September 17, 2017

Battles and Praise: Reflections on David


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 keep a long list of favorite verses and passages from the Psalms that I turn to often, and I am blessed each time I read them.

And yet, when I read the story of David’s life in the books of I and II Samuel, it is wrought with danger and battles and heartache.

We see David anointed king at a young age by the prophet Samuel, and 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 the enemies that 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 in Psalm 23:

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.