By Kathy Cheek
I read the Psalms more than any other portion of my Bible. I take comfort and I am deeply encouraged by the strong and poetic words written by its major author, a shepherd warrior king. I have a long list of favorite verses and passages from the Psalms that I turn to often and am blessed each time I read them. (See my favorite passage from Psalm below.)
And yet, when I read the story of David’s life in the books of I and II Samuel, it is wrought with danger, battles, and heartache.
We see David anointed king at a young age by the prophet Samuel. We see him victoriously kill the giant Goliath with a slingshot and go on to become a great warrior. The chant “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” puts his life in jeopardy, making him the sworn enemy of King Saul, who becomes jealous and attempts to kill him at every turn. When he is eventually crowned king of Israel, he is engaged in constant war and battles with enemies who surround God’s chosen people and with enemies among his own people.
Yes, he writes about battles in the Psalms. But he writes more about victory given by the hand of God. We see God’s sovereign hand of guidance and protection and we hear David declare that our battles belong to the Lord.
He proclaims God is his strength, his refuge, hiding place, strong tower, and his shelter in the storm.
He writes praise, worship, thanksgiving, and he beautifully writes:
The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want…
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…
We see David rise, fall, and rise again; and we learn from this shepherd warrior king that there is no sin that cannot be washed away and forgiven. We learn that our Holy Almighty God is a God of healing and restoration.
We see David’s battles and we see the victories only God can bring. We read this psalmist's praise unto the Lord in words modern poets cannot duplicate. He teaches us to hide God's Word in our heart, and he teaches us through psalm after psalm that our hearts are made to worship.
When I reflect on David, I learn a lot about my God:
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
~ Psalm 63:1-8 ~