Tag Archives: David

“…my soul thirsts for Thee…” (Psalm 63.1)

Absalom was the third son of King David. Here is how the Bible describes him: “Now in all Israel was no one as handsome as Absalom, so highly praised; from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no defect in him” (2 Samuel 14.25).

He not only was handsome, he was the darling of his father. But he repaid his father’s favoritism by leading a rebellion against him. Absalom “stole” the hearts of the men of Israel, and David had to flee Jerusalem for his life into the wilderness of Judea beyond the Jordan.

It was during those agonizing days, at war with his own son, that he wrote of his longing for God. Psalm 63 opens with these words, “O God, Thou art my God, early will I seek Thee, my soul thirsts for Thee; my flesh faints for Thee, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

Regardless of how desperate his circumstances appeared to be, David took refuge in God’s abiding presence. “For Thou hast been my help, and in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy” (Psalm 63.7).

The psalm reminds us as well of God’s presence, of His promise to “be with us always” and of the risen Christ’s presence amid His saints. And so, as pilgrims in a parched land we seek and thirst and faint for Him to provide for us the refreshing relief of living water.

Grace to you all, and peace – Bill

 

God Is a Stronghold

Psalm 31 has been characterized as a “lament” psalm. Indeed, as you read it, the psalmist (David) appears beset by all sorts of trouble: his enemies have laid a net for him (Psalm 31.4); his physical condition is miserable: his eyes fail, his body is sick, his years cut short, his strength fails, and his bones waste away (Psalm 31.9-10); he is scorned and avoided by friends and neighbors (Psalm 31.11); he is forgotten, out of mind, like a dead man (v.12); and there are plots against him (Psalm 31.13-20). Depressing stuff, huh?!

But David is not complaining. No! This is a psalm of “magnificent confidence!” “Blessed be the LORD,” he shouts, in Psalm 31.21. “As for me, I said in my alarm, ‘I am cut off from before Thine eyes’; Nevertheless Thou didst hear the voice of my supplications when I cried to Thee.”

A familiar quotation is found in verse Psalm 31.5:“Into Thy hand I commit my spirit”  – the last words of Jesus on the cross before He died. He had assumed the guilt of every sin that would ever be committed and was dying in shame, offering His sinless life to atone for those sins. He felt forsaken, crying to His Father, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

Yet in the moment of His death he remembered the Divine assurance of this psalm: “In Thee, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be ashamed; in Thy righteousness deliver me. Incline Thine ear to me, rescue me quickly; be Thou to me a rock of strength, a stronghold to save.”

The psalms are hymns of prayer and praise. They remind us of the wondrous majesty of God, our Creator. And they remind us, too, of the marvelous grace of God, our Benefactor, who, even amid the hardest of times and deepest despair is always a stronghold to save.

– Bill

 

The Call of Isaiah and Worship

In the year that King Uzziah died (742 BC), Isaiah received a call from God to be a prophet. He saw a vision of the LORD sitting on His throne surrounded by seraphim proclaiming His holiness and glory. Confronted by such power and majesty, Isaiah cried aloud,

“Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isaiah 6.1-4).

Seeing the LORD changed Isaiah’s life forever. He realized his own sinfulness and also that of the people among whom he lived. Because he recognized his own sinfulness he was able to deal with their sins as well. David, earlier made aware of the gravity of his sins when confronted by Nathan the prophet, pled with God,

“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!…Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

Having acknowledged his sin, like Isaiah, he promised God,

“Then I will teach the transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will return to Thee” (Psalm 51.2, 7, 13).

Isaiah heard the voice of the LORD saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” He responded, “Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah was ready to accept God’s commission to go to God’s people with His message of conviction and deliverance.

This incident is more than the record of Isaiah’s calling; it also reveals the essence and result of true worship:

  • By faith we see God
  • Understanding God’s holiness enables us to recognize our own unworthiness
  • God cleanses us
  • God empowers us and assigns us a task
  • We accept God’s task and go out to serve

Because God is worthy of our worship, He is also worthy of our obedience.

– Cecil May, Jr.
Faulkner University

A Shield About Me

“But you, O LORD, are a shield about me…”

Psalm 3: A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.

Because of his sin with Bathsheba, God promised David He would bring trouble down upon his house. David could scarcely have imagined the trouble that came – his own son Absalom attempted to take the kingdom from him by force (2 Samuel 15).

In all probability, David composed this psalm while fleeing for his life from Absalom. The situation became so grave in Jerusalem that David left the walled fortress and fled across the Jordan River. It was a desperate time. The king did not know who was with him and who was against him, who would come to his side and who would fight against him. “O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God” (vv. 1-2). All he could do was flee and hope that he would have the time necessary to regroup, reorganize, and rearm.

Verse 3 is the real heart of the psalm. Watch as David moves his eyes from the enemy to God; note how the whole tenor and tone of the psalm changes. When a person looks and thinks too long upon the enemy and his power, the enemy grows in that person’s mind to gigantic proportions. But when the person turns his or her gaze toward God, the hypnotic power of the enemy is broken. That’s what happens in this psalm.

Verse 3 describes all the protection David needs, “But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.”

David needed a shield because he had fled the safety of Jerusalem’s walled fortress. With faith that God was indeed his shield and his buckler, he found renewed strength to turn and face the “many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around” (v.6). What a statement!

Verse 4 may contain the most beautiful line in the psalm: “the One who lifts up my head.” When we get down, when hard times hit us and take us by surprise, our heads drop and we are literally downcast. “But God” lifts our heads and fills us again with renewed courage and strength!

“But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.”

– Bill

 

“…my soul thirsts for Thee…”

Absalom was the third son of David and Maachah, the daughter of Talmai, King of Geshur. Here is how the Bible describes him: “Now in all Israel was no one as handsome as Absalom, so highly praised; from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no defect in him” (2 Samuel 14.25).

He not only was handsome, he was the darling of his father. He repaid his father’s favoritism by leading a rebellion against him. Absalom “stole” the hearts of the men of Israel, and David had to flee Jerusalem for his life into the wilderness of Judea beyond the Jordan.

It was during those agonizing days, at war with his own son, that he wrote of his longing for and dependence upon God. He began Psalm 63 with these words,

“O God, Thou art my God, early will I seek Thee, my soul thirsts for Thee; my flesh faints for Thee, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

Regardless of how desperate his circumstances appeared to be, he took refuge in God’s abiding presence,

“For Thou hast been my help, and in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy.”

The psalm reminds us as well of God’s presence, of His promise to “be with us always” and of the risen Christ’s presence amid His saints. And so as pilgrims in a parched land we seek and thirst and faint for Him to provide for us the refreshing relief of living water.

Bill

 

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