“I love You, O Lord, my strength.”
Around 1000 BC God had rejected Saul as king, and through Samuel anointed David – some years before Saul’s death. They were difficult years for David as after his defeat of the Philistine giant Goliath Saul became very jealous of him, tried to kill him and even went out hunting for him with his troops. Twice David had the opportunity of killing Saul but refused to raise his hand against ‘the Lord’s anointed.’ Having been filled with the Spirit he comes across as an attractive and promising young man with a glorious vision of God. It is revealed in his attitude towards the challenges issued by Goliath against the terrified Israelite army led by Saul,
“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26)
David was the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse. He became the second and greatest of the kings of Israel, a great warrior, a musician, an eloquent poet and prophet – as revealed in the Psalms – one of the most prominent figures in history and the king from whose descendants the Messiah would be said to come.
For all his great attributes and blessings he still fell into sin. His uncontrolled lust for Bathsheba caused him to break at least five of the Ten Commandments – he coveted another man’s wife, committed adultery, ordered her husband’s death, stole and bore false witness. For this he was confronted by God through the prophet Nathan and the son borne of his liaison with Bathsheba – now his wife – died. However, his acknowledgement and repentance of his sins was very real as revealed in Psalm 51,
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.” (Psalm 51:1-4)
For all David’s very real shortcomings the one thing that he never did was to turn away to other gods. Scripture says of him that ‘his heart was fully devoted to the Lord his God’ (1 Kings 11:4), and David himself would sing,
“I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:1-2)
His story is a story of someone who did seek to love, honour and obey His God. And when He fell he discovered not only that God was still there with Him but that the reality of God’s forgiveness was more than anyone could have imagined.
“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:10-12)
David was a real person who met and responded to the reality of God in the reality of his life. He knew that his sins were forgiven, that his merits were God’s mercies and that his life was God’s gift. We can too if we will put our trust in God.
Father God, wherever I am and whatever I am doing please help me to be aware of You and to trust completely in Your love and forgiveness. Amen.