By Henry Mahan
2 Samuel 23:1-5
There is something special about a man's last words! Especially a man 'after God's own heart,' a man greatly used of God, whose words were often spoken and written under divine inspiration. When a man is dying, I'm sure that he must do some serious thinking about three things: his relationship with God, how he will fare in the great judgment, and where he will spend eternity.
David, in this great hour, found his comfort and hope in God's covenant of mercy and grace. May I find my hope and comfort where he found his!
'David, the son of Jesse.'
A mere man, a mortal like you and me. He was a son, a father, a husband, and a friend. Real blood flowed through his veins, and his flesh was as earthbound and as frail as ours (James 5:17).
'The man who was raised on high.'
David was an object of God's favor and grace. God took a shepherd-boy and made him a king. In our case, he took a beggar from the dunghill and, through Christ, made him to inherit the throne of glory (1 Sam. 2:8; Eph. 2:1-7). Who can tell the great things God has done for us in Christ? (1 Cor. 2:9-10.)
'The anointed of God.'
David was anointed king of Israel by Samuel on orders from God, even as we have been made kings and priests (Rev. 5:9- 10; 1 John 3:2) by and through the person and work of Christ. 'The sweet psalmist of Israel.'
David wrote most of the Psalms for Israel and set them to music. They were sweet and delightful to the ear, for they praised and magnified the Lord God.
'The spirit of the Lord spake by me.'
The Psalms and songs which he wrote were not the fruits of his own clever tongue and pen but were written by him under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).
'He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.' This character, in all respects, was found in David (2 Sam. 8:15). I believe, though, that David speaks here of Christ, our King of kings and Lord of lords, the Son of David (Isa. 11:1-5; Jer. 23:5-6). He is a just God and a Saviour (Isa. 45:21-22). By his perfect life and death, he enabled God to be just and justifier of all who believe (Rom. 3:25-26). He did not destroy the law but fulfilled and honored it. He did not compromise justice but fully satisfied it (1 Peter 3:18; 2 Cor. 5:21).
'He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth.
No doubt that this is Christ, who is 'the light of the world,' 'the sun of righteousness,' who did away the clouds of law, ceremony, and sacrifice and brought in the clear gospel day of full justification, redemption, and rest. One writer translates this to read, 'And as the light of the morning shall arise Jehovah the sun. 'The tender grass' may refer to his incarnation, as in Isaiah 53:2.
'Although my house be not so with God.'
Here is a great sigh and mournful song. All of my house, my children, my servants, my court, and my nation are not right with God. They do not love God, worship God, nor seek his glory (2 Sam. 18:33). David wept over his house and his people, as Paul wept over Israel (Rom. 9:1-3; Rom. 10:1).
'Yet God hath made with me an everlasting covenant.'
The covenant by which the kingdom was settled on David and his seed, Jesus Christ, forever (Luke 1: 31-33), is but a type of the eternal covenant of grace, made with Christ from the beginning, in which Christ is surety, saviour, sanctifier, and mediator of all given him by the Father (John 6:37-39; John 17:2-3; Heb. 1.3:20-21; Heb. 7:22). All that the Father chose, the Son redeems and the Spirit calls (Eph.1:3-14) 'What the Lord does, it shall be forever' (Eccles. 3-14) and is without change (Mal. 3:6; Rom. 11:29).
'Ordained in all things and sure.'
The mercies and grace of God are not left to chance but are decreed, determined, and purposed by him (Isa 46:9-11). The fulfillment of his covenant in establishing a perfect righteousness and effectual atonement is not in the hands of men but given to Christ to accomplish (Gal. 4:4-5; 1 Tim. 1:15) ; therefore, they are called the sure mercies of David (John 10:14-18, 27-30), for he shall not fail nor be discouraged.
'This is all my salvation.'
It would be good for us to listen to David when he says, 'God's love for me in Christ, God's choice of me in Christ, God's righteousness fulfilled in Christ, and God's acceptance of me in Christ is all my salvation:' not my feelings, works, nor righteousness, but his grace (Eph. 2:8-10).
'My God, when I approach thy throne and all thy glory see, This is all my stay and this alone, that Jesus died for me.'
'And all my desire.'
Not only do I find comfort and peace in God's covenant of grace in Christ, but I find delight and assurance therein. This is my one great desire--that God's purpose in Christ be fulfilled and Christ have the preeminence (Col. 1:18; Phil 2:9-11).
'Although he make it not to grow.'
At present there are not many signs and evidences of what we are, have, or shall be; but the promise is sure, and we will rejoice in him (Hab. 3:17-18; 1 John 3:2-3).