David’s Steleae: The Psalms as Public Memorials and Private Prayers

violin-and-psalm“I will tell of the marvellous things You have done.” Psalm 9:1b

“I will exalt You, Lord, because You have rescued me.” Psalm 30:1a

A stele is “an upright stone slab or pillar bearing an inscription or design and serving as a monument, marker, or the like.” [Source: Dictionary.com] They were widely used in the Near East millennia before David, and well after his time. It was standard practice for kings to have steles and statues of themselves made as positive propaganda to support their reign. However, David didn’t follow this practice. In line with the *ten commandments, he didn’t have himself pictured with a representation of YHWH behind him, neither did he carve his achievements in stone. Apart from the book of Samuel and 1 Chronicles, the only memorials we have to David are his Psalms, some of which could be likened to victory steles, and others which have an interesting function.

Roughly half of all the Psalms that are attributed to David were sent to the choir director and made public, and 50% of those Psalms were written when he was in great distress. We don’t know how the other Psalms were used, but it is possible that the ones which have not been specifically marked as “for the choir director” were in his personal collection, then organised into books after his death. His Psalms which are marked as prayers: 17, 86, and 142, were notably not sent to the choir director.

Some of the Psalms that were made public had national themes: Psalm 60 was written while David grappled with Israel’s failures in the battle in the Valley of Salt, and is noted as being useful for teaching; the wording of Psalm 67 is a mix of a prayer and a benediction; and Psalm 58 is an outspoken challenge to the people of Israel on justice [see the final chapter below for clarification]. David also sent Psalm 53 to the choir director, making a public statement of faith with “only fools deny God.”

Using my own classification of the Psalms (I get lost in the theological classifications, so I divided them further for my own use), these are the victory Psalms that David wanted sung before the Lord:

  • Psalm 9: I will tell of all the marvellous things You have done.
  • Psalm 18: When rescued from Saul and the enemies in that period of time.
  • Psalm 20: May the LORD answer all your prayers.
  • Psalm 21: How the king rejoices in Your strength, O LORD!
  • Psalm 30: Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

The Psalms of joy and wonder, plus David’s statements of faith that were sent to the choir director include Psalms 8, 11, 19, 62, 65, 66, 67, 53 and 58.

One thing which occurred to me when looking at which Psalms were attributed to specific events and could be considered memorials, is that there are no Psalms specifically linked to David’s most notable victories such as killing Goliath, bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, or his battle achievements. He didn’t mention God’s special covenant with Him, or his plans to build the temple; (neither did David ask for it to be named after him.) This is a testament to David’s humility, despite the moral dips which occurred with Bathsheba and the census.

The stone tablet with the code written on it. This was placed in a public space so that all could read it.

The stone tablet with the code written on it. This was placed in a public space so that all could read it.

God is always the focus of David’s songs, which is another significant difference between him and any other ruler. He never claims honour or victory for himself. For an example, read the **Code of Hammurabi which has massive chunks at the beginning and end, glorifying and justifying the rule of Hammurabi. For example: “Hammurabi, the prince… making riches and increase, enriching Nippur and Dur-ilu beyond compare… who conquered the four quarters of the world, made great the name of Babylon…who enriched Ur; the humble, the reverent, who brings wealth…”

David’s work shows that he was transparent in how he talked about his life in public and that he wasn’t hung up on appearances. He freely admitted his faults and struggles and the glory for his successes always went to the Lord. Psalm 51, which speaks of his correction by Nathan over Bathsheba, and how sin affected him, was made public. Whether that was to address his sin because it was public knowledge, or whether it was to be used as a teaching aid to strengthen the faith of the people and encourage righteousness, or both, I honestly don’t know.

Psalm 3, which was about when he fled from Absalom, Psalm 34 where he escaped from Philistine territory feigning madness and Psalm 52, where he was betrayed by Doeg to Saul, weren’t marked for use by the choir director either. Not using Psalm 52 appears odd, as all the other betrayal Psalms were publicly sung. Perhaps it wasn’t copied or notated correctly, or perhaps David had some private reason for not sending it on? I wish I knew.

These are the Psalms which have a definite event associated with them and could be considered a form of victory stele.

  • 7 – concerning Cush of the tribe of Benjamin
  • 18 – rescued from all enemies and Saul [PUBLIC]
  • 30 – dedication of the temple / house [PUBLIC]
  • 54 – betrayed by Ziphites [PUBLIC]
  • 56 – seized at Gath [PUBLIC]
  • 57 – when fled from Saul and went to the cave [PUBLIC]
  • 59 – soldiers watching his house [PUBLIC]

The last point of interest is David’s request that two Psalms which relate to persecution by Saul, (57 and 59,) be sung to the tune “Do Not Destroy.” Knowing the old title attached to that melody would add a clear message to the Psalm, which would be noted by anyone knowing that piece of music. Other Psalmists also requested the same for their work.

“Do Not Destroy” is also the melody which was selected for Psalm 58: “Justice—do you rulers know the meaning of the word?” In Bible Hub’s interlinear Bible, “ruler” is elem, or congregation. [Strongs Number 482] It is a masculine word, which is culturally correct as the assembly of believers was all male in David’s time. Some Bibles say gods, some say sons of men. There is no correct consensus. It is a source of profound frustration to me that words such as this are so poorly translated in our Bibles, and a reminder to dig deeper to find the true meaning of the Word of God.
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Notes:

*“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:4-6

**The Code of Hammurabi translated by L.W. King http://www.general-intelligence.com/library/hr.pdf  and the Louvre Museum’s page on it: http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/law-code-hammurabi-king-babylon


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The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

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A Matter of Character and Trust: The Problem With Lies

42846561_sGoing through David’s life, there are some parts which bother me and one is his dance with the truth. David told three major lies to get out of trouble in his early life:

1. to the Priests at Nob; [Ref. 1 Samuel 21, Nob and point 2.]
2. when he first fled into Philistine territory and had to feign madness to escape, and
3. when he deceived the Philistine King Achish, whilst attempting to avoid Saul’s persistent persecution. [Ref. 1 Samuel chapters 27 and 29]

Despite the severity of the circumstances which led him to lie, they leave me with a really bad impression of his character. Was lying a nasty trait which followed him through life? As so much of David’s life was marked by outstanding faith and he was righteous, his lies stand out even more. They have had me questioning just how far he could be trusted, especially as some Middle Eastern cultures approve of habitual lying to “save face.” So I decided to delve into the matter further, to try and comprehend why he sinned that way.

Logically, I can understand why he lied those three times: *“if you can’t escape by fight or flight, you lie,” and any of us would be very hard pressed not to react the same way when backed into a corner with our life at stake. However, David is supposed to be a “type” of Jesus: a human who exhibits the character of God, teaching us what God is like and that we can trust Him. Repeated incidents of lying threaten to destroy that.

Looking at lying from a psychological angle, the size of the consequences of not telling the lie determine how serious the offence is. If a ‘protective lie’ saves you from death, it is easily forgivable, as it wasn’t casual deception which foretells deep moral character flaws. If David wasn’t lying for financial or power gains, or to bolster his ego, his lies can be considered as unwise without deeply tarnishing him. In 1 Samuel 24:5 we can see that David was well aware of what was right and wrong, and would self-correct, so I am led to continue to trust him.

But… whenever I read about David, I expect to see him react with faith, looking for God to help him as he did with Goliath, not legging it into enemy territory and lying to save his hide. He is to be the best David, flawless through and through to not disappoint me… but that expectation doesn’t take a key fact into account: this time in his life featured a hard growth curve on the path to spiritual maturity. He was growing up and messing up along the way, as he struggled to build his trusting, God-dependent spiritual nature. His later character traits which produced the Psalms were in the process of being forged ‘in the furnace of much affliction,’ and like all of us, he started out weak, then through hard lessons, became stronger.

I have no idea how bad he felt about his deceptions, though I am sure he must have deeply regretted the consequences of his flight to the priests at Nob, (Saul massacred them in revenge). Living in Philistine territory must have also been an arduous task that he gritted his teeth through and hated. No one chooses to live with the enemy unless they believe that this is the only option left. God hadn’t delivered him yet, and David had yet to learn to wait no matter what. The events of this long period, (from Nob to Gath was around seven years or so,) had to have awakened an awareness that he had to be totally dependent on the Lord for safety and deliverance; if not, he would only get himself, and others, into greater trouble. It would be an agonising experience to watch people die and suffer because of you, as you found your way through the maze of choices, striving to grow. I feel a deep compassion for him.

bestrong-trustgodinvertedblueThe bad parts of David’s story are as helpful to us as the good. This portion of Davids life reminds me that need I to be patient and encouraging with people while they are growing. They are going to make some big, serious mistakes; but blaming people and judging without understanding what they were feeling and where they were coming from is useless. Thinking about what David did, I can’t excuse his wrongs, but I can appreciate the stress he was under and where he was in his spiritual journey. I’m just glad that he came through safely to leave us with his testimony to the Lord’s great patience with us as we overcome our own failings, no matter how many times we fall apart as we’re learning.

“A psalm of David, the servant of the LORD. He sang this song to the LORD on the day the LORD rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang:
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.
The ropes of death entangled me;
floods of destruction swept over me.
The grave wrapped its ropes around me;
death laid a trap in my path.
But in my distress I cried out to the LORD;
yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from His sanctuary…

He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
He drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
but the LORD supported me.
He led me to a place of safety;
He rescued me because He delights in me.
The LORD rewarded me for doing right;
He restored me because of my innocence.
For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
I have followed all His regulations;
I have never abandoned His decrees.
I am blameless before God;
I have kept myself from sin.
The LORD rewarded me for doing right.
He has seen my innocence.
To the faithful You show Yourself faithful;
to those with integrity You show integrity.
To the pure You show Yourself pure,
but to the wicked You show Yourself hostile.
You rescue the humble,
but You humiliate the proud.
You light a lamp for me…
The LORD lives! Praise to my Rock!
May the God of my salvation be exalted!…

For this, O LORD, I will praise You among the nations;
I will sing praises to Your Name.
You give great victories to Your king;
You show unfailing love to Your anointed,
to David and all his descendants forever.” Psalm 18:1-6, 16-28 and 49-50

*Sorry, but I can’t remember where this quote comes from.


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Creative Commons License
The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

Getting Over (Really) Big Mistakes

Archaeological evidence of Gath, from a lecture given by the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago

Archaeological evidence of Gath, from a lecture given by the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. Click to watch video.

Two years ago I regained consciousness in a hospital bed, realising that I had deeply traumatised the people I loved the most and that I had permanently messed up my life. No one was ever going to trust me the same way again. It was the most horrifying thing I had ever been through. I couldn’t make it better; I couldn’t hide what I had done wrong, as it was publicly reported. It could affect my future employment potential and could tar my reputation for a very long time.

Thankfully, we don’t all go through experiences quite as dramatic, but regardless of the comparative size of the mistake made, if it feels like a destructive disaster to you, then it’s big and somehow, you have to get past it. That is not easy, especially if it’s had a huge, negative impact on your faith, but it can be done with patience and persistence.

David made a terrible mistake before he became the King of Judah. In 1 Samuel 26:17-21 we see the toll that Saul’s relentless pursuit of David had taken.
“Saul recognized David’s voice and called out, “Is that you, my son David?”
And David replied, “Yes, my lord the king. Why are you chasing me? What have I done? What is my crime? But now let my lord the king listen to his servant. If the LORD has stirred you up against me, then let him accept my offering. But if this is simply a human scheme, then may those involved be cursed by the LORD. For they have driven me from my home, so I can no longer live among the LORD’s people, and they have said, ‘Go, worship pagan gods.’ Must I die on foreign soil, far from the presence of the LORD? Why has the king of Israel come out to search for a single flea? Why does he hunt me down like a partridge on the mountains?”
Then Saul confessed, “I have sinned. Come back home, my son, and I will no longer try to harm you, for you valued my life today. I have been a fool and very, very wrong.”

Despite Saul’s confession, he continued to deploy both his time and his army to try and kill David, his rival to the throne of Isra’el. After years of this, an exhausted David fled to the Philistine city of Gath for sanctuary, where he knew Saul wouldn’t dare to follow him.

To summarise David’s time in Gath, to survive he repeatedly lied to the King of Gath; he raided the people living between Gath and Egypt’s borders to ensure the survival and wealth of his family and his men, and in those raids he killed every man, woman and child to ensure there would be no survivors to dob him in; then he wound up being marched into battle against his own people. David had been leading a precarious double life. The Lord saved him from fighting his own kinsmen, but many scholars believe that it is at least partly because of the atrocities that David committed at this time, that he never got his heart’s desire, to build a temple to house the Ark of the Covenant.

The young David was still building his faith and learning to tame his tongue and his character. From earlier events, we’ve seen that David was a popular, charismatic leader who could talk his way out of incredibly tight situations. [Ref. 1 Samuel 24:7 and later 1 Samuel 30:6] He was also battling with keeping his temper under control and learning how to be a righteous leader. [Ref. 1 Samuel 29] The fact that he had two wives by this stage (three if you count the exiled Michal,) shows that he was already acting like a man in power and that could easily lead to corruption. Yet, God was using that tough time in exile to build dependence on Him, and to shear off rough edges which could potentially become massive stumbling blocks, had they not been dealt with.

At that time David was also surrounded by several hundred men who maybe weren’t the most godly of influences. “Then others began coming; men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented, until David was the captain of about 400 men.” 1 Samuel 22:2 Perhaps their complaints and suggestions had contributed to him stepping away from having faith in God’s deliverance and escaping over the border?

Despite how badly he’d messed up and how tragic the consequences could have been, there is one thing which saved David from disaster: he always turned to his faith in the Lord.

We see it demonstrated in 1 Samuel 30:3-7 “When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families, they wept until they could weep no more. David’s two wives, Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel, were among those captured. David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the LORD his God. Then he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring me the ephod!” So Abiathar brought it. Then David asked the LORD, “Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?” And the LORD told him, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!”

ichthus_pencGGThis faith always stayed with David and is what kept him from becoming an unrighteous, power-crazed mess as a King, throughout the rest of his life. During the time he was in Gath, his faith would have been pushed to its limits, as the Israelites believed that if they were outside of the borders of their country, God could not reach them. As the Scripture above demonstrates, David believed that within Philistine territory, they were estranged from His delivering power. That a man of God was willing to take that risk and move to Gath shows his desperation. David’s mind must have been blown when he discovered that it didn’t matter where he was, or what he’d done, God was with him! It defied everything he’d been taught and must have been a joyful, humbling realisation.

There are two lessons from David’s experience which can help us get through the gigantic mistakes we’ve made in our own lives, regardless of how great the mess is. The first is get back to the basics of your faith. Get back to prayer, studying the Word of God and asking for help and obeying His lead. You don’t need to engage in any fancy acts of faith, pushing yourself into deeper waters than you feel you can swim in; just get back to a child-like dependence on Him, where you are secure and allow God to build you up again over time.

The second is, listen to the council of righteous people. David had the son of Isra’el’s high priest with him. Abiathar must have been an encouragement and support. In times of great need, we need to be around other Christians with strong faith, who will pray and help us find out how the Word of God applies to our life. The answers are not found in the bottom of a bottle, self-pity or escapism. Spending hours online or watching television won’t assist us: we need good, solid, reliable input from the Christians in our lives that we know have also gone through hard times and overcome them. Saul had killed Abiathar’s family, so he was in the same precarious boat as David; but he still had the Ephod the priests wore; he hadn’t thrown away his faith either.

David got through this trial and more, and in his old age, wanted to keep exhorting the next generation of young people to serve God. In Psalm 71, even as a King, his enemies are still after him, wanting his power, but despite a life of hardship, in verses 7 and 8, David says this:
“My life is an example to many,
because You have been my strength and protection.
That is why I can never stop praising You;
I declare Your glory all day long.”

Life can be a very long haul, filled with many trials and heartaches, but there will also be many occasions of victory and praise. I encourage you, whatever you are going through, to hold onto your faith, even when you’re in a place where you’re sure God can’t reach you. He will push through; just go back to the basics and pray study and praise your way through. You’ll be stunned at what His faithfulness will deliver for you.

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The image at the top of the post is a screenshot from this lecture on the Philistine city of Gath: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAZPJRtdjmk
Aren Maeir | New Light on the Biblical Philistines: Recent Study on the Frenemies of Ancient Israel
This is owned by the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago


 

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

How We Can Use Goliath’s Sword

7076543_m“Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts. Perhaps the fear of a loss of power.” John Steinbeck

It is easier to rule by intimidation and violence, than by humility and faith. Yet, despite many threats to David’s life and kingship, he never turned into an aggression-driven tyrant. David’s attitude was this:
“I wait quietly before God,
for my victory comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken.
So many enemies against one man—
all of them trying to kill me.” Psalm 62:1-3a

However, this lesson in trust was not learned early. It only became a life choice of David’s after Saul’s initial attempts to kill him. Like all of us, David resorted to fleshly methods of coping first, then developed a greater faith the hard way.

When Saul fully gave full vent to his jealousy and paranoia about David, David fled first to the prophet Samuel, seeking refuge and guidance. Word of David’s location reached Saul, and after miraculous deliverance, David had to run again. He sought out Jonathan for answers and when Jonathan confirmed Saul’s determination to see David dead, he again fled and did something that an older David would find unpalatable. [Full story refs: 1 Samuel 19-21]

Firstly, he lied to the high priest who looked after the Tabernacle. David obtained holy bread which he had no right to touch. Secondly, he headed straight for a weapon: he demanded the return of Goliath’s sword from the priest. “There is nothing like it!” David replied. “Give it to me!” [Ref: 1 Samuel 21:9b] That is a very emphatic request. There is nothing faith-reliant, or humble about it, and I suspect that the main reason that David went to the Tabernacle, is neither for bread or spiritual guidance, (he’d already met with Samuel), but to get that sword. (See an in-depth analysis in the footnotes.)

That doesn’t sound like David. What happened to:
“But when I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
I praise God for what He has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4/11

It wasn’t built into him yet.

David should have been in trouble with the Lord for taking the bread and possibly, also for taking the sword, however, the grace of God intervenes in this part of his story. The Lord uses this awful incident to help David survive to become King. God allowed David both the bread and the sword without penalty, as he and his men had to eat, and David would have to defend himself from many threats in the wilderness, he’d face in the years to come. As the sword and bread was God’s, it was also His to give and use as He desired. [Ref: 1 Samuel 21]

I am basing this on Jesus’ own discussion of this issue in Mark 2:25-26 “He [Jesus] answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (The Law helps people, people aren’t to be enslaved by it.)

God provided, regardless of His Law.

So now we have a terrified David. He runs for safety to Gath, a *large Philistine city, close to the borders of Judah, where Saul and his men won’t follow; but he is recognised and has to retreat yet again. To run to an enemy you have repeatedly fought against is an incredibly desperate, fear-fuelled act. It says a great deal about David’s frame of mind.

To escape the wrath of Saul, David’s family also has had to abandon their property and livelihood, and join David in hiding. He gets his ageing parents to safety through the family’s **ties in Moab, and he is left in mortal danger, with only a group of fellow renegades, his brothers and… Goliath’s sword.

Put yourself in David’s shoes. Everything has blown up out of control and rectifying it is far beyond his control. David probably knew why Saul had turned on him and feels acutely persecuted. He has never tried to seize power from Saul and is blameless, homeless and grieving his separation from his wife, Michal, (who he must have been worried about, knowing Saul’s temper, and because she’d risked her life to save him.) A significant number of innocent people are dead or suffering, and it’s all because of him. All David has is his faith and that sword. Symbolically, what would this sword have meant to David?

This treasure had to be a symbol of hope and encouragement. It would represent:
1. God’s proven intention to deliver Isra’el from her enemies, and maybe David from his;
2. it was a sign of God’s favour and honour on David’s life;
3. it was a promise of Kingship to come, as it was a king’s grade weapon; and
4. it was a means of violent defence.

With David’s full history in mind, Goliath’s sword teaches me two lessons that I can apply to my own life.

4114180_s1. Remember what God has done in our lives.
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Deuteronomy 4:9

This is a traditional approach set down first by Moses, then repeated by the Psalmist, Asaph, as he reminds the people of his era to remember God’s deeds in Psalm 78. David does this also, in obedience to Moses, in Psalms such as Psalm 66. A publicly sung Psalm would enable the goodness of God to become a testimony and source of empowerment to everyone who heard it.

“Come and see what our God has done,
what awesome miracles He performs for people!
He made a dry path through the Red Sea,
and His people went across on foot.
There we rejoiced in Him.
For by His great power He rules forever.
He watches every movement of the nations;
let no rebel rise in defiance.” Psalm 66:5-7

Whatever the Lord has done in your life, keep it by your side, like a sword, as a reminder of God’s provision and love for you. Write it down, or keep a souvenir, so you remember that testimony. It will help you in the future.

2. When desperate or hurting, never let your actions be tinged with regret
David’s visit to the priests at Nob had catastrophic consequences. They were killed by Saul for helping, which devastated David. As long as he carried Goliath’s sword, as useful and encouraging as that symbol would have been, he would also be carrying a reminder of those deaths, his lies and his lack of faith. It is possible that this tragedy is part of what taught David to look for the Lord for deliverance, rather than first reaching for a weapon to defend himself with.

In all things, no matter how stressed we are, it’s far better to act in the best character we can muster, so we don’t look back with regret, or weep over the bridges we have burnt behind us. Don’t become aggressive when you’re backed into corners; whether that’s through words you will later regret, bitterness, or any action that is unrighteous.

It’s easy to grasp any tool to make yourself feel safer in a time of desperation, just slow down and try and ensure that you’re reaching for the right one.

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FOOTNOTES:
Please see “By Heart or By Sword” for further explanation on David not using violence for deliverance. http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32075

* This is based on recent archaeological findings. Gath is thought to have been around eight times larger than David’s Jerusalem, and would have been a logical hiding place.

** David’s family ties were via his grandmother, Ruth, from the book of Ruth.
To understand this part of David’s story properly, you need to understand the circumstances surrounding the sword. For example, why wasn’t it with David in the first place? As part of the spoils of war, Goliath’s sword was rightfully David’s and Saul did not take it as his own. Goliath’s sword was a huge, heavy piece of iron, in days when apart from King Saul and his Crown Prince, Jonathan, no one throughout Isra’el had iron weapons at all. [Ref: 1 Samuel 13:19-22 ] Even though David had headed Saul’s army, maybe he wasn’t entitled to carry a weapon of such a high calibre? That privilege may only have belonged to the King, and David was a humble servant, who would not have kept a better weapon for himself, than the King had.

As the sword was located in a sacred place, behind the ephod in the Tabernacle where God was worshipped, I wonder if David had surrendered it to the Lord as an offering? It was his first victory and it appears that he knew where the sword was. The location of the sword would not have kept it safe from raiding Philistines, so if it was an offering, did David have the right to take it back? Especially as at the same time, David was also given the holy bread that had sat in the Tabernacle as an offering to the Lord, and was strictly only for the priests consumption, under the Laws God gave the people through Moses. The bread was to help feed the priests. Taking that bread, was like taking part of someone’s wages and should not have happened. This is complex and I don’t have all the answers. I have studied and debated this long and hard and this is the best I can figure out. I could be completely off track. What do you think?

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The Spiritually Mature David’s Attitude to Deliverance:

“Be still in the presence of the LORD,
and wait patiently for Him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes.
Stop being angry!
Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed,
but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.” Psalm 37:7-9

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honour come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him,
for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:5-8 (Cross reference Psalm 131:2)

“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 16:5-8

Article source for these Scriptures: The Anti-King: David and Humility
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33025


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