
   from my foes, who were too strong for me.
19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
   but the LORD was my support.
20 He brought me out into a spacious place;
   he rescued me because he delighted in me.

 21 “The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
   according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
22 For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
   I am not guilty of turning from my God.
23 All his laws are before me;
   I have not turned away from his decrees.
24 I have been blameless before him
   and have kept myself from sin.
25 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
   according to my cleanness in his sight.

 26 “To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
   to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
27 to the pure you show yourself pure,
   but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
28 You save the humble,
   but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.
29 You, LORD, are my lamp;
   the LORD turns my darkness into light.
30 With your help I can advance against a troop;
   with my God I can scale a wall.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


A place of trial
There is a chant that resonates from football grounds when a team scores against the opposing team, ‘Sing when your winning, you only sing when you’re winning!’

Many of the hymns and songs we sing today are written from a place of trial. As a songwriter, I know that trials are often a catalyst for my songwriting. David was both a king and a songwriter. In this passage, we see David pour out his heart to God – what key themes do you see emerging?

A place of grace
In verses 1 to 4 God is a rock, refuge and saviour. God is a deliverer (vs 5–7,17–20). Verses 8 to 16 remind us that God is powerful. God is also righteous, pure and faithful (vs 21–30). Take a moment to dwell on these things in order to get a true perspective on who God is, and who you are in relation to him.

This song involves David focusing on God and in turn changing his mind and heart as he sings. Singing songs of truth can bring us from a place of despair to a place of grace. We should not just sing when we are winning. We should look to Christ at all times as the one who demonstrates the love of the Father to us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Clive Parnell


‘You are our strength, you are our joy, and we abide in you.’ (Clive Parnell, ‘Abide In You’, Attic Music 2015)


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Deeper Bible study

David’s song (practically identical with Psalm 18) is part of the concluding reflections on his life and on kingship. The description connects it with David’s troubles with Saul (v 1), but as it is placed after Absalom’s rebellion, it forces us to reflect on David’s entire reign. The references to ‘rock’ (v 2), ‘horn’ (ie strength – v 3), as well as ‘king’ and ‘anointed’ (v 51) evoke Hannah’s song at the threshold of Israelite monarchy (1 Sam 2:1,2,10) and thereby create an envelope structure to the books of Samuel. Both emphasise God’s power against overwhelming odds and highlight the divine reversal of the weak becoming strong and the mighty powerless (vs 18,28) (1 Sam 2:4).

God’s protection was evident to David when he was running from Saul and more than once escaped almost certain death (vs 5,6) (eg 1 Sam 23:24–29). His cry for help in distress was heard (v 7) and God came to his rescue as a mighty divine warrior (vs 8–20). David knew his own weakness and learnt early on that true kingship is based on trust in the Lord who enables, not on proud self-reliance (vs 28–30).

It is perhaps surprising that David attributes the help given to him to being righteous and blameless (vs 21–25). However, this does not mean sinless perfection, but an attitude of faithful commitment to God. David demonstrated this in his unwavering trust of God against Goliath and in his repeated unwillingness to kill Saul and seize royal power (1 Sam 24,26). This is not about earning God’s favour by works. Rather, it shows that God responds to our behaviour (vs 26,27). When David abused his royal power to take a woman that was not his and cover up his act with murder, God divested him of power through Absalom’s rebellion. Ultimately, his repentance and willingness to endure God’s discipline shows why he was eventually vindicated.

Csilla Saysell

God gives the victory

Battle lines

The song in 2 Samuel 22 is repeated with only minor variations in Psalm 18.The concluding chapters of 2 Samuel act as a review of David’s life and this psalm admirably sums up so much of what he experienced.

Although it may well have been written earlier in his reign, and the heading makes specific mention of his opposition from Saul, it fits well here.

The last few chapters tell of:

● The rebellion of Absalom, with all the intrigue and betrayal by those close to him.

● The story of another rebellion by Sheba, put down by Joab (2 Samuel 20:1–25).

● A rather sordid story of revenge by the Gibeonites for Saul’s treatment of them (2 Samuel 21:1–14). David handed them over but was generous to Mephibosheth. The darkness of this incident was relieved by the devotion of Saul’s concubine Rizpah who protected the dead bodies of Saul’s sons.

● A summary of a number of battles with the Philistines (2 Samuel 21:15–22). 

Praise God

Saul and the Philistines were two of David’s main enemies. As he looks back he writes this song which recognises that through all his many troubles God has protected him.

Often he faced great difficulties and it seemed impossible that God’s promise would be fulfilled, but God kept his faith strong and gave him the strength that he needed. David knows that without God he could not have achieved anything.

John Grayston

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year.

2 Chronicles 3–5

Galatians 5


‘With my God I can scale a wall’ (2 Samuel 22:30).

Think about some of the walls and obstacles in your life that you need God’s help to overcome, as you listen to this audio meditation by Martin Hodson.

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Blessed be your name
Matt Redman / Beth Redman
Copyright © 2002 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at 

Above All Else
Vicky Beeching
Copyright © 2001 Vineyard Songs (UK/Eire)
Buy this and other great worship songs at

  • Rachael Hampton | Monday, 18 June 2018

    Our God protects, delivers and cares for us because He delights in us.(v20 Amp). Our hands are clean and our hearts are pure because we are the righteousness of God in Christ. Our failures and slip ups do not disqualify us from His glorious promises. Allelujah!

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Tuesday, 19 June 2018

    Reminds me today of Ps 16:5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. 7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. 8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay. 11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

  • Angela Munday | Tuesday, 19 June 2018

    We know that David had a close relationship with God; it was real and very personal for David. God must have been delighted to hear David sing his praises “You, LORD, save the humble and turn my darkness into light.” We read in Micah 6 that God asks nothing from us except that we “do what is right, love mercy and walk humbly with Him.” JESUS showed us in person what God’s words mean; He lived them as an example for us to follow......Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Praising my Saviour, all the day long.

  • Jacky Taylor | Tuesday, 19 June 2018

    Having tried to find the song quoted from in the Respond, when I listened to the podcast I found a different quote (from John 15, I think) in Respond. It caught me by surprise. I would like to have listened to the Respond again but I don't think there is a way to listen with out going all the way through the podcast, is there?

  • Ruth Lewis | Tuesday, 19 June 2018

    Amen, RACHAEL!!!

  • Ruth Lewis | Tuesday, 19 June 2018

    JACKY, go to Youtube and enter this into the Search Bar : Abide in You by Clive Parnell It was the first song that came up, It will have that and the words Amazing Love on the cover. It is a very nice song!!! I put it in my favorite places in Youtube.

  • Colin Anderson | Tuesday, 19 June 2018

    Rachael’s comment and verses 21 and 25 reminded me of a Derek Prime sermon (Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh) many years ago on Righteousness, that God sees us through the lens (like a pair of glasses) of Jesus. We are sinners, but God sees us as clean and pure because of Jesus. Wonderful!

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Tuesday, 19 June 2018

    COLIN my take is different to Derek I think unless I misread what you say. Satan keeps us in sin by us identifying ourselves as sinners saved by grace. I was an old sinner but I got saved by grace and now have become the righteousness of God. I don’t deserve anything but I have accepted Jesus and he paid for past,present and future sin. I am not guilty before God, instead I have God’s righteousness imputed to me. Not a self righteousness. It came because I put my faith in Jesus. I am as righteous and pure as Jesus is. If I had a big credit card debt and the store sent me a letter saying "I know it's paid but could you send us a £100". If I sent them £100, that wouldn't be holy, or humble, it would be stupid. Jesus drew all judgement onto himself. Already paid in full. To think I'm still a sinner saved by grace, to me would not be humble but living by the Law. I think we're less likely to sin when we are conscious of what God has done.

  • Barbara Sabin | Tuesday, 19 June 2018

    Michaelangelo sculpted a giant statue 18ft tall of David, it took 4 years to complete because the piece of rock from the quarry was damaged, flawed, just like David yet he was a man after God's own heart because he continually searched for God. Oh, safe to the Rock that is higher than I, My soul in its conflicts and sorrows would fly, So sinful, so weary, Thine, Thine would I be, Thou blest Rock of Ages, I’m hiding in Thee. In the calm of the noontide, in sorrow’s lone hour, In times when temptation casts o’er me its power; In the tempests of life, on its wide, heaving sea, Thou blest Rock of Ages, I’m hiding in Thee. How oft in the conflict, when pressed by the foe, I have fled to my Refuge and breathed out my woe,, How often, when trials like sea-billows roll, Have I hidden in Thee, O Thou Rock of my soul Hiding in Thee, hiding in Thee, Thou blest Rock of Ages, I’m hiding in Thee.

  • resmi malik | Tuesday, 19 June 2018

    There is so much in this article that I would never have thought of on my own. Your content gives readers things to think about in an interesting way <a href="">; Call girls in Delhi </a>

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