Last time we saw that David had a simple focus in the midst of a very complex life.
As we open to Psalm 19, look with me at the last verse. Here is the cry of David’s heart, right in front of us, and on paper. David simply said, “I want my life to please YOU. Every part, seen or unseen, I want my life to please you.”
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.
There is it, short and sweet, David unabashedly and as a young man laid open his life before the Lord who was watching.
The rest of David’s life from II Samuel 22 onward is another incredibly rich portion of Scripture. David extolled his Master and King in Psalm 18—how to overcome feelings of loneliness in the last days before death.
• Psalm 18 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said:
1. This Psalm could be entitled: Embracing God—A Long Obedience in Seeking the Lord.
2. The words of this Psalm are recorded in God’s Word twice. Once at David’s coronation (probably Psalm 18) and then again at the close of his life (II Samuel 22:2-51)—it was like a way of saying that he wanted to start his career right and end it well for the Lord!
To arrive at whatever destination you are headed, you just need to stay on course. David spent his life aimed at the Lord, and he ended well. Today, you can check on how you are doing at intentionally pointing your life God’s Way. This Psalm explains a checklist for a life that pleases God. Stay with me and see what God desires from your life and mine!
So, we can say that David ended well because his whole life was built around heading towards his eternal home. Each of us needs to soberly ask ourselves: what direction are we intentionally aiming our life?
Psalm 30 is titled that it is for a dedication. The NKJV, KJV, and NAS all translate it as a dedication of the “House of David”. But the ESV and NIV clarify what house is being referred to, by translating this superscript as the: “Dedication of the Temple”.
The Temple was on David’s heart and mind as a boy in Psalm 132, and as a man when he was told that his son would build the Temple, because of all the bloodshed David had experienced. So rather than being crushed to not build the House of the Lord, David prepared for that event with all his might.
As we open to Psalm 71, we have already seen how the whole Psalm is a portrait about how David looked at life through the lens of Scripture.
As we come to the ending of David’s life we are looking at another aspect of His life reflected in this Psalm.
David declares that he is going to speak out about the goodness of God to the end.
David Decided to Talk About God’s Goodness
David has learned to never stop talking about the goodness of God.
As we open to the inspired postscript to the life of David, we find that the Holy Spirit directed Paul to say amazing truths.
First, in Acts 13:22 Paul writes that David served God’s purpose in his own generation; then in v. 36 of the same chapter, Paul notes that David was the man after God’s own heart. That phrase is perhaps the best know New Testament description for David.
Being after God’s own heart is deep within all of our hopes for this life, but so often we wonder how. The combination of those two truths about David give us an inspired clue of what it takes to be after God’s own heart: to serve God’s purpose = to be after God’s own heart!
As we open to Psalm 18, we are entering the last days of David. No one else in Scripture has more space devoted to their life other than the Lord Himself. David is God’s object lesson to each of us on: how hard life can be, how much we can struggle, how greatly we can fail-and how incredibly God can use us.
As we will see in these 50 verses of David’s longest Psalm, David extolled the Lord as his Master and King.Psalm 18 shows us so clearly how David made it through a very long and difficult life, and then how he went on to overcome feelings of loneliness and uselessness in the waning years of life.
Application is the best part of Bible study.
But, just like a “straight from the garden” meal, there is so much work to do. For food grown or caught, there are many stages to go through. Pick up and clean or wash; cut up and prepare; cook and serve-and then at last: the meal. There is nothing like fresh, homemade meals, in all the world. It is the best; and it is hard!
The same is true for Bible study. The passage must be hunted, the truths must be dug out and stored, then they are prepared into personally applicable truths, then the meal: the personal prayerful application.
The 71st Psalm deals with some of the troubles common to living on planet Earth. For troubles are always with us-as Job said almost 5,000 years ago. Either we are just getting through some, in the middle of some, or headed into some.
Life is hard, as Job 5:7 says: (NKJV) “Yet man is born to trouble, As the sparks fly upward”. Those words come from what may be the oldest book of the Bible, written by Job, who lived just after the Flood at the end of the Ice Age.
Consequently, every day is an opportunity to either focus on ourselves-our troubles, problems, misfortunes, woes (and there will always be some)-or to focus on God and His plans, promises, purposes and faithfulness to guide our lives to the very end.
As we open to 2 Samuel 23, we are opening to a confession from an elderly David.
The older we get, the harder it is to hide what is really going on inside our hearts and minds. Consequently, we become more and more transparent with our feelings and fears. And God designed it that way. For as the clay pot, the tent we live in, cracks and tears, He wants the treasure of Christ within us to spill out to encourage others in their own unending struggles.
That is why David’s final words spoke of the power of the Holy Spirit within him. God’s grace and power, through His precious Spirit, is our only source of strength to live and die in a way that pleases God.
As we open to Psalm 3, we are seeing David’s response when bad things happen to him, especially when he is doing nothing wrong. The lesson is that when bad things happened in David’s life he looked for God for understanding.
For us the lesson is that when bad things happen to good people, they are to look to God for understanding.
We start at the last word of the superscript that appears just before the first verse. That one word sets the tone for this period of David’s life we are examining. That one word in Psalm 3 that weighed heaviest on David appears at the end of the attribution line: A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son.
As we open to Psalm 3 we can note some details that set this Psalm apart as a very special Psalm to learn from:
First, this is the first of the Psalms, called a Psalm, note the superscript says: A Psalm, and no other Psalm before this one says that.
Secondly, this is the first Psalm attributed to David in the Psalter, note it says: A Psalm of David. There are 72 others after this one ascribed to David, but this is the first.
Third, this is the first time we see the term Selah used in a Psalm. After three occurrences in Psalm 3, Selah shows up 68 more times in 38 other Psalms. This term is a pause for emphasis and reflection upon what has just been stated.
And finally, this is the first inspired setting to any Psalm. Note the rest of the title to Psalm 3 that says: “A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son”. Here we find a message from God to each of us on how to deal with fear. David flees for his life, pursed by his own son. What a fearful and sad time in life. What a rich time to learn from the God who is able to help us in time of need.