Tehilim is the Hebrew word for Psalms which means “Praises or Hymns.” Here, treasures are hidden in plain sight. The wonder and mystery of this book is that when life is pressing in around us, we can grab our bucket in childlike faith, take off our shoes, and run into this river of Praise. It is our safe place. These treasures come from my own bucket and the discourse that often follows my coffee time with the Lord.
Psalm 1:1&2, Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law does he meditate both day and night.
I knew a man who read his Bible so much that it frustrated his wife. He wasn’t big on personality and he wasn't what you might call handsome. She was opposite him in almost every way. One day, she showed me her stack of pornographic magazines and erotic love stories hidden beneath the bed. She told me that he had no idea she read these books, but she did it to keep spice in their life. I didn't know how to process the information. I was young, newly married and naïve to such things. Still, as much as I couldn't understand her twisted morals, I couldn't comprehend his gentle love for the word, either. Though I was a believer, I didn’t like reading my Bible. It was a boring book!
Of all the stories we have heard about the Psalmist, David, the one that intrigues me most is the one we haven't been told. It is the story of how he was shaped into the young man who didn't fear the lion, the bear, the giant, an army of angry Philistines, or even a king. Although, we are left with far more gaps than content on that topic, here are a few things we do know:
What this mistranslation has created is a clear misunderstanding of what is actually being said in many scriptures. For instance, in this Psalm David is not extolling his love for the “law” as we think of the Law of God; i.e., rules of obedience. Do's & don'ts. Rather, he loves discovering who God is and how much He Loves people; an understanding that breathes life into his otherwise unbearable existence.
What an important difference.
Because David's father was a member of the Sanhedrin, we can be confident that he grew up with access to the Torah. There wasn't a great deal of written word at that time. At least, not what you and I enjoy today. Genesis through Deuteronomy were complete and Joshua was surely written history as well as portions of Judges. His own grandmother was the book of Ruth and we can assume he had a firsthand account of that beautiful, albeit, unusual story.
What is particularly interesting, however, is that David would have enjoyed books that you and I find boring today. Books such as Leviticus and Numbers would have held great meaning to him.
We have lost much in translation, or mistranslation. For instance, in Leviticus 14 we read tedious rules about how a leper is to be cleansed of his leprosy. However, if you were a Hebrew in David’s day this chapter held a deeper, richer meaning. **This is because the Hebrew word for leper, M'tsora is pronounced the same as two words, M'tso ra. The two words mean 'finding evil' so from the earliest days the Jewish people knew that this was a reference to gossip and slander. The entire portion in Leviticus 14 on cleansing the leper actually relates to gossip and slander! Read back through the Psalms and note how many of them are prayers about gossip and slander. David was a man who understood war.
Imagine being able to read even the most detailed legal document and relate it to your everyday life. The Torah was a guide to living. David was not reading a set of rules. He was reading transformational information from his Creator; information that explained who he was and why he was here. David grew in favor because he was teachable.
Spiritual growth will never come from duty. It is born out of Love.
My friend was several years older than me and brought up her magazines every time we were alone. “Just read one. They’ll keep your love exciting,” she said. I was curious, so I finally took one of her magazines home. I found it strangely stimulating and began to feel myself being pulled in a direction I did not want to go. Conviction rose up within me and I asked the Lord to forgive me for my curiosity. We moved away and I lost contact, but getting rid of the seeds that had been planted wasn’t so easy.
Psalm 119:136, Rivers of waters run down my eyes because they do not keep Your Torah (Teachings).
A few years later, I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit. Though I had been a zealous believer from childhood, I had an intense hunger to know Him intimately. If I could not step from religion into relationship, I was going to quit church altogether. The change in my life was dramatic. Two things took me completely by surprise. The first was Love. An overwhelming Love for others transformed my perspective and the second was a love for the Bible. This book, which had always been so boring, became the most exciting thing I had ever read. Like her husband, the quiet, misunderstood man, I suddenly couldn't get enough.
What rules could never do; the Holy Spirit did in one moment.
Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path, Psalm 119:105. Everything David did was guided and directed by the Torah. He saw God in everything. When he sinned, he humbled himself and brought his life back into alignment with the Torah.
I know people with personalities that cause them to appear humble; at least by our standards of what we think humility is. Humility isn't a personality. It isn't a way we act. Humility is how quickly we bring ourselves into alignment with the Truth.
David was a perfect illustration of humility for humility and love of the truth cannot be separated.
Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
David was famous for many things, but the most important is being a man after God's heart.
Acts 13:22, After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'
I remember when I first met Chuck and Carmella Stevens. They hadn't been saved long, but they stood out. There was a fire in them. They either didn't care, or didn't notice the political diversions going on around them. They seldom came to church alone and often brought some stranger they had just met.
My fire was getting low. I had been a widow just over a year and depression was threatening to be a constant companion. “Throw in the towel. You will never have a legacy to leave behind for your children. Pack up your dreams,” the enemy whispered constantly.
When they first met Christ, He lifted Chuck and Carmella out of a life of drugs and notorious living. They fell passionately in love with Him and didn't care who knew it. When we met, they loaded me down with CD's, books, and DVD's. I began to listen to men and women I had never heard of before. They are all famous speakers today, but at the time I had no idea where to go for a powerful, soul-piercing word from the Lord. With each message, the fire in my heart began to stir and before long, the flame of purpose was rising again. I jokingly called them my “dealers” and whenever I would run out of CD's they would “hook me up” with more anointed teaching. They brought me back to life.
Norman Grubb says, “What I take, takes me.” Satan knows how we were created. We are vessels. Containers. What goes in is what comes out. Whatever we read, whatever conversations we listen to, whatever we watch on television, that is what will flow out of our mouths and exude from our persona. It just does. If we spend time in God’s word, if we talk with Him, if we listen to anointed teaching and preaching, if we enter into anointed worship, we will become carriers of His presence. Truth will become our reality and what is real in heaven will become real on earth.
David delighted in the Torah (Teaching) of the LORD and meditated on His Torah (Teaching) day and night. The Torah, the teaching of the Lord was David’s everyday reality.
Like Chuck and Carmella, David was highly underrated. At family gatherings, he was the one voted most likely to follow in great-great grandfather Nahshon's footsteps. Even his own father would not acknowledge him. Not only were the circumstances of his conception questioned, but the problem of his ancestry lingered. To many, his perfect bloodline had been tainted by the Moabitess, Ruth. Even though his brothers came from the same lineage, in their eyes David was much lower. They flexed their muscles and exercised their superiority by forcing him to serve them. At least, they seemed to think, we are better than David.
Love has no regard for titles.
Not only was David underestimated by his family, but by the leaders who sat at the city gates. In fact, according to Psalm 69:13, they spoke against him. There is something about a leader drawing back the bow of his tongue and aiming his words against you. A leader can influence a lot of people. It is a whole other level of spiritual warfare. David understood this kind of warfare. He also knew how to humble himself and pray for those who despitefully used him. This is the path into a greater baptism of Love. Despite numerous opportunities to do so, David refused to lift his tongue or his bow against Saul in retribution.
David was misunderstood, but family and leaders weren't the only ones who hated him. Even winos thought they were better than him! That's right. And you thought you had it bad! Psalm 69:13 says they made up songs about David and sang them when they were drunk. He was the brunt of the joke and not endearingly. He was shunned by the people in the town, but was the first to be accused if something turned up lost or stolen. Psalm 69:4, I am forced to repay what I did not steal.
Have you ever jumped to a conclusion? I have. Which is why I can say that even if you found out you were right in your assumption, somewhere deep inside, you knew you were wrong in taking the leap. Holy Spirit never partners with accusation.
These few facts about David's life tell us that he had every reason to hate the Torah, but it was his love for it that changed his life. David didn’t just say he loved the Torah, he practiced it. The teachings of the Lord worked!
David's obedience to the teachings of the LORD transformed him. He faced rejection with humility and God promoted him for it! His love for Torah gave him the humility to face ridicule and blame. Despite his family’s scorn, he became a trustworthy guardian of the family's prosperity. Though no one gave him credit, he faithfully watched over the sheep despite the danger and the challenges. His obedience in the little things changed his life.
Under God’s watchful eye David went from a lowly, rejected shepherd boy to the most prominent, esteemed king in all of history.
I lost touch with the couple who had influenced my life early on in my marriage. Many years later, I was told that the wife had died at a very young age. Sadly, she had developed a disease normally associated with the elderly. Long before it took her body, it destroyed her mind.
Psalm 119:165, Great peace have those who love Your Torah (Teaching): and they shall have no stumbling.
She lost her ability to recognize people and surroundings, even her husband. Still, he loved her, faithfully. As long as it was possible, he provided around the clock care so that she could remain in their home. Together… with him.
Psalm 23:4, Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
When her condition deteriorated to such a place that he could no longer care for her, he placed her in a nursing facility where he brought her flowers and visited her every single day.
Psalm 61:3, When my heart is overwhelmed I shall cry to You from the end of the earth: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.
Until the day she died.
I weep with sorrow; encourage me by Your word, Psalm 119:28.
Possibly one of the greatest Psalms ever written and one of the best windows into David's soul has to be Psalm 139. I wish I could post the entire song here, but I will only add his final words. Verses 23&24: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Sitting on the backside of the desert mountain, reflecting on the teachings of the Torah as he had heard them from his childhood, singing songs of worship to the One who had chosen him despite the circumstances of his birth or his questionable pedigree, David grew into a man and God noticed.
* Nitzevet, Mother of David, by Chana Weisberg
**One New Man Bible, Revealing Jewish Roots and Power
Copyright 2011 by Rev. William J Morford
True Potential Publishing, Inc.
Scriptures taken from: NIV, ONMB, NLT