‘This is your life’ was a very long-running TV series with a highly successful and popular format: the presenter would ‘ambush’ a famous (or not-so-famous) person, and run through their life story, reminding them of significant moments and confronting them with people from their past.
King David would have been a fascinating subject for such an exercise, even though so many key figures from his youth who had inspired and helped him (such as Samuel and Jonathan) were dead by the time he became king. But David himself, looking back over his astoundingly successful career, declared that only one person was of any real importance – and that person was Yahweh, his God. In every difficult situation, he had sought help from God – and God had never let him down.
“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (verse 2)
David had taken refuge in many different rocks and strongholds when pursued by Saul; but all were symbolic of the One who was his true Refuge. There were many times when his situation was so desperate, and his need so great, that only God could help him (verses 4-6). He had felt like a drowning man pulled from the water just as he was about to sink under (verse 16). But he had survived – and he gave thanks to God for each occasion of deliverance.
Even though David was a gifted military commander, he gave all the credit for his victories to God – for he recognised that all his abilities were gifts from God, and that his achievements would have been impossible without God’s help. His triumphs (over seemingly impossible odds) were, in reality, God’s triumphs (verses 32-39).
Now no-one can presume upon God’s love and protection. But He does care for those who love Him and acknowledge Him in their daily lives. David’s supreme desire was to do God’s will (and at this stage of his life he had, by and large, succeeded). He was not interested in a mere appearance of goodness either, but strove to keep his conscience clear in God’s eyes. He did not yet know that his own character was flawed (his adultery with Bathsheba was still in the future); but he did know that, because he was committed to God’s ways, he could be confident that God was on his side (verses 20-27).
We know that our God lives, because He is at work in our lives. I am no David, but my own very ordinary life is what it is because of what God has been doing. His watchful care and healing power have preserved me through danger and sickness. It would also be true to say that He has often used other human beings to influence and direct me. I am grateful for many individuals whom God has sent into my life: Christian friends and mentors, a good Christian husband, our wonderful daughter…
“Therefore I will praise You, LORD, among the nations;
I will sing the praises of Your name.” (verse 49)