Over the course of the past several weeks we have closely studied the David’s life. We have seen him grow and mature from his earliest days as an obscure shepherd boy into the renown and widely beloved king of Israel. We have read of his great successes and his costly failures. We have seen David on both his good days and his bad days, and have realized that he - just like us - was an imperfect and broken man who needed God in his life.
In addition to his many exploits and harrowing adventures, David was also a prolific songwriter and poet. David wrote several songs that were inspired by particular events he’d experienced, and others that were more general in nature. Many were written to be played on the harp, which appears to have been David’s favorite instrument. David wrote music throughout his entire life and many of his songs have been preserved in the pages of the Bible.
No study of David would be complete without mentioning the psalms that he composed. While the primary focus of our current sermon series in on the history of the united kingdom of Israel, it seems appropriate to dedicate at least one message to David’s psalms. Perhaps in the future we can do an entire series exclusively on the book of Psalms. For now, we will summarize the psalms and look at those included in today’s text. Our message this morning is titled “The Psalms of David”.
I. THE PSALMS OF DAVID
As we’ve learned already in this series, David was a skilled musician who loved to sing and play music. He was also a gifted composer who wrote many beautiful songs and poetic melodies. Most of these, with just a few exceptions, are included in the book of Psalms. Over the course of his life David wrote about 75 psalms. These can be divided generally into 4 categories. It is important to note that many of the psalms contain elements from multiple categories.
The first of these categories is prayer. Most of the songs that David wrote are primarily prayers set to music (approx. 35). There are several prayers for deliverance, protection, and rescue from David’s enemies. There are prayers seeking God’s mercy, guidance, sanctification, and help. In some of his psalms David asks the LORD to pardon him of past sins that he’s committed. There are also prayers for prosperity, victory, personal vindication, and peace in Jerusalem. In some of them, David prays that God would destroy or punish his enemies and/or the wicked. Still others are more general prayers that express his trust, suffering, or distress.
The second category is thanksgiving and praise. Several of David’s songs explicitly express praise and gratitude to God for the wonderful things He has done (approx. 10). As mentioned in the previous paragraph, one of the most repeated themes is deliverance and protection. David often thanks God for saving him from the hands of his enemies. He also praises the LORD for His mercies and favor, among many other things.
The third group consists of psalms about God. These are not necessarily praises ascribed to God, but rather songs that describe His characteristics (approx. 20). There are psalms about God’s glory, works, word, favor, voice, omnipresence, omniscience, and goodness. David names the LORD as his Provider, his Protector, his Deliverer, his Portion, and his Shepherd. He describes God as a refuge, a helper, a sustainer, a satisfier, and so on. In a few of his psalms, David prophetically writes about the coming Son of God, Jesus Christ.
The fourth category includes all of David’s other psalms. These are varied declarations of some sort or another (approx. 10). There are expressions of anguish, sadness, complaining, and lament. David writes about the folly of men, the futility of evil, and the vanity of life. He describes the wickedness of men and their insecurity outside of God. There are other psalms about the excellence of unity and blessedness of forgiveness. David also declares his trust in the LORD and professes his uprightness.
II. A PSALM OF DELIVERANCE (2 Samuel 22)
The words of this song are duplicated almost word-for-word in Psalm 18. Apparently it was slightly edited before being included in the book of Psalms. David wrote this magnificent psalm to praise God for delivering him from the hands of his enemies. As he looked back over his life, David remembered all of the times that God had protected him and rescued him from danger.
God protected David from wild beasts while he watched over his father’s flocks as a young boy. God saved David from the hands of the mighty giant Goliath while he was just a teen. As a young man, God delivered David on multiple occasions as he fled from the jealous king Saul. As king, the LORD faithfully protected David from numerous enemies including the Philistines, the Arameans, the Ammonites, and many others. God even spared David from the conspiracy of his own son. David’s life was filled with numerous instances in which God delivered him from some peril or difficulty.
After a brief introduction, the first stanza of this psalm describes David’s precarious situation which leads him to cry out to God for help. The second stanza portrays God’s supernatural response. The third declares David’s deliverance from his enemies. In the stanzas that follow, David praises the LORD for His goodness, His strength, and His lovingkindness. This psalm is one of many in which David thanks God for deliverance.
Most of us here this morning do not share in the same type of battles that David often had. We are not leading armies into the fray or engaging in direct hand-to-hand combat with adversaries. That said, we still face dangerous and strong enemies every day. Our fight is not with flesh and blood but rather with powers and principalities in dark places. Many of us are fighting against sickness and disease. Others are battling addictions and bad habits. We need protection every day from the enemies of God and the fallenness of the world around us. For this reason, we can easily relate to and treasure the psalms of David.
III. DAVID’S LAST SONG (2 Samuel 23:1-7)
While this passage is called “David’s Last Song”, it almost certainly isn’t the last words that he spoke. Perhaps it is so named because it is the final song contained in the books of Samuel. As we will see next week, David still has a few years left as king before turning his reign over to Solomon. During these final years, he spoke many more words and gave his son a lot of wise counsel. Thus, these were not David’s last words but are important nonetheless.
In these verses, David declares that he has ruled over Israel righteously and in the fear of God. He proclaims that the LORD has made an everlasting covenant with him, promising that a descendant of David would rule over Israel forever. This covenant was fulfilled through Jesus Christ, who was born of the line of David. Jesus is the King of kings, who reigns forevermore. This brief psalm closes with a description of what will happen to the worthless and wicked.
The same God who made a covenant with David centuries ago has made promises to us a well. We need to delight in these promises and to rest in the assurances of God. We need to live with confidence that God keeps His word. We must surrender our lives to Him, receiving the forgiveness that only Christ offers, and serve Him faithfully everyday. God will deliver those who place their trust in Him!
In addition to his numerous accomplishments both before and after he became king, David is also famous for the many beautiful psalms that he wrote. These songs express great joy and triumph, deep sorrow and loss, and a host of other feelings and emotions. As we read and sing these wonderful psalms, it gives us deeper insight into the heart and mind of David.
Next Sunday we will resume our study of the history of Israel and the united kingdom. We will read about David’s work in the final years of his life and how he tried to prepare his son Solomon for the throne. We will see David’s focus and energies return to an idea that he’d had many years ago. Until then, may you all have a blessed week!