He poured it out before the Lord. 2 Samuel 23:16
The picture made me laugh out loud. Crowds had lined a Mexican avenue, waving flags and throwing confetti as they waited for the pope. Down the middle of the street strolled a stray puppy, appearing to grin as if the cheering was entirely for him. Yes! Every dog should have its day, and it should look like this.
It’s cute when a puppy “steals the show,” but hijacking another’s praise can destroy us. David knew this, and he refused to drink the water his mighty warriors had risked their lives to get. He had wistfully said it would be great if someone would fetch a drink from the well in Bethlehem. Three of his soldiers took him literally. They broke through enemy lines, drew the water, and carried it back. David was overwhelmed by their devotion, and he had to pass it on. He refused to drink the water, but “poured it out before the Lord” as a drink offering (2 Samuel 23:16).
How we respond to praise and honor says a lot about us. When praise is directed toward others, especially God, stay out of the way. The parade isn’t for us. When the honor is directed toward us, thank the person and then amplify that praise by giving all the glory to Jesus. The “water” isn’t for us either. Give thanks, then pour it out before God.
What praise for yourself or others did you hear today? How did your heart respond?
God, may words of praise to You be continually on my lips. You alone deserve the praise!
Second Samuel 21–24 can be seen as an epilogue to both books of Samuel. The epilogue is framed by stories of how both Saul and David failed as kings in ways that harmed others. Saul harmed the Gibeonites (21:1), and David’s failure caused harm to the Israelites (24:17). In between these failures, the epilogue recounts David’s vulnerability and dependence on his mighty warriors.
Two poems are at the center of the epilogue, in which David reflects back on his life, recounting God’s faithfulness as well as His promise to raise up a messianic, better king. The poems reinforce the central themes of the books of Samuel: that God exalts the humble and opposes the proud, and He’s faithful to His promises despite great human evil.