2. King David's Troubles

One of the great spiritual leader of the ancient nation of Israel was King David. He was the third natural king of Israel, and ruled in the period about 1000BC. Under his rule, and through the power of God, Israel was established as a major national power. Through the previous period of the Judges, they had been a fragmented people, and everyone did what was right in their own eyes, but David led them to God as a nation.

The historical accounts of Samuel and Chronicles detail the life and acts of David from a largely objective viewpoint. Many of the Psalms, however, detail David's thoughts and daily concerns. These chapters record a great diversity of emotions, from elation to almost despair and give an insight into the thoughts of one of the great leaders. In Acts, it is recorded that,

Acts 13:22: God gave testimony and said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.' 23. "From this man's seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior -- Jesus -- NKJV

Lack of Evidence

Some of the more disturbing Psalms are those where there is a plea to God for help. Throughout the Psalms, among the varity of authors, the phrase “save me” is used about 18 times. One example is Psalm 69:

Psalm 69:1.: Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. 2. I sink in deep mire, Where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, Where the floods overflow me. 3. I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God. 4. Those who hate me without a cause Are more than the hairs of my head; They are mighty who would destroy me, Being my enemies wrongfully; Though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it. 5. O God, You know my foolishness; And my sins are not hidden from You. 6. Let not those who wait for You, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed because of me; Let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel. 7. Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; Shame has covered my face. NKJV

In this passage, the overriding emotion is David calling for God to save him from his then present state. Just like Jeremiah's physical plight trapped in mud, David saw himself being flooded over with water, “I have come into deep waters, Where the floods overflow me.” Despite this feeling, however, David is clear about God's position. Many people would take this persecution as a sign that their god was false or incapable, but this was not the case with David.

The evidence for the existance and power of the true God was simply not there at the time for David. The wicked, and his destroyers, were being prosperous, yet he was suffering. So instead of there being signs and evidence of the truth of God, there was evidence to the contrary.

Psalm 69 is really quite depressing, and a concern for the faithful. It is like the climax of a book or movie, where everything is going wrong. The forces of good and truth are being overpowered by the forces of darkness and evil. In verse 7, David said, “Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; Shame has covered my face.” So David saw himself as suffering shame for God's sake.

Persecution

Historically, people have associated persecution and shame on a large scale with the displeasure of the gods, or of the God. This is illustrated in the book of Job. Much of the continuing argument is about the reason for Job's predicament, and what that said about his righteousness. After the distress came on him, he first of Job's friends to speak was Eliphaz the Temanite. His comment connected the cause of Job's problems with his actions.

Job 4:7.: "Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off? 8. Even as I have seen, Those who plow iniquity And sow trouble reap the same. 9. By the blast of God they perish, And by the breath of His anger they are consumed. NKJV

But just as Job had suffered, so David had suffered. In either case, the suffering was not directly linked to the iniquity of the sufferer.

Typically David is seen as a great leader, and because he was great, he was successful. It is true that he was successful, but this passage in the Psalms shows that his success was only for part of his life. Not only was it part of his life in the sense of time, but also in the type of success. For a long time, he suffered the persecution of Saul, and conflict with the Philistines. Not only that, but even in the peak of his reign, he still had enemies, and still had concerns.

Perhaps the real greatness in David was not his conquests and the size of his kingdom, but rather his trust in God despite his hardships. Psalm 25 reflects David's trust and hope.

Psalm 25:1.: A Psalm of David. To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. 2. O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. 3. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause. NKJV

Instead of himself being shamed, his hope was that the treacherous people would be ashamed by the actions of God. Furthermore, David trusted that God would deliver him.

Not only David, but Jesus also promised that the persecuted would yet receive a blessing. During the sermon on the mount, he showed that persecution for the sake of righteousness could be expected, and that this persecution would have an end.

Matt 5:10.: Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. NKJV

In this passage, Jesus considers that those who are persecuted are “blessed”. David endured persecution during the earlier part of his life, particularly at the hands of King Saul, but later in his life he was blessed to some extent. He was freed from Saul, and given rest from his enemies --- so eventually he was blessed.

The blessing mentioned by Jesus, however, is a greater blessing. Rather than just being given peace and prosperity for a few years, they are offered the kingdom of God. David, too, was promised, and looked for the greater blessing. Notice, however, that David still sought for peace and rest from his enemies. The words of psalm 25 show that he felt in need of help for the present time.

Psalm 25:1.: A Psalm of David. To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. 2. O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. 3. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause. NKJV

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