Prescott Conference 2020
Class 1: Friday Night, September 4, 2020
Reference: “The Life of David as Reflected in the Psalms” by Alexander Maclaren, 1888.
Summary of David’s life and the psalms that garnished it.
First, why did God give us David’s life in so much detail compared to others? God could have recorded anything He wanted in the scripture, but He highlights certain people. David is highlighted and is arguably, of all the OT people, the greatest type of Christ.
The things in the OT were written, or recorded, for our instruction.
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
David is a type of Christ, and it is Christ who all believers are called to be in image. David was Israel’s greatest king outside of Christ. All believers are called to reign in this life.
For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
We are to reign in life through the Person and power of Christ. When David was anointed king by Samuel at a young age (teenager), when he returned to his flocks in the wilderness, he marveled at God’s calling of him.
When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers,
The moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained;
4 What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him?
And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him?
5 Yet Thou hast made him a little lower than God,
And dost crown him with glory and majesty!
6 Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands;
Thou hast put all things under his feet,
David marveled that the God who made the heavens that he considered each night would even think of him, let alone promote him to something so advanced as king. All believers in this age have been promoted or called to reign in life, elected to the level of holiness, made righteous, justified, and given the life of Christ to live. It’s not that God needed help, or needed others to do work, or needed anything at all, and still He called us to glory and majesty.
"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His offspring.'”
So, we are given an account of David’s life in some detail after he was anointed by Samuel.
David was anointed king as a young man and long before he could take the throne. All of us are called to reign in life long before we are mature enough to do so.
He reigned as king for 40 years, and was anointed many years before his promotion. His weighty sins were committed after he had comfortably sat on that throne for years, and this in another major lesson for the book that will be our own lives, his sin ruined his enjoyment of his position and robbed him of the vigor and energy he once had. He was able only to get some of it back. It is a warning from God to us all.
David’s failures are not related to us so that we can condone our own, but simply because failure is a part of being human, even a born-again human.
David would learn, as we all have to, that goodness comes from God alone, and that righteous kingdoms can only be established by Him.
He would learn that he wasn’t up to the task of walking in righteousness all the time. He would learn that he was weak, and he would also learn that God would strengthen and protect him. David couldn’t be the true king, and neither can any of us, but he could be one who sought the true king with all his heart, and all of us can and must do that.
His psalms marvelously reveal his mind and emotions as he experienced certain important periods of his life. The periods we know the least about are his very young and his very old. It’s almost as if they don’t matter as much as the middle of the race. There are no psalms of his childhood and perhaps only one of his old age. There are many from his anointing to his second exile. During these periods he holds nothing back. He doesn’t write his poetry for the impression of others or to sell books. He writes as if he has to. His wisdom, experiences, and the emotions they stirred couldn’t remain within him. They had to be released, and we are blessed to have them. They should be read again and again. They apply to different aspects of life as we walk with God.
Early Days:Psa 8, 19, 29, and possibly 23.
First we will look at his youth. There are several psalms from this period. They are lofty, filled with references to nature as depicting the splendor of God, the power of God, the blessings from God to man, as well as the importance of God’s Law (Psa 19). All of David’s references to nature have nothing to do with attempting impressive pictures, emotions, or even science; rather they are all used as depicting some aspect of God’s nature.
David sees God as majestic, and through his keen eye, he sees God’s Person and work in the natural world around him.
He was not from a wealthy family. His family had no regard for him. When Samuel came to anoint him, even in his father’s mind, he was an afterthought. He was the youngest and his brothers had no love for him. Such an environment sours and spoils some, but it is the making of others. He watched his father’s sheep with a deep sense of responsibility.
We have only faint incidental traces of his early life up to his anointing by Samuel.
David’s story really begins with his consecration to office. It teaches us the point of view from which the scripture regards its greatest names - as nothing, except in so far as they are God’s instruments.
Solitude and exposure to nature were fertile soil to his poetic nature, and nurtured that side of his character. The anointing by Samuel bursts in upon his life like a storm. And David returned to his flocks for some time, but now with the knowledge of his anointing and the Holy Spirit upon him mightily. He continues his responsibility as a shepherd, unspoiled. He does not see his task as too menial for someone anointed as he was. He remains vigilant.
However, there is a discovery of dormant evils within himself. It is the discovery of every young man, and most especially in the young man who knows the law of God.
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "You shall not covet." 8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 9 And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died;
In his youth he was a lad with lofty thoughts and lowly duties. His anointing did not stir up pride in visions of coming greatness. He seems a boy lying in God’s arms, content to be folded in God’s embrace, tranquil in his lowly lot.
David is then asked to go to the court of king Saul in order to soothe the dark spirit of the king with his harp. Not long after, he returned to his flocks, but then faced and bested the giant Goliath. He was then made a captain over Saul’s men of war and gained fame in battle among the court and among the people.
The transition from a tranquil life among sheep to the harsh world of intrigue, greed, pride, and lust. He cannot remain beholding nature and filling his thoughts with the revelation of God. He cannot remain hidden away from the fallen, sinful, evil world of men with his “few little sheep.” Neither can we hide ourselves away from dark world of sin and evil. We are to be lights in that world as our Lord was.
All that David knows of God will have to be tested. This is true of all of us. We cannot remain in a state of knowing, admiring, and being in awe of God’s promises. Those promises have to be tested. It is one thing to admire God’s power and quite another to be forced to depend upon it. It’s one thing to love God’s law, but another to obey commands when it is difficult to do so. It is one thing to know that God will care for you, it is another to put your faith completely in His providence when you have nothing. Will David hold on to his youthful love of God when it seems that he’ll never be king and he seems completely abandoned in the wilderness?
The Exile: Psalms 52, 54, 56, 57, and 59 have titles referring to the Sauline persecution. Besides these there are others that have marked characteristics in common (7, 17, 22, 31, 34, 35).