David’s heritage

The title of Psalm 127, “A song of degrees for Solomon” indicates it was written for Solomon, but does not tell us who the author is. The topic of the psalm is family and it states, “children are an heritage of the LORD and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3). It is possible that David wrote this psalm for his son Solomon shortly before his death.

The primary message conveyed in Psalm 127 is that there is a purpose for having children, which is to strengthen our walk with the LORD and to make us less vulnerable to attacks from our enemy, the devil. If you think of your walk with the LORD, or the development of your relationship with him, as being similar to building a city, then having children is like putting up a wall and fortifying the gates so that you cannot easily be attacked.

The basis of David’s relationship with the LOR was the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. There were many things that David did to make God’s kingdom a reality, but toward the end of his life, David realized there was much left to done. If David did not have a son to carry on the work he had started, then he might have given up and felt that his effort was useless.

David’s son Solomon was actually in a much better position to do some of the things David wanted to, like build the temple of God, therefore, David was assured that progress would continue even after he died. In spite of his sin with Bath-sheba, Solomon was born to David through their marriage. Solomon was a testimony to God’s forgiveness and a sign that David’s relationship with the LORD had been fully restored.

In Psalm 127, children are compared to arrows in the hand of a mighty man and it says that the man that has his quiver full of them will not be ashamed (Psalm 127:4-5). The word translated ashamed “has overtones of being or feeling worthless” (954). When Absalom took over David’s kingdom, David may have wondered what would become of Israel after he was gone. The fighting among his sons was a problem for maintaining peace inside and outside the nation.

It says in 1 Chronicles 29:24-25, “And all the princes, and the mighty men, and all thee sons likewise of king David, submitted themselves unto Solomon the king. And the LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as has not been on any king before him in Israel.” Solomon was David’s heritage of the LORD and by measure of his stature, he was a great reward to his father.

We choose what to believe

It is assumed that whatever we believe is true, but everything we believe is not true. Sometimes we believe that fairy tales are true; and think that by believing them, we can make them come true. In reality, what is true today is true tomorrow, things do not become true unless the facts change. Therefore, it is important that we know all the facts and choose to believe what is unlikely to change.

David said, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them, from this generation for ever” (Psalm 12:6-7). The word translated preserve, nâtsar (naw – tsar´) means to guard, to watch or keep (5341). God is very careful about what he says and always keeps his word, meaning that he does what he says he is going to, no matter how long it takes.

David asked four questions in Psalm 13 that indicate he believed some things that were not true. He asked, “How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2).

David believed that the LORD had forgotten him, that he was hiding his face from David or not listening to his prayers. David believed that he had to rely on his own counsel because his enemy, Absalom had taken over as king. In reality, none of those things were true. David was still the rightful king of Israel and his escape was part of God’s plan to restore the kingdom to him.

I think the reason David fell into despair and began to believe lies about his enemy was because he felt like a failure as a father. He probably thought he deserved to be punished for what had happened to his daughter, Tamar. What he didn’t realize was that nothing had changed. David was as close, maybe even closer to the LORD than he had ever been.

David’s language of impatience in Psalm 13 was a sign of his healthy relationship with the LORD. His boldness in wrestling with God indicates David knows that his current situation is not what God wants for him. He is expressing an anguish of relief not (yet) granted and revealing his conviction concerning God’s righteousness (note on Psalm 6:3). David closes Psalm 13 with a return to the truth and declares, “My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD because he hath dealt bountifully with me” (Psalm 13:6).

Vanity

David said, “Verily, every man at his best state is altogether vanity” (Psalm 39:5). The word vanity is rarely used anymore and its meaning has become somewhat obscure. In Hebrew, the word that is translated as vanity and also as vain, habêl (hab – ale´)  literally means emptiness and figuratively can represent something transitory and unsatisfactory. “The word represents human ‘breath’ as a transitory thing…for my days are vanity [literally, but a breath]” (1892).

As we get older, we realize more and more how quickly life passes; there never seems to be enough time to do the things we want to do. David said, “LORD, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am” (Psalm 39:4). Knowing how long you have to live helps to put things in a proper perspective, but it also makes you aware of the fact that the end is coming, probably sooner than you expected.

Our ability to enjoy life is somewhat dependent on living in the moment. What we have to do is forget about how much time we have wasted and how little time we have left. We must focus on the present; what is happening in our lives now. David referred to God as “the fountain of life” and said “In thy light shall we see light” (Psalm 36:9). Light was the first thing God created after he created the heaven and the earth. Life was not possible until there was light, “the earth was without form, and void” (Genesis 1:2).

The word translated form, tôhûw (to´ – hoo) means to lie waste and is also translated as vain and vanity (8414). The word translated void means to be empty (922). So what David was really saying was that he wanted God to make his life like the earth was after God’s light began to shine on it, flourishing with life and productive.

Vanity is the best we can expect apart from God’s work in our lives. As God created the necessary elements for life to be sustained on the earth, so can he create the necessary elements for happiness to be sustained in our lives. One of the characteristics of light is illumination. When illumination occurs, darkness is dispelled. It says in Isaiah 9:2, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”

The word translated shined, nâgahh (naw – gah´) means to illuminate (5050). Isaiah went on to say about the Messiah, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus is the light. He gives our lives form and he takes away the void that naturally occurs in day to day living. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Praise Him

The primary reason we are able to have a relationship with God is because he has a voice. If God did not have an audible voice that could be heard by man, it would have been impossible for us to know that he was communicating with us. The voice is therefore, a key characteristic that is shared between God and man and it is one of the things that enables us to understand each other on a personal level.

Some people that have claimed to hear the voice of God are actually crazy and have made hearing God’s voice suspect to insanity, but prophets in the Old Testament of the Bible were considered to be God’s mouthpiece and the words they spoke a direct message from God.

There have not been any prophets since Jesus because when he was born it says in John 1:14, “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.” I believe that Jesus speaks to believers in what could be considered an audible voice. John said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1,3).

God’s voice is powerful (Psalm 29:4). It has the ability to make things happen and all of creation is subject to his command. When God speaks to us, I believe it has an affect on us and our transformation into the image of Christ is the end result. When we respond to God’s voice, it establishes a relationship that makes it possible for us to know what is going on in the spiritual realm and when we talk to him, God can hear us.

David made it a practice to sing and play music to the LORD. David said, “Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous, for praise is comely for the upright. Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song: play skillfully with a loud noise” (Psalm 33:1-3).

In addition to singing to the LORD, David had many personal conversations with God. From his psalms, we can see that David talked to God about pretty much everything that was going on in his life. I think what David was trying to say in Psalm 33:1-3 was that singing and making music was his way of acting like his Father, the creative power of his voice was being used to affect God in the same way David was affected by God’s word.

Although God does not change, his emotions do. I believe that God can fall in love and that he was in love with David. David is described as being a man after God’s own heart. He did many things that pleased God and I think his music was especially pleasing to God. God loves us unconditionally, but his favor toward us is not. David did everything he could to please his LORD, including singing him love songs.

I made it!

The invention of GPS has made getting lost and uncommon experience. GPS was a great invention because no one likes getting lost. It can feel like you’ve been punched in the gut or a sinking feeling in your throat like when you swallowed something that hasn’t been chewed properly. Twenty years ago, I had a job as a Field Representative, before there were Google maps and GPS. I carried a Thomas Brothers guide in my car and spent hours looking up addresses and charting courses. I got lost a lot and there were many instances when I finally arrived at my destination and thought to myself, I made it!

David said in Psalm 25, “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths” (Psalm 25:4). The path David was referring to was “a marked-out, well-traveled course” (734). In a way, you could say that David was asking the LORD to be his GPS system, telling him when to make a right or U-turn. David had recently become king of Israel and realized that his lack of experience in making decisions could be a problem. He wanted to make sure he didn’t get off course in the role God had given him.

David said, “The meek will he guide in judgement: And the meek will he teach his way” (Psalm 25:9). David was probably thinking about Moses when he wrote this. Moses was described as being very meek, “above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). The word translated meek, ͑ânâyv (aw – nawvˊ) literally means to be depressed in mind or circumstances. “Anayv appears almost exclusively in poetical passages and describes the intended outcome of affliction from God, namely ‘humility’” (6035).

I think it is interesting that people that don’t know the Lord are described as being lost. I think it is because inside every person is the sense that life is a journey. We are all travelers on the pathway of life, but not everyone knows where they are going. When a person accepts Jesus as his or her Savior, it is like the street lights get turned on and you can begin to see in the dark. You know there is a road and that you will eventually reach your intended destination, but you have no clue how or when you will get there.

David was aware of his destiny or the destination that God had planned for him. After he became king, David realized that every step he took mattered. When he said, “Teach me thy paths” (Psalm 25:4), he was basically saying, guide me every step of the way. The word translated teach, lâmad (law – madˊ) means to goad or hit with a rod. Rather than teach, David could have said cause me to learn (3925).

When David became king, I’m pretty sure he thought to himself, I made it! But then, he realized, now I have to do my job and I have no clue how to be a king. God wants us to realize that we are helpless without him. Humility is knowing that you are entirely dependent on God. He can see and understands everything. There is nothing that He hasn’t already experienced and He wants to help us. All we have to do is say show me and He will.

A personal conversation

“And David the king came and sat down before the LORD, and said, who am I, O LORD God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?” (1 Chronicles 17:16). When David arrived at the place in life where all his hopes, dreams, and desires had been fulfilled, he sat down with the LORD and had a personal conversation.

The prayer of David that is recorded in both 2 Samuel 7:18-29 and 1 Chronicles 17:16-27 contains the personal name of God, LORD or YHWH, at least 10 times. David used the personal name of God as he poured out his heart to the creator of the universe. “The Tetragrammator YHWH appears without its own vowels, and its exact pronunciation is debated (Jehovah, Yehovah, Jahweh, Yahweh)” (3068). The personal name of God is derived from the word hâyâh (haw – yaw) which means to exist (1961). The literal translation of YHWH is self-Existent or Eternal (3068).

It would have been impossible for David to sit before the LORD from a physical standpoint. Most likely, David entered into the presence of the LORD through spiritual means and could have been experiencing a vision of the LORD sitting on his throne in Heaven. The point of saying that David came and sat before the LORD was to make it clear that David was not just reciting a prayer, but was having a personal conversation with Jehovah.

The importance of talking to God is more about belief than it is about communicating a message to God. God already knows what is in our hearts, he does not need us to tell him. What happens when we talk to him is that he is more real to us. We can feel his presence and know that he is listening when we say his name out loud.

The only way we know that God hears our prayers is that he answers them. In David’s situation, God spoke to him first and told David what he was going to do, then David responded and agreed with God’s will for his life. I think the reason God told David what he was going to do was to evoke a response from him. God wanted to know how David felt about it. David said, “And now, LORD, thou art God, and hast promised this goodness unto thy servant” (1 Chronicles 17:26).

God’s goodness can sometimes be overwhelming. Imagine that someone gave you the best present you had ever received or told you he was going to do something that would make you very happy. You would probably respond by telling the person how much it meant to you. That is what David did in a personal conversation with God.

In the beginning

We usually think of beginnings and endings as fixed points in time where something exists or doesn’t exist. The first verse in the Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). I think one of the most controversial aspects of theology is that God existed before the beginning. He had to or he couldn’t have created the heaven and the earth.

Thinking about what the beginning is may be the best way to unravel the mystery of life. What if the beginning is not a fixed point in time, but a fixed point in space? What if existence is not about what something is, but about where it is? God said to David through the prophet Nathan, “Also I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the beginning” (1 Chronicles 17:9).

The beginning that I believe the LORD is referring to is the Israelites’ entrance into the Promised Land. Although the people had been in the Promised Land for hundreds of years before David became king, their existence as the nation of Israel was not established until David began to dwell in Zion, what was then referred to as the city of David and is now known as Jerusalem.

The phrase “ordain a place” means to put or place someone in a place in society, a position or role that will fulfill his or her destiny, the inevitable occurrence of something predicted or prearranged. The nation of Israel actually came into existence much later than David’s reign as king, but from a time perspective, the establishment of the people in a geographical location is what enabled it to exist.

I could be wrong, but one of the ways I think we know we are in the place where our destiny is or will be fulfilled is it feels like home. There is a sense that we belong and at times it may feel as if we have always been there even though we have not. I think the key to existence is the reality that you did not end up in your place, but were placed there by the hand of God.

It is interesting that the LORD said he would plant his people and they would be moved no more (1 Chronicles 17:9) because often times when people intend to stay in a particular location for an extended period of time, they refer to it as putting down roots. The principle of sowing and reaping can be applied here in the context of having a fruitful life. When we arrive at the place God ordains for us, it will be obvious to everyone around us. They will see a difference and know that God has been at work.

Make it happen

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). Not everything a person believes is true. Even though everything God says is true, not every person believes it. What Jesus was saying in this statement was that when we believe what is true, we give that truth the power to work in our lives.

In 2 Samuel chapter 7 it is recorded that the prophet Nathan delivered a message to king David about the establishment of his kingdom. Afterwards, David prayed and said, “And now, O Lord God, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou  hast promised this goodness unto thy servant” (2 Samuel 7:28). The word translated true, ’emeth (eh´ – meth) is derived from the word ’âman (aw – man´) which means to trust or believe (539). The word aman is found in Genesis 15:7 where it says that Abraham “believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”

The transaction that occurs when we believe what God says is called imputation. Basically, what happens is that God is free to make it happen. God’s blessings do not flow freely from heaven because of the choice or free will God has given us to live our lives without his help. He does not interfere or intercede unless we ask him to. When God speaks to us personally, it is as if he is saying, I can do this, but I only will if you want me to. It is within our power to say yes or no.

David said in 2 Samuel 7:25, “And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said.” David was agreeing with God’s word and making it possible for him to make it happen without any interference from the devil. If David had not agreed, what God said would still be true, but David’s resistance (unbelief) would have hindered the process.

The word translated established, qûwm (koom) refers to destiny and can signify empowering or strengthening. “It is also used to denote the inevitable occurrence of something predicted or prearranged” (6965). The word translated promised in 2 Samuel 7:28, dâbar (daw – bar´) actually means to arrange. When God spoke to David through the prophet Nathan, what he said had already been arranged. It was possible, but it wasn’t assured of happening until David believed it was true.

Good Intentions

At the beginning of David’s reign as king of Israel, he said, “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way…I will walk within my house with a perfect heart…He that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me” (Psalm 101:2,6). David expressed what most perfectionists believe, that it is possible to live life without making any mistakes. David’s statements make sense, considering he was only 30 years old when he began his reign.

The two words translated perfect in Psalm 101:2 are both derived from the same root word, tâmam (taw – mam´) which means to complete. “The basic meaning of this word is that of being complete or finished with nothing else expected or intended” (8552). To behave in a perfect way, means that you think things through completely before making a decision or taking action. To walk with a perfect heart, means that you are completely free from offense toward those around you.

David expectations were remarkable for a 30 year old, but may have been naïve for a man that had never been in a position of power before. I’m sure it was true at the time David wrote this psalm that he a had a perfect heart and behaved in a perfect way, but like everyone else, David made mistakes.

It says about the LORD in Psalm 100:3, “It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.” I think every successful person tends to forget what he was like before he became successful. There is a tendency in human behavior to think that we never change, we have always acted the way we do now and always will.

The world around us does affect us, whether we realize it or not. Today we refer to this as the nature versus nurture syndrome. God created us to be a certain way and that way is perfect. Living in a fallen world means that we do not always achieve the perfection that God intended for us, but we should strive for that perfection with the knowledge that no matter how hard we try, we will always miss the mark in one way or another and that is why we need to, “Be thankful unto him, and bless his name for the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting” (Psalm 100:4-5).

A taste of eternity

“O sing unto the LORD a new song…shew forth his salvation from day to day” (Psalm 96:1). Salvation is only mentioned a few times in the Bible before David became king of Israel. Many personal names contain a form of the word that is translated salvation or yeshuw’ah (yesh – oo´ – aw), such as Joshua, Isaiah, and Jesus which is a Greek form of yeshu’ah (3444). When David speaks of salvation, I believe he is referring to the Messiah. Before David, there was not a focus on God’s eternal plan of salvation, the main focus of the Israelites was getting settled in the Promised Land.

In Psalm 89, it says “I have sworn unto David my servant, thy seed will I stablish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations, Selah” (Psalm 89:3-4). The words for ever signifies eternity. The literal translation of the Hebrew, ad olam, is “into the indefinite future” (5769). The concept of eternity was new in David’s time. People did not talk about life beyond death, their attention was on things that were temporal.

The psalmist goes on to say in Psalm 89:

Then thou spakest in vision to thy Holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people…With whom my hand shall be established; mine arm also shall strengthen him…Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. (Psalm 89:19, 21, 27-29)

It’s not easy to focus on eternity when you are wrapped up in the day to day activities of life. David had the ability to focus on both at the same time, he saw his accomplishments from an eternal perspective and was able to worship the LORD as if he was already in heaven.

The Hebrew word olam is properly translated as concealed. It represents the vanishing point when we are no longer aware of time. Even though we are currently bound by time, God has given man the ability to live “above time” (i.e. to remember yesterday, plan for tomorrow, and consider abstract principles)” (5769). It takes a conscious effort, but when we show forth God’s salvation from day to day, live in the moment and focus our attention on what is happening now, the awareness of time disappears and we get a taste of eternity.