From the Preacher’s Pen… David was a warrior. That fact would eventually make him unfit to build the Temple that he longed to build for the Lord. But that same fact also led to peace and allowed his son, Solomon, to build it.
It would be a grave error to conclude that David was wrong to be a warrior; for, much like the Judges before him, that was the very reason he was called by God to be King. It is also wrong to imagine that God slighted David or failed to support him in that warfare.
All this being true and verified by God’s word, that is not to suggest that David’s life of warfare was easy. As with all warriors, there would be many close friends lost in battle and many, many dark days. And those dark days would lead to many songs to the Lord such as…
The story begins with Psalm 60; a heartbreaking song as David laments in the very first verse, O God, You have rejected us. You have broken us; You have been angry; O, restore us. Unlike many Psalms that begin with despair, this one seems to almost end with a plea for God to please be there. The final two verses read: O give us help against the adversary, For deliverance by man is in vain. Through God, we shall do valiantly, And it is He who will tread down our adversaries.
Reading Psalm 60 you get a sense that the issue is not fully resolved as David writes again. The balances have not yet settled to see the final end. And yet the positive tone, the faith of a man of God still shines through.
We do both God and all the previous heroes of faith a major disservice when we imagine they always had it easy and faith never really took any effort, even in their darkest days. And, in many ways, we also do ourselves harm when we think that faith is so unrealistically easy. Faith is hard! It is a challenge, perhaps the greatest challenge we will ever face, to keep the faith in those dark days.
God doesn’t give anyone all the answers nor does He ever suggest that it is easy to face temptation, difficulties, and challenges, even when they are not our fault! Often, like David in Psalm 60, the concept of hanging onto our faith in dark days is a serious challenge that must be met… day after day and many times year after year!
That lesson leads us to the next Psalm by David, Psalm 61. Listen to the plea to God and the challenge to self to listen and remember God has always been faithful and we must trust Him even, or especially when we are weak:
- 1 Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer.
- 2 From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
- 3 For You have been a refuge for me, A tower of strength against the enemy.
And that lesson should make us realize that God IS there. He HAS heard, even when we’ve struggled to keep our promises; He and His promises are faithful!
- 5 For You have heard my vows, O God; You have given me the inheritance of those who fear Your name.
- 6 You will prolong the king’s life; His years will be as many generations.
- 7 He will abide before God forever; Appoint lovingkindness and truth that they may preserve him.
Yes, those great promises are made to us, to you as God’s child. Oh, I’m not a king you might say. And yet you are the child of the King of Kings! Your future home is with God forever and He has appointed lovingkindness and truth to preserve, to help you, to keep you safe in Him.
So how do we respond to these twin opposing certainties: God SEEMS to have deserted us; yet God has PROMISED to be with us and help us through everything?
Real winners, real heroes are not those that do the right thing when it is easy, when there are no challeges, no difficulties. Real winners, real heroes are those that keep on fighting through the dark days, through the deepest despair. Real winners, real heroes are those that keep the faith and face the challenges to sing the song of victory even in seeming defeat!
David concludes Psalm 61 by saying:
8 So I will sing praise to Your name forever, That I may pay my vows day by day.
So, when the road of life is hard, when the challenges abound, when darkness clouds your way, what will YOU do? Quit? Or Sing praises to God?
Do you remember what James said? Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. (James 5:13) Do you see how David and James complement and amplify each other? Pray and sing to be a victor in Christ! And never give up! That is faith, real faith.
— Lester P. Bagley