I’m not sure if you’ve ever had the chance to get to know King David. The “man after God’s own heart”. (1 Samuel 13:14) If you haven’t, I suggest you read Samuel 1 & 2. Not only was he the great King of Israel and the ancestor of Jesus, he was also a guy that went through a whole bunch of drama. Sometimes he shined and sometimes he totally blew it. But through it all, he never lost focus of God. We can learn a lot from him.
David was a writer. (I can relate to that.) When he was in trouble, he wrote. When he was joyful, he wrote. Many of the Psalms were written by David and they can bring us great comfort when we are experiencing our own struggles.
I just read Psalm 18. This particular Psalm was clearly written after David had been victorious over his enemies. He was in celebration mode, joyfully proclaiming all of the greatness of God. As I read it, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was maybe a Psalm of “hindsight”. If just maybe, only days or possibly hours before he had penned one of the Psalms crying out to God for help.
In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his Temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him into his ears. (v.18)
In the particular moment of fear and distress that David is referring to – do you suppose he had this confidence? Or was he, because he is human, wondering why it seemed that God wasn’t listening? Was it maybe when he wrote a Psalm like this? — O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer. Psalm 22:2
Was it only in hindsight that David could acknowledge that God had heard him all along?
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. (v.16)
Do you think David realized how deep he’d actually gotten in whatever the mess was? Was it possible that he only saw what God had rescued him from when he was looking back on where he’d been? Thankfully God always knows just how deep is too deep.
With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. (v.29)
I wonder – when David was at his wits end, with no more fight in him – did he, at that moment, remember where his strength came from? Or was that maybe a moment when he penned a Psalm like this one. — Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long? Psalm 6:2-3
Was it only in looking back that he saw God’s mighty hand bringing victory in his situation?
The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock. Exalted be God my Savior! (v.46)
When David actually felt alone in the midst of despair, unsure of where God was or what he was doing in his situation – did he remember his Rock then? Or was he maybe questioning God with a Psalm like this one? Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in trouble? Psalm 10:1
Did it take God moving mightily to remind him of that he is always his Rock and his Savior?
Reflecting on hindsight really resonates with me. How often in the midst of a problem do I forget that God is there. He hasn’t moved. He hasn’t gone on vacation. He is the same God with the same plan. Then how often do I finally praise God when I get to the other side and see his hand in all of it?
Every one of the Psalms that David wrote were written about the same Mighty God. And God’s plan is not altered in any way by our perception of the circumstances. I guess that’s why we are supposed to give thanks him through it all, because ultimately we will look back and see he was worthy to be praised all along.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18