Today’s post will focus on the Psalms, as I haven’t covered them much as of late.
One thing that is fascinating about many of the Psalms attributed to King David is how… plaintive they are. For example:
How long, O Lord? Wilt thou forget me for ever?
How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
2 How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him”;
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I have trusted in thy steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
I sometimes find it easy to forget that King David wasn’t always, you know, King David. Before that he was a soldier and before that a shepherd. Long before he reached the heights of his success he had to endure a considerable amount of suffering and hardship. And even as King he endured much (although a lot of that was his own fault). But before then, David knew full well just how much he relied upon God to be saved from all his distress.
Consider this Psalm:
Vindicate me, O Lord,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
2 Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
test my heart and my mind.
3 For thy steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in faithfulness to thee.
4 I do not sit with false men,
nor do I consort with dissemblers;
5 I hate the company of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked.
6 I wash my hands in innocence,
and go about thy altar, O Lord,
7 singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,
and telling all thy wondrous deeds.
8 O Lord, I love the habitation of thy house,
and the place where thy glory dwells.
9 Sweep me not away with sinners,
nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
10 men in whose hands are evil devices,
and whose right hands are full of bribes.
11 But as for me, I walk in my integrity;
redeem me, and be gracious to me.
12 My foot stands on level ground;
in the great congregation I will bless the Lord.
Perhaps it is just me, but I get the feeling that this Psalm was written before he became King. As time passed on, David found, like many powerful men and women throughout history, that staying away from wickedness is easier said than done.
Finally, I find this part of Psalm 32 interesting:
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
St. Paul references this in Romans 4 as evidence of justification by faith. Why this was so wasn’t immediately apparent to me years ago when I re-read Romans. But looking back to the Psalms helped me understand. This blessedness is a gift- God dispenses favors upon those whom he loves. This is a gift from God that is not something that we can every “buy.” No works of ours can earn it, and thus it shows the greater value of what is offered by God in his new testament with us.