By Ronald Graham
Without a doubt, prayer should be an important part of any believer’s life and we know that God is always with us and hears whatever we say or think. When we pray we talk directly with our Lord. King David is an example of a man who prayed about everything. “A Prayer of David. Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.” Psalm 17:1. David always prayed from his heart. There’s an attitude of reverence to God in every prayer he uttered. David knew that God was listening.
We first see David’s confidence in his relationship with God when the Israel army, under the leadership of King Saul, was intimidated by the Philistine army – mostly they were intimidated by the Philistine champion, Goliath. Now, Goliath was a sight to behold and huge by any reckoning. He was at least 9 feet tall and his weapons of war reflected his gigantic size. David had taken food to his brothers who were in the army and heard the threats of Goliath towards the army of Israel. David took this as an affront to God and he was offended. David volunteered to fight this Philistine giant and told King Saul “Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.” 1 Samuel 17:36. Today our Lord is mocked by the heathens of this world, but how many of us are willing to fight for Him? If Christians had the same love and zeal for God today as David did all those years ago, perhaps we would win more spiritual battles against the enemy. “David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.” 1 Samuel 17:37. David didn’t take credit for his victories over the lion and the bear, but acknowledged that it was God who had delivered him from these wild creatures.
We know the outcome of that battle. Goliath, who had confidence in his own stature and armor, was out matched by David who had confidence in the Lord. “And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:47. David was armed only with a slingshot and used one stone to fell the giant. He then used Goliath’s own sword to cut off his head. “Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.” 1 Samuel 17:51.The battle was won that day because one young man armed with confidence in the Lord did not back down. His relationship with God gave him the confidence he needed to defeat a lion, a bear, and a giant. David’s example shows us that when we face our own giants, our confidence needs to be in the Lord.
We know that David’s was a man of war, but he loved God and was known as a man after God’s own heart. David was the son of Jesse, son of Obed, son of Boaz. Boaz was the kinsman redeemer in the Book of Ruth, and a picture type of Jesus. In spite of that, David was a sinner. His sins should make us cringe. David lusted after another man’s wife, got her pregnant, and then he made sure the woman’s husband was killed in battle. We would call that murder today. Under Jewish Law David should have been stoned to death. David wasn’t stoned, but he did suffer punishment. God told the prophet Nathan to confront him with his sin. Nathan told David a story of a poor man who only had one little lamb that was loved and nurtured by the man’s family. One day a rich man, who had a large flock of his own, had a visitor. Instead of killing one of his own sheep to feed the visitor, he took the one little lamb owned by the poor man. The injustice of this enraged David “And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:” 2 Samuel 12:5. Like David, it is easy to see someone else’s sin and overlook our own. When Nathan told David the rich man in the story was him and the poor man was Uriah and the lamb was Bathsheba, David was convicted of his sin. Unlike recent US Presidents who use their office for their own pleasure, David did not feel he was above the Law. “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” 2 Samuel 12:13. The result of this sordid affair was that David became a broken man before the Lord. David acknowledged his sin and was deeply repentant. Out of David’s brokenness he wrote “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” Psalm 51:1. God put away David’s sin, and he was restored to favor again in God’s eyes, but David asked for His mercy. “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.” Psalm 51:2-3. David didn’t justify his actions. “Against thee, thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight…” Psalm 51:4a. David recognized that he had sinned against God and made no excuses for his behavior. Yes, his sin caused harm to people – Uriah was dead and Bathsheba committed adultery – but David sinned against God. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12. The Psalm goes on and David’s brokenness before the Lord is clear. As Christians, are we broken before Christ over our sins? Is it our prayer that He “create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me”, or do we try to cover up and justify our sins, never humbling ourselves before Christ and asking forgiveness? David has given us an example of brokenness before God and we should take heed.
“And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.” 2 Samuel 12:15-16. David grieved and prayed that God would not let his son die, but he did die. David’s reaction was not anger towards the Lord for not answering his prayer the way he wanted God to answer. “Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.” 2 Samuel 12:20. He got up, made himself presentable before the Lord, “…and worshipped”. He didn’t blame God for the child’s death nor did he blame the doctors, Bathsheba, or anyone. He worshipped. When God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we think He should, do we worship Him? Just as David did, a Christian should always worship God. “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Many of the Psalms were written as prayers and praises to God. We all know the 23rd Psalm and can feel the comfort of our Great Shepherd in its words “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” Psalm 23:1-2. I cannot read those words without feeling peaceful. David had been a shepherd and understood the shepherd’s care over his sheep, and how the sheep depend upon him. King David also saw God’s glory all around him. Jesus is our Good Shepherd and we need to depend upon Him. David also wrote “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” Psalm 19:1. He knew that God created all things and was not shy about declaring that fact. Many people today deny God’s handiwork by accepting the lie of evolution. David didn’t. This fact is confirmed in the Gospel of John “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:3. David declared it, and so should Christians today.
On the other hand, David also cried out to the Lord in times of distress. When his son Absalom wanted to kill him, David cried out “LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.” Psalm 3:1-2. His distress was great, but he turned in prayer and song to the Lord. “I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.” Psalm 3:4. God always hears the prayers of His children. From King David right on down to you and me, God hears our prayers.
At times David faced great persecution from friends and family. King Saul wanted to kill him as did his own son Absalom. During a time of persecution, David’s anger at his situation is recorded. “For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.” Psalm 109:2. Do you ever feel as if lies are being spread about you? David did and he took it to God. “For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer.” Psalm 109:4. David took the problem to God…but he didn’t ask for mercy upon his enemy! “Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand. When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.” Psalm 109:6-7. David felt no mercy and didn’t want God to show mercy either. “Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.” Psalm 109:8-10. This psalm is filled with raw emotion and anger from David, but he is crying out honestly to God. He does not pray for any mercy upon this person or his family, but the cry from his heart changes to his own need from God “But do thou for me, O GOD, the Lord, for thy name’s sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me. For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.” Psalm 109:21-22. David finishes this psalm by saying “I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude. For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.” Psalm 109:30-31. David knew that he could honestly take any problem to God. So can we. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
The Psalms which King David wrote came from deep within him. They were praises to God, supplications, prophecy, and repentance. David’s example of continuous fellowship with God should encourage us in our own walk. As Christians we, too, can take everything to God. Whether we are filled with the joy of our salvation or in awe of His creation, angry with an enemy or repentant over our own failures and sin, God wants us to talk with Him. He will always listen. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”. John 10:27. On the other hand we also need to listen for His voice. He talks to us too.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
This commentary was started by Ron Graham before his death on March 14, 2013, and finished by his wife, Nathele Graham