Recently, I was in Bellingham, Washington taping two courses for Logos Bible Software. For the sake of video consistency while taping each course, I needed to wear the same shirt. Monday through Wednesday morning I wore my red shirt for 1, 2 Kings. Then Wednedsay afternoon through Friday I wore my green shirt for 1, 2 Samuel (as modeled in front of Logos wall with Josh Burdick). My green shirt particularly was getting a bit ripe as the week progressed. By the end of Friday, the shirt would become more pungent.
I concluded my final lecture on Friday morning in Samuel looking at 2 Samuel 22, David’s song of thanksgiving for God’s deliverance, which also happens to be virtually identical to Psalm 18.
And David spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day 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 and my fortress and my deliverer,
3 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.
4 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
5 “For the waves of death encompassed me, the torrents of destruction assailed me;
6 the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.
7 “In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I called.
From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry came to his ears…
50 For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations,
and sing praises to your name.
51 Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever (2 Sam. 22:1-7, 51).
YHWH is David’s “rock” (sela‘ appears five times in the psalm; 22:2, 3, 32, 47 (2)) and his “savior” (forms of “save,” “savior,” “salvation” are scattered throughout the psalm; 22:3, 28, 36, 42, 47, 51). David’s calls (22:4, 7(2)) and YHWH answers, which then leads David to praise his God (22:4, 47, 50). Because of many instances of deliverance given to David over his enemies (Goliath, Saul, the Philistines, Absalom to name a few), he will praise his God for his steadfast love. David speaks of himself as the anointed, but the conclusion to this psalm also points forward to about 1000 years, to David’s most important offspring, the one who brought salvation not just to David, but to the whole world, the anointed one, Jesus.
A few hours after concluding the taping of my 1, 2 Samuel course by speaking about this psalm, I, like David, had an opportunity to praise my God for an instance of deliverance.
After spending my days in the studio, and my evening reviewing my notes for the next day, I needed some time in the wild, so on Friday afternoon I decided to go for a hike. I drove my rental about 20 minutes south away from Bellingham on Highway 11 down the scenic Chuckanut Drive, and parked at the Pacific NW Trailhead. The helpful people at the tourist information booth that morning had told me it should take 3-5 hours to hike up to Oyster Dome. The path would be extremely steep (1900 foot gain), but the view would be worth it, which sounded like the perfect way to unwind from a busy week.
I started my hike at 2:00, a bit late, particularly considering the fact that the sun goes down about 4:30, but I figured I’d go for an hour or so, then turn around and come back. No worries.
The path was steep, so the coat came off, and the green shirt became even more pungent. Fortunately, there was no one around to appreciate my aroma (but I never saw any wildlife…).
It was great to be outside, walking among the towering pine trees, enjoying God’s creation.
About 45 minutes up, I had the opportunity to go to the Samish Overlook to my right (15 more minutes), or go straight all the way up to Oyster Dome (45 more minutes). As I was debating at the intersection of the two paths, leaning toward the shorter hike to the overlook, a group of three hikers came down the path from Oyster Dome. I told them about my predicament. They said “Definitely go up to Oyster Dome. It’s worth it.” I thought, OK, I’ll have the Oysters then. (I should chosen the Overlook.)
The trail became less steep, but also more rough, crossing creeks, waterfalls and slippery rocks. In my haste, I fell down a couple of times, which doesn’t usually happen to me on hikes. Also, as the sun got lower in the sky, the thickness of the woods made it more difficult to see. The path also was less obvious, but I passed groups of people every 15 minutes or so, which made it seem safer.
About 3:25 I finally made it to the top, the three hikers were right, it was spectacular. Forests, mountains, coastline, ocean, islands, clouds and approaching sunset (image #2)…wait, sunset, that’s not a good thing, I still have 90 minutes of hiking to go. But if I go quickly down I should be able to make it back to my car by about 4:45, right as its getting dark.
I spent about 5 minutes enjoying the view, then I headed back down the path.
That’s when the troubles began, but I’ll save those for Part 2.