Heartache and Worship

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), May 10

imagesSeventy-five of the Psalms are attributed to David (seventy-three have his signature; Jesus attributes Psalm 2 to him, while the author of Hebrews attributes Psalm 95 to him). One-third of these flow from the days of his conflict with his son Absalom. David’s greatest worship flows out of a heart broken by the grief of betrayal and loss.

Betrayal and loss cause deep pain, and out of the cocoon of pain either bitterness or worship emerges. Sorrow demands the appropriation of God’s presence and the recognition of His greatness. Worship rescues David from losing both his kingdom and his mind.

David’s life follows a trajectory of worship:

  • Worship during his childhood prepares David to embrace years of running from King Saul.
  • Worship positions David to embrace the throne of Israel when the time arrives.
  • Worship equips David to repent following his grievous sin against the Lord (adultery and cover-up).
  • Worship constructs a heart that enables David to endure the betrayal of his son, Absalom.
  • Worship trains David to break through the despair that accompanies tremendous loss.

During this painful period in David’s life he pens words of desperate hunger for God:

  • Psalm 5:1-2 – “Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry.”
  • Psalm 38:6-9, 15, 22 – “I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are full of inflammation, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You . . . for in You, O LORD, I hope . . . make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!”
  • Psalm 42:1 – “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”
  • Psalm 42:5, 11 – “Why are you downcast, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, for the help of His countenance . . . the help of my countenance and my God.”

Robert Browning Hamilton, a poet from a past century, captures the truth that sorrow is a great teacher:
I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.

Sorrow may not be a villain if she leads us to worship; she may be God’s goodness.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Psalm 35; Psalm 36; Psalm 37; Psalm 38):
During the majority of David’s life he dealt with adversity from opposing nations or adversity from within Israel. What do the psalms in today’s reading reveal about how David handled both sources of adversity?
David highlights the opposing forces of trusting the LORD and fretting about evil and evil doers in Psalm 37. What are the effects of both trusting and fretting? h we and you and also our little ones. I myself will be surety for him; from my had you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever” (Genesis 43:8-9).