The Tears of a King

17 01 2012

Growing up I’ve always been taught that David in the Bible was a great man. A great man of valor. A great man who did the right things. Everybody should want to be like David because he was a man “after God’s own heart.” I heard that last phrase quite often in reference to David. I always thought that meant he was a good guy.

Now that I finished my Essential 100 Bible study (a GREAT study, by the way!), I decided to tackle the book of Psalms. So far I’m up to chapter 46 and it’s interesting. David has been the author of the majority of the psalms up to this point and it’s revealing a different side of his character. The David that I’ve seen in the past 40-something chapters has been a man who was lonely, depressed, angry, jealous, disappointed, discouraged and down-trodden.

If you know anything about David’s story, he was actually an adulterer and a murderer. He spent many of his years on the run–running from King Saul who was trying to kill him, running from his own son Absalom who was trying to kill him.  He was mocked and ridiculed even though he was supposed to be a king. The psalms give us an inside look at what David was feeling during those times, and what we find is that he had some pretty raw emotions. For example, this is one of the passages I read this morning in Psalm 42:

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation
and my God.

(Psalm 42:1-5 ESV)

As David remembers the “good old days” about his past relationship with God, he also acknowledges the sorrow of his present state and encourages himself in God. One thing that is consistent about David so far in this book is that in the midst of all his troubles, he always leans on God. He takes those raw emotions and does not hide them from God or from himself. He deals with them by praying them. I recently listened to a podcast by Tim Keller called “Praying Our Tears” and in it he talked about praying our sorrows back to God. It doesn’t help to just vent or complain about our issues. But being a follower of Christ means that we bring those issues to Him and still believe and trust in His sovereignty no matter what. I know for me, I often find myself glamorizing the “good old days” of my relationship with God, and I fail to acknowledge God in my present circumstance.

Perhaps that’s what it means to be a man “after God’s own heart.” It’s not that David was a perfect man who did everything God wanted. But rather, he still chased after God, even with the yucky, sucky parts of his life. If you ever thought the Bible and the church were about perfect people serving a perfect God, I encourage you to look again. Serving a perfect God is the only part of that statement that is true. There was only one perfect person in the Bible, and that was Jesus. Everybody else was really jacked up on many levels. And we Christians today are no different. But taking those messy parts of life and casting them on Jesus can help us lighten the load. If you’re interested in listening to Tim Keller’s podcast “Praying Our Tears,” You can listen to it here. And here is the rest of Psalm 42 starting from verse 7. I hope it encourages you to remember God’s love in the midst of whatever you may be going through…

Deep calls to deep
        at the roar of your waterfalls;
    all your breakers and your waves
        have gone over me.
    By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
        and at night his song is with me,
        a prayer to the God of my life.
    I say to God, my rock:
        “Why have you forgotten me?
    Why do I go mourning
        because of the oppression of the enemy?”
    As with a deadly wound in my bones,
        my adversaries taunt me,
    while they say to me all the day long,
        “Where is your God?”
    Why are you cast down, O my soul,
        and why are you in turmoil within me?
    Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
        my salvation and my God.
(Psalm 42:7-11 ESV)




One response

19 01 2012

Great stuff! Wait till you get to chapter 51 when he pours his heart out after committing adultery & murder! Yes, David was a king, good at times, but still a failed king who points us to the Perfect King!!

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