Thursday, July 12, 2012

Psalm 23, Can You Say It in Earnest?, Part 2

Psalm 23. Can you say it in earnest? That is the question that I introduced in my last entry. How could David possibly have said this Psalm in earnest? Well, let’s take a brief look at David’s life (some of us may be a little sketchy on the narrative). He was a shepherd as a young man. Thus, David knew the role of the shepherd and the nature of sheep that are portrayed in Psalm 23 very well. At this time, in an odd ceremony, David is anointed King by the priest Samuel, which is made all the more awkward by the fact that there was already an anointed king, King Saul, on the throne. While visiting his brothers who were in King Saul’s army he kills the giant Goliath who daily came out and defied God’s army. David eventually is accepted into the King Saul’s house, is loved by many, and becomes renowned for his bravery and fighting skills. He actually gets more fame and praise than Saul. A jealous Saul tries to kill David; and ultimately Jonathan, Saul’s son, tells David to flee. David’s family comes to him. Saul pursues David and his men on and off for years (Imagine being forced into exile and on top of that being pursued by your fellow countrymen!!!). Eventually, Saul and Jonathan die in a battle with the Philistines. David is made king of Judah and then soon after king of all Israel after his lengthy absence. 

Some believe that the entire first book of the Psalms, of which Psalm 23 is the middle, pertains to the years of David being pursued by Saul or are at least reflective of that time. Others believe that Psalm 23 is a Psalm by David once he had become king. Regardless of which one is correct, David had lengthy periods of trials and knew God’s provision for him. 

There are at least two things that David did persistently that are evident from this Psalm (and his life) that factored into his earnestness in speaking Psalm 23: 1) he recognized His sovereignty and thanked God for his provision and protection; and 2) he worked hard at knowing Him better (of course the Holy Spirit was at work too). These two things are important to know because I am going to pose a series of questions that force you to compare yourself with David in later entries. When you find yourself paling in comparison to David it is typically because he did one or both of these more frequently and more rigorously than we do.

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