When I read the Psalms of David I feel like I have entered into the very life of this great King of Israel. We probably know more about his psyche than any other Bible writer as he wears his emotions on his sleeve. He cries out to God in frustration, anger, fear, and despair while at other times he questions God’s leading. Sometimes he can’t figure out why the wicked prosper, bad deeds seem to go unpunished and why God doesn’t destroy his enemies. David, for a man who did his share of sinning and rebelling against God, does seem to have a vengeful streak. The interesting thing about many of these Psalms is that after David vents his inner most feelings and hurts, he ends up continuing to put his trust in God to work out the problem.
The power of the Psalms is that when you and I read them we can identify with David’s frustrations and struggles. Just like David, there always seems to be something happening in our lives that are out of kilter. The reality of life, for many of us, seems to go from situation to situation in a never-ending circle. You just get all the paper work done for your taxes when your child comes home with a bad report from school, and half an hour later the burner on the stove stops working. But, it’s the feeling of betrayal and indifference by our friends and loved ones that most identify us with David. The emotional pain that hangs from every word in some of these Psalms seem to speak to our soul. When we read David’s words we can say, “oh yah, I know what you’re saying.”
In the thirty-fifth Psalm David cries out to God, “Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me!” Don’t we all feel like that at times? We want God to take those who give us grief and shake them by the scruff of the neck until they smarten up, but of course He doesn’t do that so we stew in our anger and frustration. Most of us can identify with David when he writes, “but at my stumbling they gathered in glee, they gathered together against me; people whom I knew not slandered me without ceasing…” Psalm 35:15 It is interesting how many people rejoice when we stumble. Some people seem to take great joy in hearing bad news about us and passing it on.
Why I love the Psalms is because we see David, the great man of God, as he really was. He was capable of writing the God inspiring twenty-third Psalm as well as revealing his inward frustrations in the thirty-fifth Psalm. He was a real man who had the same ups and downs in his life as us. In fact, very few of us have ever fallen to the depth of David’s deviance by having a loyal general killed to cover up his affair with the man’s wife. But in spite of all his complaining and messed up life, God loved David with an unending love. Why?
David was not only a man who knew how to sin, but he was a man who knew the true meaning of repentance. When faced with the reality of what he had done, he poured his heart out to God pleading for forgiveness. And the wonder of the greatness and kindness of God is He listened and restored David. When we are faced with the problems and hurt that life throws at us daily, we also can turn to God for help and support. Like David we might shout out our frustration and hurt, but like David we can also claim, “let those who desire my vindication shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of his servant! Then my tongue shall tell of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.” Psalm 35: 27, 28 After all the complaining, these last two verses sum up David’s trust and hope in God. He knows he is not alone. God is his friend and deliverer who has David’s best wishes in mind. David longs to see God act in his life that his friend’s support can be vindicated, and he can shout God’s praises from the rooftops. Instead of hanging our heads in defeat over our problems, lets lift our hands in praise because our God is able to deliver us. David knew it, and we should as well. Our God is an awesome God!