I first noticed how humble David’s attitude is when reading 2 Samuel 22, David’s song of praise. Repeatedly, God is attributed with victory, well over and above anything David claims for himself (of which I have found next to nothing). “The Lord is…” “He is…” He heard…” He opened…” “He shot…” “His lightning…”
David is almost an anti-king. His character is a complete contrast of that of any other monarch in history. He relies more on the Lord, than on his own power and influence; and the status and riches of the kingdom don’t sway him.
Psalm 52:5-8 regarding a great warrior Doeg the Edomite, who betrayed David to Saul.
“But God will strike you down once and for all.
He will pull you from your home
and uproot you from the land of the living. Interlude
The righteous will see it and be amazed.
They will laugh and say,
“Look what happens to mighty warriors
who do not trust in God.
They trust their wealth instead
and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.”
But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God.
I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.”
Psalm 4:7 “You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.”
This humility is part of the reason why in 2 Samuel 7:9b the Lord told David, “…I will make your name as famous as anyone who has ever lived on the earth!” It was a privilege that David could be trusted with.
Below are a handful of examples of David’s humility from the first twenty Psalms. They demonstrate three areas where humility plays a large role in his life.
1. David didn’t try and achieve the success of the kingdom himself.
– Psalm 3:8
“Victory comes from you, O LORD.
May you bless your people.”
– Psalm 4:6:
“Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”
Let your face smile on us, LORD.”
– Psalm 7:1
“I come to you for protection, O LORD my God.”
– Psalm 10:12
“Arise, O LORD!
Punish the wicked, O God!
Do not ignore the helpless!”
2. David always gave the glory to God for victories, despite his reputation in battle. [Refs 1 Samuel 18:6-7 and 2 Samuel 5:1-2]
– Psalm 9:1-3
“I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all the marvellous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of you.
I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
My enemies retreated;
they staggered and died when you appeared.”
– Psalm 16:5-8
“LORD, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
You guard all that is mine.
The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
What a wonderful inheritance!”
– Psalm 18:1-3
“I love you, LORD;
you are my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and he saved me from my enemies.”
– Psalm 18:43-45
“You gave me victory over my accusers.
You appointed me ruler over nations;
people I don’t even know now serve me.
As soon as they hear of me, they submit;
foreign nations cringe before me.
They all lose their courage
and come trembling from their strongholds.”
3. David’s humility is also seen in repeated requests to have God judge him, in order that he would stay on the right path. As he diligently sought God’s judgement and was very rarely judged, he was able to declare his righteousness before the Lord. He often states his position when grappling with his (and Israel’s) need for deliverance. (e.g. Psalm 41:12 “You have preserved my life because I am innocent; you have brought me into your presence forever.” See also Psalm 139.)
– Psalm 19:12-14
“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
and innocent of great sin.
May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
– Psalm 7:3-5
“O LORD my God, if I have done wrong
or am guilty of injustice,
if I have betrayed a friend
or plundered my enemy without cause,
then let my enemies capture me.
Let them trample me into the ground
and drag my honour in the dust.”
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