Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works
which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak of them,
they are more than can be numbered.
“Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD” (Ps. 31:23-24). Penned at one of the lowest points of David’s life, the extenuating circumstances are barely discernible in the 31st Psalm. Given the essential facts of David’s predicament in other passages, however, we can’t help but wonder why he didn’t succumb to despair.
Chosen by God and anointed king of Israel by Samuel, David knew God would ultimately vindicate him. He was convinced that in due time God would bring him to the throne of Israel as promised. David’s actions were not swayed by his circumstances. Even the threat of death didn’t alter his conduct—he continued to behave wisely.
When reading his life story, some Christians feel conflicted by God’s characterization of David as, “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22). He certainly wasn’t perfect. Isolated moments of failure are in plain view on the pages of the Bible. Yet, God praises David for one characteristic that set him apart from his brothers and his predecessor, King Saul—David had a heart for God and was willing to do all that God required of him.
Samuel may have been surprised by his first real look at Jesse’s youngest son. David was not only young, he is also described with the Hebrew adjective “admoni”— signifying a red head with a ruddy complexion—a sight seldom seen in Israel. David’s cheerful countenance and the sun-bronzed physique may have impressed Samuel; but, ultimately these external qualities were irrelevant.
Militarily, the situation should never have unfolded the way it did. The Philistines were moving toward the heartland of Israel from Gath on the coastal plane. Israel’s army blocked their advancement toward the population centers of Judea, but stopped short of engagement. The result was a grueling stalemate.
Sing to the LORD, all the earth;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
David had come to know the Lord’s goodness over the course of a lifetime. He experienced the Lord’s care in every area of his life and the Lord had never failed Him. Based on God’s past faithfulness, David had an expectant confidence of God’s continued care not only in this mortal life, but in the very presence of the Lord forever!
More often than not, it is during the difficult and challenging periods of our life that we draw closer to the Lord seeking His protection. David poetically affirms this is the proper response to adversity; but, how do we react to God’s blessing?
Does David really believe that God always chooses the right path? We aren’t left to draw our own conclusions. Yes, he believes it even though he’s walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
When King David testifies, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures,” it’s not the shepherd forcing a “lie-down” on the sheep (v.2). Sheep do not lie down to eat. Rather, because they’re already full and completely satisfied—the sheep can rest in the verdant pastures.
Imagine yourself sitting across the table from King David. He’s earnestly discussing his relationship with God. He’s not throwing around abstract theological concepts in monotone disconnect. He’s the king of Israel passionately speaking to you from personal experience. He’s relating his own personal journey of living the life of faith.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Our calling is to be a visible demonstration of God’s grace. To walk worthy of our calling is important for every Christian, but especially as we relate to one another within the body of Christ. It isn’t a difficult concept. Summarized in three simple words, we need to “walk the talk.” Be real. Be authentic. Practice what you preach. Have integrity.
Because we love the hour of blue—that moment of intense twilight just between sunset and nightfall—my wife and I usually take our walk at this time of night and return home in the dark on most evenings. Walking in the dark can be lonely, even frightening. But, it’s much easier if you brought a flashlight! With the beam illuminating the path, you can identify obstacles and avoid stumbling.