If anyone knew how to live life dangerously, it was David the Psalmist. Slaying a lion, a bear, and Goliath as a boy was not even the start. He had already been secretly anointed as king of Israel by the prophet Samuel at God’s command, while another king was on the throne.
As David’s fame grew, so did the jealousy of King Saul, so that by the time he reached manhood, he was forced to live in hiding in the hills and caves of Judea, or in exile, with a band of followers, on the run from the king’s wrath, fighting against the enemies of Judah and Israel, risking his life daily. It is notable that twice during this time he had the opportunity to slay Saul, but did not because he would not lay his hand upon the Lord’s officially anointed one.
Even after Saul died in battle and David became king, danger was ever-present. There was much work to be done in war and diplomacy, uniting and consolidating Israel, building up her army, and defeating her many enemies. He established Jerusalem as the capital and built his palace there. Finally, he had to deal with revolts against his kingship, including those by two of his sons, one in David’s old age. He left a huge national legacy.
Out of this tumultuous life, and rooted in his years as a shepherd boy tending his father’s sheep, comes the Book of Psalms – an expression of many emotions, from joy to sadness, from hope to despair. But above all in these 150 songs, the prevailing theme is trust in the Lord. David was a sinner at times (like us, for those who like to point the finger) – but he was “a man after God’s heart” precisely because of his faith and trust, his love of God and the word, and his willingness to repent and ask forgiveness.
Let us remember that God does not require perfection – He knows we cannot hope to attain anything even close to that on our own. In fact the only words of condemnation ever used by Jesus were spoken against the established religious leaders of His day who thought they were perfect and influenced others to have the same opinion.
God asks only for a willing spirit of devotion that He can work on “from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
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