(January 14, 2020) Brian Bell reflects on David’s life experiences…
Although I try not to give too much attention to it, it occurs at the same time every year, on January 1 – my birthday – New Year’s Day; it’s one of those more memorable dates in our calendar.
This birthday I was reminded of Psalm 37:25 where David says, ‘I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.’
The Message puts it this way: ‘I once was young, now I’m a greybeard – not once have I seen an abandoned believer, or his kids out roaming the streets.’
While I’m sure this verse wasn’t related to David’s birthday, he reflects on his past: ‘I have been young’ but also on his present ‘…now I am old.’
David’s life experiences – four snapshots
Irrespective of the age range of those who read this little meditation, whether we class ourselves as ‘young’ or ‘old’, at the most basic level this verse speaks to me about David’s experience of life. It’s in the natural progress of life from birth to its end that we too acquire experience.
Here are four ‘snapshots’ from David’s life experience –
1. Time as a shepherd –
Spent in the hills around Bethlehem and I believe most likely the time when he formed an intimate relationship with the Lord; when he composed many of his ‘songs’ or ‘psalms’ as we know them.
2. Triumph over Goliath –
The formidable, strutting, arrogant giant defied not only the king and army of Israel but their God; who could deny that David’s faithful stand as a child of God led him to denounce Goliath, defeat Goliath and brought a God given victory.
3. Tried by Saul’s pursuit –
Wandering through the deserted and lonely mountains, even taking refuge with the Philistines as he sought to evade capture and potential death at the hand of Saul this was indeed a difficult time in David’s experience of life; yet God also used it to good effect.
4. Tragedy of his sin with Bathsheba –
Even the man after God’s own heart fell afoul of his sinful nature; dragging him into adultery, murder and the other consequences which followed.
For all of us, our specific and individual experience of life will vary, yet in general, life experiences are common. Like David we may recall times…
– of close fellowship and intimacy with the Lord;
– when our faith brought us a ‘victory’ an overcoming experience;
– of difficulty not of our own making and perhaps
– when we too were overcome by some sinful experience or failing.
Let’s be encouraged because, while at times our life experience may give us little cause to feel hopeful, our God is with us!
David’s life experiences – faith and trust in God
There is another little thought in this verse – David’s experience of the Lord is an experience of faith and I suggest three ways in which faith in God is expressed in verse 25. David had proved that he trusted…
1. A God who pardons –
As quoted here, scripture uses the word ‘righteous’ some versions use the word ‘godly’ but as I understand the context it is not about ‘self-righteousness’ or our efforts to live a godly life, because in Psalm 51 we read of David’s confession, repentance, cleansing and restoration which relied only on the mercy and grace of God.
And that is our position today, because all have sinned and fall short of God’s standard (Romans 3:23) – but in Jesus God reconciled us to himself, we can too can know pardon (Romans 5:10).
2. A God who is present –
We can draw this from the words ‘…not forsaken…’ A reading of the psalms will help us to understand there were times when David felt forsaken, when he expressed despair, even being overwhelmed.
I believe there is an important lesson here because to ‘feel’ forsaken is an emotion the enemy of souls may use against us but God is never more than a prayer away from his child and here is verse 25 David’s testimony reflects his experience of a God who does not forsake his children.
3. A God who provides –
‘…nor his seed begging bread…’ speaks to me about a God who meets needs.
For those of us who are married and have raised our own children and may now be helping to raise our grandchildren, you will perhaps have known times when you wondered if you would be able to ‘make ends meet.’ And yet, like David, as you look back you can see how God provided in practical ways.
Moving ahead in 2020 with faith in God
As we move through the early weeks of this year, where does your experience of life find you? Do you find yourself in ‘triumph’ as David did in his encounter with Goliath or are you still going through an experience which like David has ‘tried’ you?
If so, let’s…
- Praise the Lord that whatever our experience of life may be over the last year (or even years), we can be encouraged – even though it is not all is well with the world and all may not be well with our lives.
- Be encouraged by a God who cares about the details of our lives – (and, incidentally, cares for all – Christian and non-Christian – whose lives have been recently devastated by an atrocity, natural disaster, tragedy or loss such as in the current Australian bushfires).
- Move ahead in 2020 exercising faith in Jesus Christ, trusting and believing that God will pardon, will be present with us, and will provide!
And in doing so, may they know that as Horatio Spafford writes in his Spirit-inspired song, ‘Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to know it is well, it is well, with my soul.’
Brian Bell is a diaconate member, Christ Church (Congregational) Abbots Cross, Northern Ireland, and a volunteer with Disabled Christians Fellowship Ireland. He describes himself as ‘grateful for the privilege and opportunity given me to serve my Lord.’ Link: firstname.lastname@example.org