Abraham to David
Wrath, Intercession, & Divine Repentance
Most of these intercessory appeals hope to see the revival of the glory of God demonstrated in the Exodus Generation; and, when thinking of the Exodus Generation, most are brought to consider the significance of the Mosaic Covenant. To better understand the prayers of these intercessory psalms, it is important to remember why God decided to save the Exodus Generation in the first place. This brings our attention to the Abrahamic Covenant.
The Abrahamic Covenant | The Salvation of the Exodus Generation: Spoken to Abraham: Gen. 15:13-16, 18-21; Remembered: Ex. 2:24, 3:8; the Word: Ex. 3:17; the Promise: Ex. 12:25; the Oath: Ex. 13:5, 13:11; Sonship: Hos. 11:1; the Church: Acts 7:38, Ex. 19:17, Amos 4:12, Ex. 6:7-8 (2 Cor. 6:16), Ex. 19:4-5 (1 Pet. 2:9), Ps. 114:1-7, Ps. 68:15-20 (Eph. 4:8); Belief: Ex. 4:29-31, 12:23-28; Note: those things called “the Gospel” are those which are explicitly named in identification with Christ in the New Testament. Faith in Passover (the Gospel of Sacrifice): Ex. 12:23-28, Heb. 11:28, 1 Cor. 5:7; Faith in the Red Sea Crossing (the Gospel of the Spirit’s Baptism): Ex. 14:30-31, 15:1-2, 13, Ps. 106:8-12, 1 Cor. 10:1-2, Heb. 11:29; the Manna (the Gospel of the Imperishable Life of Christ): Jn. 6:32-33, 35, 1 Cor. 10:3, Neh. 9:20; Water from the Rock (the Gospel of Living Water): Ps. 78:15-16, 105:41, 107:35, Ex. 17:6, Deut. 8:15 Neh. 9:15 (Isa. 48:21, 41:18; Rev. 21:6), 1 Cor. 10:4, John 4:10, 13-14, 7:38, Jer. 2:13; Saved: Ps. 106:8, 10, Ex. 15:1-2, 13, Isa. 63:7-14, Jude 1:5; Bride/Holiness: Jer. 2:2-3; Wholly Right Seed: Jer. 1:2, 21-22, 2:21, 11:16-17; People/Portion/Inheritance/No-Strange-god: Deut. 32:7-14; Indwelt & Among-dwelt by the Spirit: Lev. 26:12, Deut. 23:14, Isa. 63:14, Hag. 2:5, 2 Cor. 6:16, 1 Cor. 10:3-4, 9, 1 Pet. 1:11; Forgiven: Num. 14:19, Ps. 78:38.
The land called, The Promised Land, was first promised to Abraham in the Abrahamic Covenant. As recorded in Genesis 15:13-21, God identified the exact generation for whom He would perform the Covenant while specifying the exact territories of land to be inhabited. This generation is the Exodus Generation. As God foretold to Abraham, so it happened – that after “four hundred years” (Gen. 15:13-16, Gal. 3:17) the LORD remembered the Covenant of Abraham and came to save the Israelites from Egyptian Captivity.
“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.” - Exo 2:23-25
“And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” - Exo 3:7-10 (1 Chron. 16:12-19)
“And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous: And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage: And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression: And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:” - Deut. 26:5-8
Statedly, as described in the language of Exodus 2:23-25, the salvation of the Exodus Generation began through a divine repentance. After 400 Years of general backsliding and rampant apostasy, which eventually compelled God to usher the Israelites into Egyptian Captivity, the LORD decided enough was enough. According to Exodus 2:23-25 & 3:7-10, the LORD was divinely motivated through the sighing, crying, and groaning of the Israelites. Thereby, He was compelled to remember and have respect unto the Abrahamic Covenant. These manifestations of the Spirit preceded the divine repentance and therethrough God ratified the Covenant. Clearly, the LORD was not minded thus for several generations because of the wickedness of the Jewish People. With this change of mind, however, and the salvation of the Exodus Generation, the Mosaic Covenant was born. According to 1 Chron. 16:15-19, this subsequent Covenant came into existence only as an extension of the Abrahamic Covenant being wrought out in time.
“Be ye mindful always of his Covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; Even of the Covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a Law, and to Israel for an Everlasting Covenant, Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance; When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it.” - 1Ch 16:15-19 (Ps. 105:8-12, 42)
However, sadly, after repeated provocations (, ), the Exodus Generation fell from grace and came short of the promises made in the Abrahamic Covenant (Broken Promise/Oath: Num. 14:34, Num. 14:30, Heb. 4:1; Principle: Ezek. 16:59, 17:18-19). No small portion of Biblical Church History tells the story, so we better not ignore it (Progressive Provocations Leading to a Reprobation: , , (); (, , ); ; ; ). Of necessity, God passed the mantle of the Abrahamic Covenant on to the next generation. The LORD was determined to continue the work of glory first begun in the Exodus Generation with their children. Therefore, even though the Exodus Generation fell, and many perished, the operation of glory did not abate nor diminish. In fact, the operation of glory was the mechanism of justice amidst the backsliders until all died out.
Remember, only those with whom God was not well-pleased perished in the wilderness (): the lustful (), the idolaters (), the fornicators (), the tempters (), the murmurers (), and such like men. The Judgments that “the Glory of God” executed by divine plagues to the vanquishing of idolaters (), complainers (), lustful men (), rebels (), proud men (), and such like, were the same judgments that were in operation from thenceforth in every generation of Israel that was keeping God’s instituted rules of holiness (this was a conditional operation of glory). In the Wilderness, only those who didn’t continue to savingly believe in God suffered death at the judgment of God (, , [see the wider context in ])! Even so, approaching the prospect of inheriting the Promised Land so as to become the Church in the Civilization, only those who were not perfect (seeking and serving God with wholeness of heart) were to be slain (they were forbidden inheritance in the Promised Land: , , , , , , ).
It was necessary for the operation of glory to slay the wicked. The necessitates an . Despite the backsliders, that’s exactly why the latter generations so frequently looked back upon the Exodus Generation & Joshua’s Generation with so much wonder and admiration (). The saints of every age coveted Church Purity (Ps. 101; Ps. 26; Ps. 139:19-22) for their hatred of sin and love for God! Thus, when they beheld the operation of glory at work in the former days, they longed that it would be revived in their days (Ps. 77)! We “Christians” of the 21st Century would do well to have such longings (1 Cor. 10:11). Truly. It is critically important that we understand this operation of glory in biblical terms: namely, why it flourished or diminished, and how each generation understood their own situation in respect to the presence or absence of the glory of God.
Truth be told, the glory of God is dangerous. The that pertain to the glory of God do convey this in the narrative of Biblical Church History. For example, the LORD hardly refrained Himself from totally annihilating the Church on several occasions. Indeed, Jehovah repented at every occasion where He thought, spoke, or moved to totally annihilate the Israelite People in the Exodus Generation (, ; ; ). Yet, the LORD wouldn’t repent of annihilating the 600,000 men of war on the Day of Provocation (Num. 14; Ps. 95; Heb. 3:1-4:11). Moses prayed for them, saying, “Return, O LORD, how long? And let it repent Thee concerning Thy servants” (Ps. 90:13), but his prayers weren’t accepted. Hereby, effectively, this whole generation was passed by and the mantle was given to their children. The glory of God was in operation the whole time, hence the onslaught of judgment in the divine upkeep of Church Purity. So, on this occasion, the LORD refused to repent of His decision to reject the Exodus Generation, but He was still minded to continue the operation of glory for the passing of the mantle to the next generation.
In a concerted effort with God to pass the mantle (1 Cor. 3:9), and to prevent the children of the Exodus Generation (Joshua’s Generation) from following in the ways of their fathers, Moses preached a collection of sermons that make up the Book of Deuteronomy. When Moses’ work was done the next generation was ready to proceed. With the anointing of Joshua to fill the room of Moses, and with a freshly catechized and thoroughly warned generation, the people were ready to go to war for the inheritance of the Promised Land. The terms and conditions of the Covenant were plainly stated. If they wanted to win the war and inherit the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant, they knew what to do (Deut. 7:12-22). All the teachings contained in the Law ( or ) were for the attainment and maintenance of Church Purity before a holy God. Therefore, all acts of immorality or unlawfulness were to be duly punished according to written. Speaking of this mandated protocol, it was written, “ must begin at the House of God” (1 Pet. 4:17). I repeat, the totality of the Law served as between God and man among the Israelite People. Things were no different when it came to the rules of warfare in Joshua’s Generation during their conquest of Canaan.
The Preincarnate Christ was the Warrior Captain of the Host (Josh. 5:13-15). The Soldiers of the Host, the Israelites, being employed to execute the judgment written (Ps. 149:6-9), were successful in war through with the Warrior Captain (“the light of Thy countenance” – Ps. 44:1-3). The divine mandate of war required the total annihilation of all the Canaanites in according to , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
By way of , wherethrough the LORD took over (to the praise of ), the Israelite Armies were undefeatable in battle against the Canaanites. At the pain of death, with the threat of immeasurable loss, the people were commanded to . Exemplifying the importance of this task, Israel’s pure and complete inheritance of is comparable to in the Gentile Church Age (Heb. 4:11). Even so, I ask, if the Israelites didn’t conquer and possess the Promised Land, what could be said of their faith? They didn’t have faith! Or, they wouldn’t for long even with small compromises (Judges 1:1-2:15)! Sadly, this is how the story ended.
Under the leadership of God through Joshua, the former generation broke the power of the Canaanite Nations. However, at the latter years of Joshua, the residue of these overwhelmingly defeated nations remained; and when due responsibility was laid upon the individual tribes to finish the work… they compromised (Joshua 13:13, 15:63, 16:10, 17:12-18, 18:3; Judges 1). Then, at the death of Joshua & the Elders (Josh. 24:31, Judges 2:7, 10), and through the people’s longstanding slackness (Josh. 18:3), Israel fell under the wrath of God (Judges 1:2-2:15). Fearfully, the next generation utterly forsook the God of Israel!
“Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies: But turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow. For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.” – Psalm 78:56-58
“And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.” - Judges 2:1-5
“They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them: But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.” – Psalm 106:34-36
The wrath of God was upon this newly arisen generation at the expiration of the former. Grievously, they forsook the LORD (Judges 2:11-15). Thus, as stated in Judges 2:1-5, the LORD was no longer willing or minded to perform the Covenant that the people forsook. In other words, this was a just cause for a divine repentance in the heart of God over this generation. Yet, neither was the LORD willing to utterly destroy the children of Israel in these subsequent generations. Instead, the LORD was going to test the Israelites to see whether they would keep the Covenant or not. According to Judges 2:16-3:4, God proved Israel by repeated chastisements and subsequent deliverances – all of which amounted to a series of minor divine repentances – until an appointed time in the future where the Covenant would be revived to flourish in a generation that was determined to keep it.
“Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so. And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not. Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua. Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan; Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof; Namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baalhermon unto the entering in of Hamath. And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.” - Judges 2:16-3:4
A series of minor divine repentances persisted from generation to generation, as recorded in the Book of Judges, until the LORD’s wrath authored greater measures of chastisement. This divine scheme was authored and ordained for the days of Eli, the High Priest, an apostate and disobedient judge who ruled in the time when God called the boy prophet, Samuel (1 Sam. 1:1-30). This divine undertaking of wrath and judgment was unprecedented: God forsook the Tabernacle at Shiloh and the glory of God departed from the coasts of Israel (1 Sam. 4-6; Ps. 78:60)! Nothing like this had ever happened before. This was a prototype of Babylon to come (Jer. 7:12-14), and it was the first instance when the glory of God departed from the Church of the Civilization (“The glory is departed from Israel” – 1 Sam. 4:21; Jer. 9:1-2). Indeed, throughout the whole duration of Judges, the glory of God was abated from a full operation of glory; but this was because God was searching for a generation that was proven sure to keep the Covenant. Then, the LORD would be pleased to establish the doctrine of the glory of God as it would thrive in the confines of a Civilization like it did in the Wilderness.
At the birth and rise of Samuel the prophet, the LORD found a man (1 Sam. 1-3; Ps. 99:6-9, Jer. 15:1); and, at the chastisement of Israel through the Philistines beginning with the desolation of Shiloh, Samuel effectively became a Tribulation Prophet (1 Sam. 4-6). After 20 years of intercession and prophetic judgment (1 Sam. 7:1-8; Jer. 15:1), lo, the LORD enabled Samuel to significantly restore Israel to the threshold of a full divine repentance that would ratify the Covenant (1 Sam. 7:9-17)! Yet, then, suddenly, the Israelites demanded that an earthly king would be set over them like the heathen! Ah, this miserable request! This halted the progress.
“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.” – Hos. 13:9-11
In requesting a King, the people rejected God as King (1 Sam. 8:1-22). Therefore, in a sovereign purpose of wrath, the LORD decided to punish the people through giving them their request (Hos. 13:9-11). This punishment was fulfilled in an era of tribulation brought about by the reign of Saul; specifically, after his reprobation (demon possession), which took place in the 2nd year of his reign (1 Sam. 9-16). Yet, the valiant effort of Samuel (who brought the people to the threshold of Covenantal Ratification) was rewarded in that he found and anointed the man (1 Sam. 16:13-14) of the choice generation that God was looking for (Ps. 24:6) – one worthy to continue the work begun by Samuel (1 Chron. 9:22) to wit, at last, the glory of Israel would be restored through a complete and unprecedented divine repentance to date.
David’s Anointing & Rise to Prominence
David’s Anointing & Saul’s Reprobation – 1 Sam. 16:13-15
David & Goliath – 1 Sam. 17:1-58; Psalm 23
“the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart” – 1 Sam. 13:14
David was a very special man. Not only because he was anointed at Saul’s reprobation (similarly to how Samuel was ordained a prophet at Eli’s reprobation), but because David rose to prominence in a spectacular fashion amidst a divine repentance in his time. David explored the frontier of glory put before him and became an embodiment of how men ought to believe and behave. Therefore, accordingly, God has put this man’s life journey on display unlike any other in Holy Scripture. In historical books and wisdom literature of the Bible, David is front and center. The historical books tell the story of every major phase of David’s life. Those six phases are, as follows: an anointing and rise to prominence, the subsequent wanderings while being chased by Saul, the following temporary rulership over Judah lasting 7 ½ years, a complete rulership over both Israel and Judah lasting 33 years, a divine chastisement via a temporary exile, and the latter years of David’s old age. In addition to the testimony of history in Scripture, another vantage point is offered in the Book of Psalms. This is what is so unprecedented about the conveyance of David’s life in the Bible! Namely, that the Spirit of Inspiration has provided the reader a two-dimensional exhibit of David’s life!
Therefore, it behooves us to search the matter out. We, the reader, need to understand the point that God is making in providing such unprecedented detail in conveying David’s life. Moreover, the storyline isn’t shallow. Spanning at least three historical books, David’s experiences were manifold! And, in the process, emotions were felt, spiritual experiences were had, prayers were made, prophetic revelations were received, and psalms were written and sung! Thanks be to God, we have the Book of Psalms! Herein, illustriously, we have an inside and very personal understanding of what David went through and how he triumphed as no other man in Biblical History. For those of us who are born into a backslidden generation (and most are!), this is a gracious act of God. The LORD is giving to redeemed mankind a divine tutorial on how to triumph amidst a divine repentance, even though one is born into a backslidden generation. Speaking of this, observe Psalm 78:59-72.
“When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel: So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men; And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand. He gave his people over also unto the sword; and was wroth with his inheritance. The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage. Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation. Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine. And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach. Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim: But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved. And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever. He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.” - Psalm 78:59-72
In the language of divine inspiration, while clearly conveying how a sudden divine repentance is the reason for everything, Psalm 78:59-72 tells the story of David’s triumph. The sudden change in the heart of God is evident. Like as one awaking out of sleep, or as one enraged, like a mighty man shouting by reason of wine, even so did the LORD repent; and, because God repented, the ministry of Samuel apprehended the man whose generation would return to God and walk before Him in an exemplary and definitively righteous fashion. Strikingly, Samuel is overlooked in Psalm 78:59-72. This is simply because Samuel’s ministry is eclipsed by David’s. For, God is exhibiting David as a Life Study to wit every following generation would discover how and why God repented.
Therefore, it is important for us to understand how the Lord was compelled to “awake” as one out of sleep (Psalm 59:4-5), as described in Psalm 78:65. For, it was at the onset of David’s tribulations, “when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him” (Ps. 59, 1 Sam. 19:11), that David uttered the prayer, “awake to help me” (Psalm 59:4-5)! Nor was this the last time that David uttered such a prayer of desperation (Ps. 35:22-24). Indeed, the Lord heard his prayer of distress and awoke to judgment, even as described by Psalm 78:65, but the heavenly vision of this divine awakening wasn’t realized immediately. Rather, it was realized progressively throughout a decade of perseverant toil and travail. Thus, God is committing to our study the progressive realization of a divine repentance that enabled the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant through the ministry of David; for, then, and only then, will we comprehend the path we need to take as we seek the fulfillment of the New Covenant according to .
The ultimate goal of our study is that we, like David, would live to see the divine repentance that is calendared at the End of the World. Therefore, firstly, as already stated, we must comprehend what aspects of the Abrahamic & Mosaic Covenants were fulfilled via the divine repentance accomplished in David’s lifetime – resulting in the Davidic Covenant – all of which serve as an example to us. However, secondarily, upon understanding what has been fulfilled, we will be enabled to extract from David’s prophecies what is unfulfilled – and, while adopting David’s violence for the realization of what was unfulfilled in his lifetime, as we look to in our lifetime, we will be poised to experience the last and final divine repentance of the Age-Ending Revival at the End of the World.
Realizing the Diving Repentance in David’s Lifetime
Saul’s Conspiracies & David’s Flight to Ramah – 1 Sam. 18:1-19:24; Psalm 59 (Al-taschith |Michtam)
Jonathan & David’s Covenant, David’s Flight to Ahimelech – 1 Sam. 20:1-21:10; Psalm 52 (Maschil)
David’s Flight from Ahimelech to Achish, the King of Gath – 1 Sam. 21:10-15; Psalm 34
David in the Cave of Adullam, a Growing Insurrection – 1 Sam. 22:1-2, 1 Chron. 12:8-18; Psalm 142 (Maschil); Note: all the Israelite Wildernesses described in 1 Sam. 21-24 are smaller parts of the Wilderness of Judah; Psalm 63
Wanderings, Talebearing of Doeg the Edomite, the Slaughtering of Nob – 1 Sam. 22:3-23; Psalm 52 (Maschil)
David Defends Keilah from the Philistines, Inquires by the Ephod, & Escapes Betrayal – 1 Sam. 23:1-13
Wanderings, the Wilderness of Ziph, the Talebearing Ziphites, David’s Escape – 1 Sam. 23:14-29; Psalm 54 (Maschil)
David’s Mercy to Saul in the Cave Engedi – 1 Sam. 24:1-22; Psalm 57 (Al-taschith | Michtam) [57 à108 à60]
The Death of Samuel – 1 Sam. 25:1
David, Nabal, & Abigail in the Wilderness of Paran – 1 Sam. 25:2-44
Talebearing Ziphites, David’s Mercy to Saul in the Trench of the Wilderness of Zin – 1 Sam. 26:1-25
David’s Backsliding & Subsequent Flight to Philistia – 1 Sam. 27:1-12; Psalm 56 (Jonath-elem-rechokim, Michtam)
The Warriors of Righteousness Joining David at Ziklag, a Growing Insurrection – 1 Chron. 12:1-7, 19-22; Ps. 39 (likely in Ziklag, 1 Sam. 27:1-12), Psalm 143 (possibly in Ziklag, Ps. 143:10)
Israel’s War with Philistia & Saul’s Bewitchment – 1 Sam. 28:1-25
David’s Inability to Fight – 1 Sam. 29:1-11, 1 Chron. 12:19
Ziklag’s Destruction & Vengeance upon the Amalekites – 1 Sam. 30:1-31
Saul’s Death – 1 Sam. 31:1-13, 1 Chron. 10:1-14
David Laments Saul & Jonathan’s Death – 2 Sam. 1:1-27
Psalm 37 (written in latter years as a testimony of God’s faithfulness in wandering years or while ruling in Judah; vs. 3, 9, 11, 16, 22, 25, 27-29, 34)
Psalms of Asaph
Psalm 75 (Al-taschith)
Demonstrably, David’s journey was long and treacherous! Yet, his passion was invigorated with prophetic experiences and glorious foresight amidst the ongoing tribulation! Can you tell? To fully understand what took place, it is important to incorporate all unmarked psalms that are contextual to the Wandering Years of David. For, through prophetic vision, David endured as one who warred a good warfare (1 Tim. 1:18). Therefore, if possible, we need to behold everything he was seeing. How else, except by prophetic vision, could David overcome the impossible odds? Or, how else could he possibly believe for victory in such circumstances? Therefore, accordingly, David’s hope grew as his prophetic vision was progressively enlarged day by day.
Surely, you have heard it said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18). Well, it was remarkably true for David! As depicted in the Psalms, David’s prophetic vision was enlarged trial by trial. This is truly a remarkable characteristic of David’s life. Namely, that God spoke to David – and kept speaking to David! This is why David said to the LORD in prayer, “Unto Thee will I cry, O LORD my Rock; be not silent to me: lest, if Thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit” (Ps. 28:1). David’s neediness in this is exemplary. You don’t see this kind of desperation and neediness among the myriads of so called “Christians” today. David understood his need to hear from God, and God understood David’s need to hear from God, but do we understand our need to realize this relationship in our own lives? If it weren’t important, the steady intercourse of David to God and God to David wouldn’t be so exhaustively recorded. It’s obvious that David needed prophetic vision, especially considering David’s hardships; but, believe it or not, we all need prophetic vision; much more, those “upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Cor. 10:11)! Fearfully, the silence of God is a dreadful indicator of certain destruction in every generation (1 Sam. 14:37, 28:6)! The same goes for our generation.
I suppose if David were here to tell the story, he would begin by pointing the reader to the Michtam (Ps. 16, 56-60) & Altaschith (Ps. 57-59, 75) Psalms. These Psalms capture the Golden Rules that David learned while in the peril of destruction. Personally, no lesson is quite as touching as the first and fundamental ones that ensure lasting triumph. I speak of the Michtam Psalms – which, being translated, are “the Golden Psalms”. In correlation, I speak of the Altaschith Psalms – which, being translated, are “the Destroy Not Psalms”. This humble man of God, David, in and of himself, felt he was just as hell-deserving as the rest. Therefore, under compulsion, he prayed for pardoning grace in the words, “Destroy Not!”, just as any other man would do. This was the first inspired outcry of the earliest psalm at the onset of David’s Wandering.
I speak of Psalm 59. It is the first and earliest psalm of David (among those that are explicitly marked in the context of Biblical History), and it is both a Michtam and an Altaschith. This indicates how the Golden Rules were acquired. Speaking volumes, both literally and figuratively, 3 out of 6 of the Michtam’s are Altaschith’s, while 3 out of 4 Altaschith’s are Michtam’s. Herein, God is sending us a message. Yet, to comprehend it, we need to understand how and in what circumstance these psalms were written, and who was with David when he wrote them. In asking the question, “who”, I think of Jeduthun the Chief Musician (Ps. 39:1, 62:1, 77:1; 1 Chron. 16:41-42, 25:1, 3, 6, 2 Chron. 5:12, 35:15), the man to whom David commits all the Michtam Psalms and 3 out of 4 of the Altaschith Psalms. Also, I think of Asaph the Chief Singer (1 Chron. 15:19, 16:5, 7, 37, 25:1-2, 6, 2 Chron. 5:12, 29:30, 35:15; Neh. 7:44, 11:22, 12:46), to whom was credited the authorship of 12 Psalms via inspiration. Or, I think of the wise men, Ethan and Heman (1 Kings 4:31, 1 Chron. 2:6, 15:19, 16:41-42, 25:1, 4-6, 2 Chron. 5:12, 29:14, 35:15; Ps. 89:1, 88:1), to whom was credited the authorship of Psalm 88 and Psalm 89 via inspiration. Surely, if such men were with David early on, they would have had no small impact upon his life. Given the circumstances, godly companions were hard to come by.
At the onset of David’s tribulations, when Saul first sought to kill him (1 Sam. 18:1-19:24), this marks the beginning of the Golden Psalms and the Destroy Not Psalms (Psalm 59). David didn’t plead with Saul for fear of being destroyed by the demoniac king. No, it wasn’t Saul that David feared! Rather, David prayed to God that he wouldn’t be destroyed at the command of God through the hand of Saul or anyone else. As recorded in Psalm 59, David’s prayers were heard (Psalm 59:4-5, 78:65); and, consequentially, the divine scheme at hand was revealed. It was shown to David that God wasn’t going to kill Saul immediately (Psalm 59:11). However, in the end, God’s Justice would prevail (Psalm 59:10, 12-13) and the desire of the righteous would be granted (Ps. 59:10, 54:7, 57:2).
Throughout all that follows, David was determined to “wait” upon God (Ps. 52:9) rather than take matters into his own hands. Even after the slaughtering of Nob, and the priesthood (1 Sam. 20:1-21:10, 22:3-23; Psalm 52), and after hardly escaping death at the hand of the King of Gath (1 Sam. 21:10-15; Psalm 34), David was still determined to wait upon God! Also, afterward, while all alone in the cave of Adullam, even then David knew that God’s Justice in the death of the wicked was inevitable (Ps. 52:5-8, 34:11-22, 63:9-11; Ps. 142)! Likewise, by way of prophecy, he knew that an insurrection of the righteous was inevitable (Ps. 142:7). Miraculously, not too long after David took the harp and prophesied, singing Psalm 142:7, David voice wasn’t alone in the choruses of worship among the caves and desert places (1 Sam. 22-1-2, 1 Chron. 12:8-18; Ps. 142:7)! Forthrightly, and continually, amidst the ongoing insurrection and thereafter (1 Sam. 21-24; 1 Chron. 12:8-18), and with any additional Levites as singers or musicians in concert, David sang a new song as he wandered the Wilderness of Judah (Psalm 63)!
Asaph and Jeduthun likely joined David during this early period of the insurrection resulting in a growing sophistication of worship before the LORD. They did so, just as Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled from Nob to David with an ephod in his hand (1 Sam. 23:6), or just as the Levites fled from their suburbs to Rehoboam as they were endangered by Jeroboam (2 Chron. 11:13-14), only Asaph and Jeduthun must have fled from other priestly or levitical cities other than Nob. Scores of Priests and Levites could have joined David at any time during the Wandering Years. In Israel, worship and warfare go together! The Priests, with trumpets in-hand, joined the mighty men on the battlefield to serve a critical purpose (Num. 10:8-9); the Singers did too, as demonstrated in the wilderness of Tekoa in the days of Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 20:21-22). All things considered, one can hardly imagine that David roamed the countryside in the toils of war without the company of such men as Asaph and Jeduthun for companions!
Why else would 5 out of 6 of the Michtam Psalms be committed to the Chief Musician, whom we know to be Jeduthun (Ps. 39:1, 62:1, 77:1), except that he was with David during the Wandering Years? In fact, David’s 3 earliest Michtam Psalms are all, statedly, “To the Chief Musician” (Ps. 59:1, 57:1, 56:1); and the same could be said about David’s 2 earliest Altaschith Psalms (Ps. 59:1, 57:1). I am of the persuasion that this indicates an early enjoinment of these holy men to David, possibly as early as the Cave of Adullam. Therefore, of the 55 Psalms committed to Jeduthun’s mastery of music, and of the 12 Psalms authored by Asaph under inspiration, a significant number are contextually implicit if not explicitly exclusive to the Wandering Years of David.
However, above all else, David needed such men as companions (“…Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers; for thy God helpeth thee.” – 1 Chron. 12:18)! Oh, what noble words must have proceeded from the mouths of such men as Asaph and Jeduthun when they, like the Gadites, joined the ranks of David’s men! Even as the gracious and timely words of Abigail went before her (1 Samuel 25:28-31), cheering David, memorializing to us the succor she must have been as David’s wife theretofore! For, according to Psalm 73, Asaph’s righteous soul was vexed by the prosperity of Saul just as David’s must have been. Not only so, but, according to Psalm 75, Asaph’s soul was knit unto David’s insomuch that he prophesied from David’s vantage point amidst the Wandering. For, in being with David, and in praying with him, how often would Asaph had heard the earnest outcries of David’s commitment and expectation, as it was written, “When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly” (Ps. 75:2). What a compelling example this must have been – in yet another Altaschith Psalm – all of which, save one (Ps. 58), were written in the early Wandering Years (Ps. 57, 59, 75), with the one exception being amidst the wandering of Exile; and, all of which, save one (Ps. 75), were written by David, with the one exception being Asaph’s psalm. Hereby, in Psalm 75, and in all such like Psalms, Asaph was compelled to capture the prayers, worship, and solemn preparations of heart exhibited by David all throughout the Wandering Years.
Also, as further divine succor, consider the profound insights of Asaph into the shortcomings of the Exodus Generation demonstrated in Psalm 77 & Psalm 81. Imagine the impact of such teachings on the beleaguered company of David who, like the Exodus Generation, endeavored the real time fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant according to the rules of the Mosaic Covenant. Apparently, Asaph was taken with the throes of a prophetic intercessor concerning these things. Being such, he was “sore” troubled and “overwhelmed” unto sleepless nights of prayer on account of the poor estate of things in his generation (Ps. 77:1-4). Why? Because, he said, “I remembered God” (Ps. 77:3), and in remembering God he was remembering the glory of God in the Exodus Generation before their fall (Ps. 77:10-20). Thus, in remembering “the years of the right hand of the Most High” (Ps. 77:10), also called, “the years of ancient times” (Ps. 77:5), he was praying that God would come and have mercy as He used to do (Ps. 119:132). In other words, Asaph was praying that God would change His mind. During the Wandering Years, Asaph didn’t realize the significance of what God was going to do with David. Nevertheless, Asaph prayed for a revival of the Glory of God to raise up shepherds in Israel like Moses and Aaron were employed of old (Ps. 77:20).
To use the language of Psalm 77:1-12, for example, such intercessors as Asaph and company perceived that God wasn’t minded to show the same favor, mercy, grace, and tender mercies as in former times. Thus, they prayed to God, “…will He be favourable no more?” (Ps. 77:7), “Is His mercy clean gone for ever?” (Ps. 77:8), “Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath He in anger shut up His tender mercies?” (Ps. 77:9), and other such like inquiries. They were beholding the absence of the favor, mercy, grace, and tender mercies of God as promised by the Covenant, thus they complained, “Doth His promise fail for evermore?” (Ps. 77:8), while praying, “Have respect unto the Covenant” (Ps. 74:20). Why would they pray such prayers except the Covenant was currently void? David, Asaph, and company were endeavoring to see the accomplishment of what “should have” been accomplished in the Exodus Generation (Ps. 81:10-16), not knowing for sure what the final outcome would be in their own generation (Amos 5:15). That’s not to say that Asaph was without assurance that God was hearing his prayers. On the contrary, he openly states that God had indeed heard his prayers in Psalm 77:1.
“I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and He gave ear unto me.” – Ps. 77:1
The effect of these divinely received prayers would not be realized for a long time. Nevertheless, upwards to around 10 years later, Asaph would come to realize all that God was hearing and intending in response to such like intercessory cries as those recorded in Psalm 77. Gloriously, the story of Asaph’s generation doesn’t end with Psalm 77! For, in coming out of the Wandering Years, David ascended the throne of Judah. Then, after another 7 ½ years of war with the House of Saul, David ascended the throne of Judah & Israel; and, at last, after David ushered the earthly throne of God (the Ark) into Jerusalem and the glory of God filled the land, David found favor with God in the making of what is now called to be the Davidic Covenant. Suffice it to say, Asaph’s prayers were answered. Therefore, he was compelled to write Psalm 78. What Asaph hoped and prayed for, as described in Psalm 77:5-20, became reality through the ministry of David. This is what Asaph is seeking to communicate in the writing of Psalm 77 and Psalm 78. This is exactly why Psalm 77:20 and Psalm 78:72 are harmonious in their testimony of God’s glory – namely, because Asaph’s prayers were heard (Ps. 77:1) and demonstrably answered (Ps. 78:65-72)!
“Thou leddest Thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” – Ps. 77:20
“He chose David also His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.” – Ps. 78:70-72
Evidently, according to the Psalms during the Wandering Years, David’s resolve and realization grew as the treacherous journey continued. He wasn’t focused on the disloyal people of Keilah (1 Sam. 23:1-13) or the talebearing Ziphites (1 Sam. 23:14-29; Psalm 54), David simply focused on the “truth” of the Abrahamic Covenant according to the rules of the Mosaic Covenant (Ps. 54:4-5). In other words, David thirsted for the “power” and “glory” of God promised in the Mosaic Covenant for the attainment of the land promised to Abraham in the Abrahamic Covenant! That, herein, because of the “truth” (Ps. 57:3), God would be “exalted” (Ps. 57:5, 11)! Therefore, no matter the treachery of mischievous peoples, or the relentlessness of bloodthirsty Saul (1 Sam. 24:1-22; Psalm 57), David’s heart was fixed upon God’s faithfulness to perform all things for him (Ps. 59:10, 54:7, 57:2).
Hereunto, in arriving at the Cave of Engedi, we have come to the birthplace of the 2nd of 6 Golden Psalms and the 2nd of 4 Destroy Not Psalms. Like Psalm 59, Psalm 57 is both Michtam and Altaschith. Furthermore, Psalm 57 is the first of three thematically correlating Psalms written in this order: Psalm 57 à Psalm 108 à Psalm 60. Psalm 60 is a triumphant psalm that characterizes the passing of a threshold of victory in the life of David, its birthplace coming from the events of 1 Chronicles 18 & 2 Samuel 8 (specifically the war-wrought victory in the valley of salt), while Psalm 108 must have been written somewhere in between Psalm 57 and Psalm 60. Also, speaking of another waymark of profound significance, this brings us to the Death of Samuel (1 Sam. 25:1).
The death of Samuel no doubt affected David. Yet, he hardly had time to mourn. David was soon distracted by another episode with Saul like in the Cave of Engedi (1 Sam. 24:1-22), only this time in the trench of the Wilderness of Zin (1 Sam. 26:1-25). Then, suddenly, and shockingly, David erroneously decided to go to Philistia for refuge (1 Sam. 27:1-12)! Here is the birthplace of another Michtam. I speak of Psalm 56. Oh, the personal anguish David endured at this erroneous flight outside of God’s perfect will! This is why the Hebrew Inscription of Psalm reads, “Jonath-elem-rechokim”, which means, “Silent Dove in Distant Places”. David wished for the wings of a dove to fly away from his troubles, as described in Psalm 55:6-8. Yet, in the act (through the supply of sovereign grace), David was compelled to faith in the “word” of God being fulfilled as promised in the Abrahamic Covenant (Ps. 56:4, 9). No matter what happened, this was David’s heart-cry: “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Thy works; I muse on the work of Thy hands” (Ps. 143:5; Ps. 119:49-56). Evidently, God is pleased with such men.
Therefore, amazingly, even though David was in Ziklag for over a year (1 Chron. 12:1-7, 19-22), a mighty host gathered thereto as the handywork of God’s Justice coming to fruition for the eventual accomplishment of all that was prophetically revealed to David (Ps. 143:11-12). Furthermore, this unlikely place is the birthplace (so it seems) of both Psalm 39 and Psalm 143. Also, other unmarked psalms that are contextual to David’s Wandering do further illuminate this phase in David’s life. With all things considered, let the reader understand: the course so far displays the handwork of God’s Justice working in correlation with David’s personal prophetic revelations of real time fulfillments to the outstanding and unfulfilled Abrahamic Covenant. Therefore, despite the exaltation of a vile man, King Saul by name (Ps. 12:8), and the wickedness on every side because of his oppressive rulership (Ps. 12:8); yea, despite the godly men of David’s generation backsliding through the abundance of flattery and pride (Ps. 12:1-4); despite Israel’s loss at war with Philistia and the death of Saul and Jonathan (1 Sam. 28:1-25, 31:1-13, 1 Chron. 10:1-14); and, despite war with the House of Saul continuing for another 7 ½ Years even while David ruled in Judah, David knew for certainty that “the LORD shall cut off all flatterinig lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things” (Ps. 12:3). Every step of progress that advanced David’s insurrection was, in reality, the arising of God to save the poor and needy according to the prophetic promise of God to David (Ps. 12:5). Why? God was determined to “keep” and “preserve” “the words” – the “pure words” – of the Abrahamic Covenant (Ps. 12:6-7).
Indeed, David was sorrowful at the plight of rampant apostasy throughout the years of wandering and beyond (Ps. 13:1-4), but despite it all he chose to trust the LORD and rejoice in the soon-to-be salvation of God’s Justice (Ps. 13:5-6). David was afflicted (Ps. 34:19), troubled (Ps. 34:6), lonely (Ps. 142:4), humiliated (Ps. 142:6), sorrowful (Ps. 13:1-4), afraid (Ps. 56:3, 64:1), overwhelmed (Ps. 61:2), and fretful (Ps. 37:1, 7), yet not for long! For, in every given circumstance, save one (1 Kings 15:4-5), the man refused to succumb to the throes of fleshly conspiracy or the swelling tide of violent men! Speaking in his own words, he said, “my heart is fixed” (Ps. 57:7-9)! This is a Golden Rule. My reader, are you fixated with the fixations of David? Can you relate to David’s testimony? In calling upon God in every episode, and resorting to praise and worship, the LORD was faithful to enlarge upon the prophetic vision every step of the way. Thus, all throughout the wandering years, David was compelled to utter the soon-to-be exaction of God’s Justice upon the proud (Ps. 12:3, 5) – yea, when David spoke, he did so conscientiously as one who heard a judicial “sentence” spoken from the mouth of the Living God (Ps. 17:2, 7, 13-15)! Literally, and figuratively, when the wicked took up swords to fight and bows to shoot at David and the growing company of righteous men among him, it was revealed to David that “God shall shoot at them with an arrow” to wit, in the end, “all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God” (Ps. 64:2-7, 9)!
Therefore, because of David’s remarkable humility, when men fought against him they were fighting against God. In other words, David disregarded all earthly rules of engagement in the art of war, except, “mine eyes are unto Thee, O GOD the Lord” (Ps. 141:8). He had no other plan but God’s plan. The people looked to David and David looked to God, singing, “I will behold Thy face in righteousness” (Ps. 17:15). David’s relationship with God was vibrantly interactive! His praying in communion with God yielded a war plan far superior to that of any contemporary general engaged in some lengthy war room discussion. Demonstrably, at every hand and against all odds, the purposes of the wicked were thwarted and their desires were unmet (Ps. 140:4, 8, 11) because, David said, “the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor” (Ps. 140:12). This is God’s Justice. Its realization may seem slow to come, but it is steadfast and up-and-coming; and, however calamitous the past, David was in communion with God at present. David’s enemies may not have known it, nor did the common people have liberty to hear it, but David looked beyond it all by way of prophecy, and said: “When their judges are overthrow in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet” (Ps. 141:6).
God’s Justice would prevail soon enough. Literally, David said, “soon” (Ps. 37:2) – which means in “a little while” (Ps. 37:10) – everything David was seeing in prophecy would be beheld by all (“thou shalt see it” - Ps. 37:17, 20, 27-29, 34)! Meanwhile, the astonished bystander would wonder how David achieved such confidence amidst so many calamities. Simply put, God was with David because David was with God! Ah, but there’s more to learn! According to the Psalms, God was determined to fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant by the rules of the Mosaic Covenant, and David came into agreement with God on the matter. Herein, David walked with God (“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” -Amos 3:3). God turned to David because David turned to God in this expressed fashion. Namely, in turning to God, David turned to the “words” of God (Ps. 12:6-7), the promised “salvation” of God (Ps. 13:5-6), the famed “lovingkindness” of God (Ps. 17:7), the renowned and glorious “work of God” (Ps. 64:9-10), the covenanted “mercy” and “truth” of God (Ps. 61:7), all of which was committed to “the congregation” of Israel (Ps. 75:2, 7) for the inheritance of the Promised Land (Ps. 37:3, 9, 11, 22, 27-29, 34). Therefore, because these things became “the cause” and unwavering “trust” of David (Ps. 140:12, 141:8), despite any lapses of faith or momentary staggering, the LORD was pleased to countenance the path and purpose of David’s “desires” amidst all the calamities that he faced (Ps. 37:4-5).
David’s Rule in Judah (7 ½ Years)
David Becomes King of Judah – 2 Sam. 2:1-7
Abner makes Ishbosheth King remaining Tribes – 2 Sam. 2:8-11
War between House of David & Saul / Joab & Abner Fighting – 2 Sam. 2:12-32
Day by Day Proving, David Increasing – 2 Sam. 3:1-6 (1 Chron. 11:10-12:40)
Abner Defects, Charity Feast with David – 2 Sam. 3:7-26
Joab Murders Abner – 2 Sam. 3:27-39
Sons of Rimmon Murder Ishbosheth – 2 Sam. 4:1-12
Unmarked Ruling in Judah Psalms
Psalm 95 [Heb. 3:9-4:11]
Psalm 108 [57 à108 à60]
Psalms of Asaph: Psalm 82
After years of wandering, warfare, and endangerment, and at last ascending the throne of Judah, David was more reflective of the past in hope for the future in the Psalms. Though war rages onward with Abner at the helm, David confesses, “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress”, while praying, “have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer” (Ps. 4:1). Israel is still full of doubters and despisers of the one and only anointed of the LORD in the land (Ps. 4:2, 6), but David isn’t losing sleep over it (Ps. 4:4, 8). That’s not to say he wasn’t exceedingly vexed and deeply concerned for the souls of Israel (Ps. 94:3-7). Only now, at having experienced the faithfulness of God theretofore (Ps. 94:17-18), he’s grown to appreciate the chastisements of God (Ps. 94:12-13). This means patience – a waiting upon God in prayer and worship. God is worth waiting for. David didn’t want to repeat the folly of the Exodus Generation, of whom it was written, “…they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp” (Num. 14:44). Contrastingly, David wanted the “rest” that they forfeited (Ps. 95, [Heb. 3:9-4:11]). Oh, how he wanted it (Ps. 108)! Therefore, David was minded to seek the Abrahamic Covenant according to the rules of the Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 40:34-38, Num. 10:33-36). Accordingly, this means that David couldn’t do anything without God. He needed God to arise for war, as Moses said, “Rise up, LORD, and let Thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Thee flee before Thee” (Num. 10:35). In pursuit of this, and under the same divine compulsion as Moses of old, David spoke of the arising of God as a central theme of the Psalms.
“Arise, O LORD” – Ps. 3:7, 7:6, 9:19, 10:12, 12:5, 17:13, 44:23, 26, 68:1, 74:22, 82:8, 102:13, 132:8
“O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself. Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.” – Ps. 94:1-2
Therefore, upon seeing the heavenly vision of God arising in answer to David’s prayers (Ps. 94:1-2, 82:1), even as God answered Moses’ prayers (Num. 10:33-36), David was compelled to rally the troops of mighty men to “rise up” in valiance against the House of Saul (“…Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” – Ps. 94:15-16). Hereby, in the ongoing war against Israel, David and company could sense the heart of God to perform the Covenant Agreement (Ps. 94:14, 20-23; Ps. 108:7-9). Despite the former generations of apostasy and the just wrath of God theretofore (Ps. 108:10-13), David and company were fixated believers in “mercy” for a complete revival of glory (Ps. 108:1-6); and, with such fixation, fascination, desperation, and love emanating from the songs written and sung by this holy company of warriors and Levites (Ps. 86:1-17), they became trophies of grace for generations to come.
David’s Rule Over Israel & Judah (33 Years)
David King over Israel – 2 Sam. 5:1-5, 1 Chron. 11:1-3, 12:23-40
David takes Jerusalem as Capital, Builds a House – 2 Sam. 5:6-15, 1 Chron. 11:4-9, 14:1-7; Psalm 30
A Catalogue of David’s Mighty Men – 1 Chron. 11:10-47, 2 Sam. 23:8-39
War with the Philistines – 2 Sam. 5:17-25, 1 Chron. 14:8-17
1st & 2nd Attempt to Bring up the Ark to Jerusalem – 2 Sam. 6:1-23, 1 Chron. 13:1-15, 15:1-16:43; 1 Chron. 16:7-36 = Psalm 105 + Psalm 96; Psalm 47 (likely written describing this event)
David’s Desire to Build the LORD a House, the Davidic Covenant – 2 Sam. 7:1-29, 1 Chron. 17:1-27; Psalm 132
David advances upon the Promised Land & Significantly Establishes the Kingdom of Israel – 2 Sam. 8:1-18, 1 Chron. 18:1-17; Psalm 60 [57 à108 à60]
David shows Kindness to the House of Saul for Jonathan’s Sake – 2 Sam. 9:1-13
Controversy & War with Ammonites/Syrians – 2 Sam. 10:1-19, 1 Chron. 19:1-19
David’s Fall: Adultery, Gluttony, Drunkenness, Conspiracy, & Murder – 2 Sam. 11:1-27
Nathan Rebukes David, the Judgment, David’s Ongoing Repentance – 2 Sam. 12:1-23; Psalm 51
Birth of Solomon, called Jedidiah – 2 Sam. 12:24-25
David & Joab take Rabbah & Torture the Ammonites – 2 Sam. 12:26-31, 1 Chron. 20:1-3
Amnon’s Folly & Absalom’s Vengeance & Flight – 2 Sam. 13:1-39
Joab’s Enticement, Absalom’s Return, Absalom’s Encroachment – 2 Sam. 14:1-33
Absalom Steals the Heart of Israel through Flattery – 2 Sam. 15:1-6
After 40 Years the Rebellion is Secured – 2 Sam. 15:7-12
Unmarked Ruling Over Israel & Judah Psalms
King’s Dominion | Promised Land: Psalm 5, 11,
Purity: Psalm 15, 24, 26, 101
Wholeness of Heart: Psalm 119
Covenant: Psalm 50, 99, 111, 132, 27, 68
Majesty | Meticulous Sovereignty: Psalm 29, 148
Psalm 145 (Majesty)
Gittith: Psalm 8, Psalm 84
Psalms of Asaph
SG: Ps. 74, 79, 80
Scores of other Psalms could pertain to this time period.
At David’s ascension to the throne of Israel & Judah (2 Sam. 5:1-5, 1 Chron. 11:1-3, 12:23-40), the vision beheld by David and Asaph was beginning to come to fruition: namely, that God arose (Ps. 94:1-2) and stood among the gods (Ps. 82:1) to judge them. Saul was dead. Then began a new era of sweet words dropping from the lips of beloved King David (Ps. 141:6). For, at the death of Saul, and also the subduction of all resistors among the House of Saul, the blessing of God could flourish in the Land (Ps. 12:8, Prov. 11:11). However, not even David could imagine the significance of what was about to take place in Israel. With a man after God’s own heart on the throne of Israel, the fingerprints of God were everywhere. What would normally be randomly logistical or nationally political suddenly became of inestimable importance. This was the Kingdom of God. In being such, suddenly, Jerusalem came to birth as the capital of the Empire – the same place that would one day be called, “the City of God” (Ps. 46:4, 87:3)! For now, however, it’s uncertain how much the people were understanding. All we read is that David built, dedicated, and inhabited a newly built house (2 Sam. 5:6-15, 1 Chron. 11:4-9, 14:1-7), and thus became a trophy of grace in the Kingdom of God (Ps. 30).
“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.” - Ps.30:11-12
Despite all this, David wasn’t intent on settling down. Rather, more than ever, he was poised to take the promised land and fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant according to the rules of the Mosaic Covenant. Come what may, this was the determination of David and the mighty men under his leadership (1 Chron. 11:10-47, 2 Sam. 23:8-39). Whether that meant war with the Philistines (2 Sam. 5:17-25, 1 Chron. 14:8-17), or anyone else, they were intent upon recovering the borders of Israel and extending them to the full allotment specified in the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15:18-21). However, as never before, David was enabled to utilize all the means necessary for success in battle (1 Chron. 13:2-4). Meaning, David was determined that God would take His rightful place in the land of Israel as the One true KING of the Kingdom! Unlike his predecessor, Saul, whose reign rivalled the rule and authority of God, David desired to come into submission to the Kingship of God. Therefore, even despite a failed attempt, David was determined to bring the Ark (the Throne) of God to Jerusalem. This was the moment of David’s life that changed everything.
“Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.” - 1Chron. 16:7
It was a day of unprecedented exuberance and celebration among the people (2 Sam. 6:1-23, 1 Chron. 13:1-15, 15:1-16:43)! A day of worship and dancing the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Red Sea crossing (Ex. 15:1-21)! Furthermore, amidst it all, David authored and composed a song. As a humble confession of gratitude to the faithfulness of God, David rehearsed before Israel Psalm 105 (1 Chronicles 16:8-36, Psalm 105:1-45). The song bore witness of “the Covenant”, “the word”, “the oath”, and “the law”, and hereby David gave glory to the God of Abrahamic, Isaac, and Jacob at having arrived to such heights of glory (Psalm 105:8-11). Though David’s contemporaries might consider his rise to power inglorious, David’s situation was no less miraculous than what God did with the patriarchs, the Exodus Generation, and Joshua’s Generation, as described in Psalm 105:12-45.
As for David, he just wanted to make it clear that he never coveted the throne of his predecessor, Saul, nor did he selfishly ascend thereto at last. As for all the miraculous feats thereunto, there’s only one explanation. David says, “For He remembered His holy promise, and Abraham His servant.” (Psalm 105:42). The exploits were purely God’s doing. All “the people of the God of Abraham” should’ve known this (Ps. 47:9). Yet, to make things abundantly clear, David disrobed himself from all royal semblance and danced before the Ark of God (2 Sam. 6:14-16). He wanted all of Israel to know that there’s only one true KING of Israel (2 Sam. 6:20-22). Given the occasion, as described in Psalm 47, how could David refrain himself from dance and celebration among the holy throng of saints in Jerusalem!
David assembled the priests to blast the “trumpets” before the Ark (1 Chron. 16:6), just as depicted in Psalm 47:5, with all of Israel in concert through an assortment of instruments and great shouts of triumph (1 Chron. 15:28)! Certainly, David said amidst the dance, “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph” (Ps. 47:1)! And, when the melodious celebration quieted for the evening, and David returned to his house, he didn’t gaze with admiration upon the elegant structure about him. Nor did he retire himself to the luxury of a personal vacation while at the seat of power in the Kingdom. Rather, David found himself sleepless for longing that the Ark of God would be housed in the most magnificent structure known to man for the glory and praise of Jehovah; and, while in the throes of such desires, David assayed to find permission from God to build Him a house (2 Sam. 7:1-29, 1 Chron. 17:1-27).
“Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.” – Ps. 132:3-5
God was pleased with such a man. Therefore, God made a Covenant with David as a continuation of the Abrahamic & Mosaic Covenants (2 Sam. 7:1-29, 1 Chron. 17:1-27). This, of course, only strengthened his resolve to see the full fruition of the Abrahamic Covenant. This had been his resolve all along. David called upon God in prayer during the Wandering Years with a chief aim, what he called, “the Land of the Living” (Ps. 52:5, 142:5), or, “the Land of Uprightness”(Ps. 143:10), longing only to “inherit” and “dwell in the Land” once and for all (Ps. 37:9, 11, 22, 27-29, 34; Ps. 56:13, 140:11). This was all one and the same as what David described, saying, “the upright shall dwell in Thy Presence” (Ps. 140:13). This was what invigorated his passion all along. For the same reason, while ruling Judah for 7 ½ years, David wanted the “rest” that the Exodus Generation forfeited (Ps. 95; Heb. 3:9-4:11; Ex. 33:14). He refused to settle for anything less than “the word” of the Abrahamic & Mosaic Covenants (Ps. 108). Thus, at the onset of war in a recently unified Kingdom (2 Sam. 8:1-18, 1 Chron. 18:1-17), David relived his former convictions (Ps. 57, 108) in a newly authored song (Ps. 60).
Whatever David did, he did it with all his heart (Ps. 119:2, 10, 58-60, 69, 111-112, 145-148). For the love of God’s word, and the beauty of whole-hearted devotion thereto, David penned Psalm 119. David lived a lifestyle of intense horror and sweet happiness (Ps. 119:53, 103) – one of anguish (Ps. 119:143), grief (Ps. 119:158), weeping (Ps. 119:136), zeal (Ps. 119:139), and fear (Ps. 119:38, 120), while simultaneously one of great peace and awe (Ps. 119:165, 161). Therefore, even if there were no immediate threats of war without, David was intent upon making the environment within the Kingdom inviting and pleasurable for the Presence of God (Church Purity: Ps. 15, 24, 26, 101). In other words, David was a servant of the KING. David wasn’t so much concerned about National Security. Rather, he was concerned about National Purity. The man just wanted to be with God! Therefore, evidently, David coveted after the glory renowned in the Exodus Generation before their fall (Ps. 114). Wishfully, he sang of the legal sanctioning of Judah and Israel as the “sanctuary” and “dominion” of the Living God (Ps. 114:2). For, in reality, the presence of the Living God was the liveliness of “the Land of the Living” (Ps. 27:13, 116:9; Ps. 5, 11), and David would settle for nothing less (Ps. 101:2).
David’s hope was set upon the eternal and enduring mercy of God that outlasts all generations of apostasy (Ps. 136). He was intent upon learning from the past to secure the future. Therefore, David had good hope that the Ark of God would come unto him and reside in Jerusalem for a new era of glory. However, soon enough, he would come to realize all that God was willing to do in his generation (Ps. 111:1-2, 6, 9)! As a recipient of the Davidic Covenant, which is a procurement of divine blessing upon the people through the Abrahamic & Mosaic Covenants, David came realize the magnitude of what had taken place (Ps. 68). Asaph, too, came to the same realization (Ps. 76, 78). Namely, that God had revived the glory of the Exodus Generation for the fulfillment of the Abrahamic & Mosaic Covenants via the Davidic Covenant.
“For Thy word’s sake, and according to Thine own heart, hast Thou done all these great things, to make Thy servant know them.” – 2 Sam. 7:21
Psalm 68 is a divinely inspired explanation. It is a testimony of David’s divinely inspired realization. The Spirit-filled boy of the sheepfolds, the least of the house of Jesse, was compelled to testify of things he wouldn’t dare to speak had not the Davidic Covenant already shattered his expectations and exceeded his ambitions (“Who am I, O Lord GOD?” – 2 Sam. 7:18-29). David couldn’t have ever imagined that he, like Moses, would be enabled by God to make the prophetic declarations of God’s enthroned majesty depicted in Numbers 10:35-36. Nevertheless, in being encouraged by the Davidic Covenant (“…therefore hath Thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto Thee” – 2 Sam. 7:27), and compelled by the Spirit of Prophecy, David’s tongue was loosed to declare:
“Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.” – Psalm 68:1-2
“And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” – Num. 10:35
Certainly, the countrymen of Israel didn’t think that David was on par with the prophet Moses. Some might have even scoffed at the thought. Likewise, at making the declaration, I’m sure David was awestruck in the holy moment; but, not without real knowledge about what was happening. First, according to Psalm 68, David praised God for the pity and compassion He demonstrates toward the lowly and helpless souls of the Kingdom (Ps. 68:3-6). Then, David went on to bring into perspective what was taking place in his generation as it harmoniously contrasted with the Exodus Generation. Worshipfully, David thoroughly rehearsed the terrible majesty of God on display in the Exodus Generation when they were gathered before the holy mount of Sinai (Ps. 68:7-27). Specifically, he focused on the Kingship of the Almighty to safely lead the “captivity” thereto for a blessing – a glorious disposing of heavenly “gifts” so that the LORD “might dwell among them” (Ps. 68:17-18; Eph. 4:8). Moreover, David praised God’s blessings and curses – that unto Him belong the issues of life and death (Ps. 68:19-23). Yet, the story doesn’t end there.
However noble, Psalm 68 wasn’t a worshipful recollection of all that God did in the past. This was a worshipful realization of all that God was doing in the present. This wasn’t a glorification of the Mosaic Covenant in contrast to the Davidic Covenant, this was a realization of the Mosaic Covenant in the context of the Davidic Covenant. Had the saints of old lived to see it, and been doubly privileged to be alive in David’s generation as well as Moses’, they would be glad to realize the existence of another holy place besides the one at Sinai (Ps. 68:24-27). This is exactly why David said, “O God, Thou art terrible out of Thy holy places…” (Ps. 68:35). He spoke of not one but two holy places. The first, of course, was what David described concerning the angelic hosts over and about the Church of the Wilderness (Acts 7:38), saying, “the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place” (Ps. 68:17). The second holy place was the reason for all the worship and celebration described in 2 Samuel 6:12-23 & 1 Chronicles 15:25-16:6 – perhaps, the same event being recollected in Psalm 68:25-27.
Namely, that God revived the operation of glory at work in the Exodus Generation in David’s Generation – harmoniously transitioning His majesty from Sinai to Jerusalem in a proportionate blessing from heaven – thereby, effectively making mount Zion’s Jerusalem the second holy place of Psalm 68. Therefore, all in all, David praised God’s terrible majesty out of His “holy places” in the closing line of the song. Evidently, David had come to realize the full blessing of God in operation at Jerusalem implemented upon the arrival of the Ark and the making of the Davidic Covenant. Can you behold all that David was seeing in Psalm 68? Under compulsion, David prophetically reckoned upon God purifying and defending His own territory as in days of old (Ps. 68:1-2, 28-30); necessarily so, because there were still many enemies in the Land of Israel. Therefore, just like in the Wilderness of old (Acts 7:38) when the trespassers were slain (Ps. 68:21, Acts 7:38) and all adversarial nations were defeated (Ps. 68:22-23), only then in the newfound Israelite Civilization of the Kingdom, lo and behold: David reckoned upon the divine powers of war to proceed from Jerusalem for a total subduction of all outstanding territories and adversaries (“till every one submit himself…” – Ps. 68:30).
Asaph’s realization was no less impressive. At last, he came to behold the answer to his agonizing prayers during the Wandering Years of David. Remember? Asaph was compelled to capture the words of his intercessory prayers in Psalm 77. Asaph endured sleepless nights and trouble of soul as he thought upon the glory of the Exodus Generation (Psalm 77:2-20). Being in company with David, it isn’t surprising this was his manner of conversation. However, professedly, because it was so early on, although Asaph knew that God had answered his prayers (Ps. 77:1), he didn’t comprehend the magnitude of what this would mean in real time. Asaph understood what he prayed for as he considered the revival of God’s glory through choice men as shepherds in Israel, as described in Psalm 77:20, but he didn’t know what God was willing to do in answer to his prayers.
However, at the ascension of David to the throne of Israel and Judah, the birth of Jerusalem, the subsequent ushering in of God’s Glory via the Ark, and the making of the Davidic Covenant, the reality of things began to dawn upon Asaph’s soul. All men could perceive the light and glory of an epoch of hope at the onset of these glorious events; yet, being a prophet, Asaph realized the magnitude of it all! Therefore, as a continuation of Psalm 77, Asaph penned Psalm 78. The prayers that were prayed became prayers answered. As described in Psalm 77:20 & Psalm 78:70-72, Asaph bore witness of the answer to his prayers: a harmonious expression of glory in both generations!
“Thou leddest Thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” – Ps. 77:20
“He chose David also His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.” – Ps. 78:70-72
Unmistakably, this is a realization of the divine repentance (Ps. 78:65)! At last, they were coming to grasp all that God was doing in and among Israel through their instrumentality! Especially, given the fact that God was pleased to reign in Zion by the ushering in of Jehovah’s Throne, the Ark, into Jerusalem. What a cause of trembling this must have been to David and his companions (Ps. 99:1)! Yet, with all humility of mind, David was determined to rediscover the old paths of Moses (Ps. 99:6-8) so that he, like Israel of old, would abide under the covert of God’s glorious Throne (“The LORD is great in Zion; and He is high above all the people.” – Ps. 99:2). In fact, this is exactly why David was quoting Moses in Psalm 68:1-2. To understand the scope of David’s expectations amidst these realizations – even as he was invoking the glory of God as Moses did in Numbers 10:35-36 – one must have a proper understanding of the divine invocation itself.
“And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel.” – Num. 10:35-36
“To understand the vitality of this divine invocation to the performance of the Abrahamic Covenant, which was first uttered from the lips of Moses, as the ark of the covenant was first setting out before the hosts of Israel into the treacherous journey from Teman (Hab. 3:3), is to approach with prepared heart the threshold of this most breathtaking Psalm — 68. “Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice” (Psa. 68:1-3). This divine invocation stands above the many other instances where David (or one of his companions) called upon the Lord in like fashion, for it is in this instance alone where David precisely quotes the invocation of Moses; whereas, all other instances are allusions thereto in principle only. Psa. 68:1-3 is no mere allusion, reckoning upon the inherent principle, but is, rather, an undeniable equating of the two occasions upon which the invocation was declared (the same instance also being spoken of in, Psa. 132:8)!
Here David was bringing the ark on its final ascent, into its final resting place — Zion… This is in direct parallel to Moses bringing the ark upon its first embarkment into the wilderness of wandering! Therefore, David taking up the divine invocation is, essentially, his estimating of the value of the experience of which he was made to partake at the final ascent — namely, that this final ascent under his hand was as epic as its first under the hand of Moses, and that this rest to which David was conducting it to was the fulfillment, which Moses, at best, only foresaw through the spirit of prophecy (Num. 10:36) — and this prophetic equality Solomon also attributes to his final transferring of the ark, finally into the temple (II Chron. 6:41). David’s invocation here may seem quite audacious of the man, and it would be if it were not for the very staggering events which had transpired in the forgoing (approximately) 50 years.
Consider, David was raised in a generation wherein the ark of the covenant — the throne of God — had even itself been taken captive by the Philistines! And upon its return to Beth-shemesh, and settling in Kirjath-jearim, it abode there for 20 years even, before anyone mourned after the Lord (which is the sense of I Sam. 7:2)! David was raised with the ark of the covenant in obscurity, and no one enquiring at it in the days of Saul (I Chron. 13:3)… all of this in the context of the Lord “forsaking Shiloh” (Psa. 78:60), and that at the close of approximately 450 years of dark ages in the times of the judges! Therefore, for David to successfully accomplish a recovery of the glory of God (“between the cherubims”, II Sam. 6:2; Psa. 99:1), by bringing the ark safely up to Zion (which the Lord had revealed unto David that he had chosen for himself as a perpetual dwelling place, see Psa. 68:16; 78:68,69; 87:2; 132:8,13,14), and into the tabernacle which David himself (as a modern-day Moses for his generation) had pitched for him (I Chron. 15:1), was no insignificant achievement!
Thus David, most accurately estimating the full scale of the operation of God’s glory which the Lord was reviving in the midst of his reign, was poised to fully realize the magnitude of the work the Lord was doing in this most staggering and singular event portrayed in Psa. 68. Therefore, he is led to seamlessly interweave the events of God’s glory chronicled at Sinai, with his present day experience throughout the song, crescendoing in v. 18, wherein he (referencing Moses) quotes Deborah! “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” His reference to Moses in this text is undeniable from the immediate context, but when compared to Judges 5 — the song of Deborah — it is plain to see the correlation between the two passages!
Deborah is singing her song in a very similar context to David’s, as she was in the midst of a divine repentance as well (though it would prove only to be partial); thus was made to glorify God in the very same spiritualized language of the the glory of God among the Church first defined at Sinai, just as David was compelled so to do in his generation! That is to say, when Deborah beheld Barak the son of Abinoam ascend Tabor, she was beholding a reenactment of the glory of God as it was, when in days of yore, one Moses, led his captivity captive from Egypt, unto the mount Horeb, and then he ascended up on high, and received gifts for men (elders, prophecy, a law, etc.)!
This must have been a most affecting scene to this dear mother in Israel, and yet her experience is improved upon, for not only did she behold Barak lead the 10k oppressed Israelites unto mount Tabor, but he led them up the mountain with him! This is, therefore, an improvement upon the type of Christ offered in Moses to the Exodus Generation; for Moses brought them to “the mountain that might be touched” (Heb. 12:18), though it was strictly forbidden to be touched (Exo. 19:12,13), but Barak brought them up the mountain with him (Jdg. 4:6,12,14), even as Christ, who would avail beyond all inferior divine repentances (by reason of His perfection), bringing his people to a mountain that may not be touched (for its spirituality), and ascend the “Holy Hill” of "Mount Zion” in “The Heavenly Jerusalem”, WITH his captivity He has taken captive (Eph. 4:8; Heb. 12:22; Psa. 2:6; 24:3)!
All this in view, we find David in Psalm 68 standing atop the cresting wave of the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant! Essentially, all that was laying hold of Deborah, concerning that which had laid hold of Moses, was suddenly laying hold of David! Not to say this was the end of his warfare, or that this wave would not finally crest in the close of his reign, but this moment was pivotal, and served as the manifest turning point, where all that would follow were the mere propitious events which must surely seize such an elect and chosen vessel.
This would have been enough if this was simply all that David was seeing, but there was more! More that, though hidden from his eyes, would be progressively revealed through the generations of the Kingdom of God still to come. Namely, this breathtaking moment of David’s realization of the divine repentance, would be taken yet again into the lips of another, as yet another divine repentance in the heart of God would be realized in the future, to the performance of the covenant to end all covenants, by the hand of the Worthy One, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David: Jesus of Nazareth! This is the 1st Century Divine Repentance.
Thus did Paul, standing atop the crested wave of the New Covenant in the full volume of all that was then revealed, declare, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men” (Eph. 4:8)! Paul is quoting David, who is quoting Deborah, who is referencing Moses, that he might declare — IN ITS GRAND FULFILLMENT — what Christ (the prophet like unto Moses, Deut. 18:15) has achieved in his heavenly ascension, far above all that any other mere man had ever been able to attain! Hereby, one can easily perceive that this passage (Psa. 68) is exceedingly broad, and serves as A COLLIDING POINT of divine repentances for many generations.
Even so, it does not end there, but after the death of all of the apostles, save John, and after Rome had sacked and burned Jerusalem, scattered the Jews, and plucked down the temple — and yet the end of the world had not come! — then did the Lord reveal yet one more divine repentance to come in the end of the world! And so, John remembering Paul quoting David, who was quoting Deborah, who was referencing Moses, declares, “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads” (Rev. 14:1)! This is, we hope, the 21st Century Divine Repentance.
A further necessary application of this doctrine (Realizing the Divine Repentance), is now most timely that we would consider. In the light of all that is before us, we are now plainly able to see that from Moses —> Deborah/Barak —> David —> Paul —> John, that each of these redeemed saints were made to behold something clearly set before them at the focal point of THE DIVINE REPENTANCE — men of God’s right hand (Psa. 80:17)!
In Psalm 68, as a starting point for us, consider again that David uttered the divine invocation (v. 1-3), and ere long scaled his way to the staggering height of Realizing the Divine Repentance (v.18), but in the meantime he revealed to all what was the method, or by what means did the Lord ordain that His ascent would be manifest: “Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold” (v. 13)! What was in focus to David was the reality of the defied Israel rising from the ignominy and reproach among which she lay, and from the dunghill of apostasy in which she wallowed (I Sam. 2:8), then for many centuries standing. To David, this was, inexorably, the course of God’s repentance in his generation, and to this end alone did he live — that Israel might arise (Psa. 45:16,17; 72:17-20; 145:4-7; Acts 13:36)!
This reality is the selfsame thing which Asaph saw, expected, and took careful record of as both a contemporary and companion of David (consider his prayer for the Lord’s guidance of His people, Psa. 77:1-6,20, and the answer received in David as a shepherd over Israel, Psa. 78:65-72). Behold this man’s words, “Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved” (Psa. 80:17-19). This is very plain, and thus it must be, for our hardness of heart, and our persistent unwillingness to arise, and our unrenewed desires that God himself alone (without human instrumentality) would arise! O God, help us to see what these men saw!
Asaph’s desire was that the Lord would arise! Thus he opened, “Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth” (Psa. 80:1)! He will reiterate this supplication throughout this peculiarly crafted testimony (so the sense of the title, “Shoshannim-eduth”, or, Lily of Testimony), in the terms of the Lord’s countenance shining upon His people (v. 3,7, 14,16,19)! The testimony of Psalm 80 is this: when the Lord shines the light of His countenance upon His people they are “turned”, “made strong”, “saved”, and, “quickened” (v. 2,3,7-11,15,17-19) — or, in other words, they arise!
The reason behind this method is plainly declared in the text, “Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us” (Psa. 80:2). Asaph is remembering the very moment when the Lord went forth in the wilderness, when the divine invocation was first brought forth (in Num. 10:35,36), when the ark of the Lord’s glory arose, and literally set forth immediately before the blessed eyes of three tribes — Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh (Num. 10:21-24), which were the 3rd rank among the Israelites in their setting forth (Num. 2:17-24), two ranks before the ark and two behind! Therefore, when Asaph is invoking the Lord to “stir up his strength” before these tribes, he is essentially saying, “Arise, like you did at the first before our fathers in the wilderness!” But more than this, he is stating the most express way a man may arise — he must set the Lord’s rising ever before him (Psa. 16:8)!
It is certain, those who most clearly behold the shining forth of the Lord from between the cherubims, behold His strength stirred up, and they shall arise and follow — captivated —behind him in His glorious train! It was in the language of Divine Repentance which Asaph described the Lord’s arising in the Exodus Generation (“Stir up thy strength”, v. 2). And rightly so, for it was after that the Lord had said he would not go among the armies of Israel (Exo. 33:3), and after that he had determined the destruction of all of the tribes for their whoredoms at mount Sinai (Exo. 32:10), that, Lo! Asaph beheld Him “stirring up His strength” before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh! This same signal language is understandably employed by David (Psa. 35:23; 44:23-26), and Isaiah (Isa. 42:13,14) in describing this most staggering act of Divine Repentance as well! O that the Lord would thus cause His countenance to shine upon His people in this day!
Understanding this application of the Divine Repentance (God raising up men of His right hand), we can clearly see why David, after calling upon the Lord to “lift up” and “shew” Himself (Psa. 94:1,2), was looking about him, on his left and right, saying to his companions, “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity” (Psa. 94:16)? David, like the Lord, sought a man (Isa. 59:16; 63:5; Jer. 5:1; Ezek. 22:30)!This is why the closing chapters of the chronicles of David are so significant.
God sought to teach David this lesson, in a most impressive way in the closing scenes of his life. If the the closing chapters of David’s earthly ministry are II Sam. 21-23 (24 being an appendix, to transition between the life of David and Solomon), then there is immediately discovered a shocking theme! II Samuel 21 closes with David’s last battle, and the subsequent riddance of the giants from Canaan, by the hand of other men than David! We hear then, in II Samuel 22, the song at this time which such exploits of the Lord (wrought in love), inspired from the lips of David. Finally, in II Sam. 23, as David reflects, at first with subtle (though resigned) lamentation upon the state of his house in reference to the covenant of the Lord with him, yet he can abide there but briefly, and at last closes with a catalogue of the exploits of what the Lord had done through the mighty men which He had made strong for Himself! And through this divinely inspired progression in the narrative, we can clearly perceive the instruction the Lord is boldly teaching David in the closing scenes of his life — “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord”!
It was not that David was forgetful or unaffected by all that the Lord had wrought through his own earthen vessel, for this was a reality that he could not escape since his rise in the sheep cote, but there was something new that was taking the preeminent place in his soul. David was deeply instructed of the Lord to behold His arising in His people, yea, even till he felt his life hanging in the balance before his eyes, and that the Lord must arise for him!... and then, at his wit’s end, the Lord arose — in Abishai (II Sam. 21:15-17)! The Lord himself caused David once to pray, “Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together, saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him. O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help” (Psa. 71:9-12)… This was, undoubtedly, the Lord causing him to soberly anticipate in this prayer, when a young, strong, man of war, the hour when he would fail of his own strength (even that which he had always reckoned upon in, and by, the Lord). This would almost seem to cast a shade upon the glorious testimony of David, as a worthy contender for the promises, and promise land of God, for the worthy testimony of war, according to the covenant, was, “[They] waxed valiant in fight” (Heb. 11:34)! But here, David’s strength failed him, and he “waxed faint”! But God’s glory in this man’s testimony is preserved in this particular, most astonishing — crucial to behold — manifestation of the Lord’s salvation… by the hand of His people! For, it was through Abishai, that the Lord Himself came to “help” David (Psa. 71:12)! As it is written, “But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succored him” (II Sam. 21:17)!
The end of David’s story is not so much what the Lord did through him, as much as what the Lord did for him, through his friends. To behold this operation of God’s glory in the establishment of men of His right hand, is, as it were, to see what only the seasoned seaman should hope to see of the heights, depths, length and breadth of the vast, unfathomable ocean, at his final voyage… It is the ascent of Pisgah’s height, and the casting eye of a life worth three lifetimes, finally beholding the desired haven… It is the blinding effulgence of “salvation”, to the eyes that have lived a long life to behold it! And thus beholding this blissful scene of — THE LORD ARISING — was David laid to rest with his fathers in peace.
These realities which so illustriously have been set forth in the testimony of the life of David and his companions, will be the fuel which shall finally propel the divine repentance to end all divine repentances — in the covenant to end all covenants — to the generation to end all generations!” (Jake Gardner)