David is one of the major characters of the Old Testament. His history covers half of I Samuel and essentially of II Samuel.Some have observed that we know more about the life of David than any other biblical person except Jesus. As we think about the things we remember about David, perhaps your list is something like mine – shepherd, giant killer, hiding from King Saul who was jealous of him, crowned king, sin with Bathsheba, death of infant child, musician and poet.
The Book of the Psalms has 75 Psalms attributed to David. Two more appear in II Samuel 22 & 23. What both David’s life and his literary legacy show us about him is his great devotion to the LORD. In fact, it would be hard to understand or explain David’s life without knowing that honoring, worshiping and obeying God was always his number one priority. A prime example of this is found in Psalm 145.
Psalm 145 is thought by some scholars to have been written near the end of David’s life. “David penned this most exquisite conclusion to his seventy-three psalms in the Psalter. Here, the king of Israel extols and celebrates the King of eternity for who He is, what He has done, and what He has promised.” (The MacArthur Bible Commentary, by John MacArthur) Certainly it is part of the closing section of the Psalms, the great concluding “Hallelujah Chorus” as someone described it.
Taking a moment to look back over David’s life, we note:
- His desire that the LORD’s name and His people not be blasphemed by Goliath – I Samuel 17:26, 45-47.
- When pursued for years by King Saul who wanted to kill him to prevent David becoming his successor, David steadfastly refused to raise a hand to harm or kill Saul despite several opportunities to do so. His reason? Saul was the Lord’s anointed – I Samuel 24:6; 26:9-11.
- When his infant child dies, David arises from prayer and goes to the House of God (Tabernacle?) and worshiped God – II Samuel 12:15-23.
- As the priests moved the Ark of the Covenant through Jerusalem, David joined the “common people” who were celebrating and he was “leaping and dancing before the Lord (II Samuel 6:17). David was expressing his unconditional joy that the representation of God’s presence was going to be located in his capital city! To read more about this event, check out this article at www.doesgodexist.org.
- Throughout the Psalms we note that he was a man of meditation on God’s law (Psalm 1), rejoiced to go up to God’s house (Psalm 122:1), constantly prayed to God, and exalted the God of all creation (Psalms 8, 19, 139).
Now, in the 145th Psalm, Hebrew scholars tell us that the 21 verses are an acrostic. In this case, each verse begins with each succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet. While this is not something we can see in English, in Hebrew each of the 22 letters of the alphabet are used in order, except n (nun) in this Psalm. For more details, see the Wikipedia article on this Psalm.
As I read and re-read this Psalm, it seems to me to divide more or less into 3 sections:
- The greatness of the LORD – Psalm 145:1-6
- The wonderful attributes of the LORD – Psalm 145:7-13
- The faithfulness of the LORD – Psalm 145:14-21
Take the time to read the Psalm several times. Notice how David says, “every day I will praise you.” (v. 2) You see, everything good that David did came out of his love, honor, worship and dedication to the LORD. He did not seek to be King; he was king because the LORD wanted him to be. He saw himself even as king as simply a shepherd of the LORD’s flock. The LORD was his shepherd (Psalm 23). And even as king, the LORD was his king (Psalm 145:1)
It is the highest possible praise from the LORD for Him to describe David (I Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). David did not just believe in God, nor was he simply committed to obeying God. He was devoted to always worshiping God and giving Him first place in his heart and life. He truly did love the LORD his God with all of his heart, soul, mind and strength!
And not only did he love and worship God with all his being, he wanted all of the LORD’s people to do the same! That’s why he poured out his own heart and soul in 75 or more Psalms that would be preserved and could be used by God’s people from that generation until now to worship the Almighty King!
Our image is a watercolor painting entitled “David Dancing Before the Ark,” by James Tissot done around 1900. It is in the public domain.