I can’t even imagine what is was like to be David. The shepherd boy becomes the King of God’s holy nation. Israel was unlike any other nation and David had to be a King like no other. As it has always been in history and continues to be, Israel was hated and more when they prospered. And under the leadership of David, they were prospering. The pressure of being God’s chosen King neither destroyed David’s enemies nor cleansed him of unrighteousness. Upon David was the pressure of leading God’s people, protecting the chosen people of God, and living in the holiness of God. And he failed. When his enemies came against Him, he surrendered to fear. When temptations appeared, he surrendered to the flesh. David was not beloved by God because he was perfect. He was so beloved because he passionately called out to the Lord when his enemies, spiritual and physical, had wounded him in the battle. He drew near to the Lord with fervor from the great depths of failure.
Jesus said of the disciples, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Is this not the plight of all of us. We want to be faithful. We want to be strong. We want to be courageous and righteous, but we fail. What do we do then? How well do we fail?
In the 61st Psalm, David cries out, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” The secret of David’s life is found in this short prayer. “Lead me.” David understood that he could not find his way. He knew the Lord was there. He had always been there, but sometimes, we can get so far from the Lord either by our own sin or pushed out of His presence by the issues of life. To fail well, in our failure, we must recognize that we need the Lord’s help to get back. We can’t do it on our own.
“To the rock.” He is not speaking of a pebble that could be moved by the force of the waters. He speaks of a rock that is not moved. The Bible says that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. When we live in His ways, He is our foundation that holds us steady, but when we move away from Him, we lose our way. We need His help to lead us to the Rock, to lead us back to His ways. Repentance requires change. The Rock of Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It is faith in our Savior, but also submission to our God. We need help, but He is an ever-present help in trouble.
“that is higher than I.” He exalts the Lord. David says he cries out from the ends of the earth. He feels so far from God. Perhaps, his enemies were coming against him. Perhaps, it was when his own son Absalom turned against him. Perhaps, he had fallen to temptation. Whether this or that, he felt so far from His God. His voice was weak and frail when he called to the Lord, but in his weakened state, He gave praise. When all Hell breaks loose, our emotional connection to the Lord will not be enough to draw praise from our lips. This is a praise that comes from an emotional high. This is praise that goes against every feeling we have when we are far from the Lord. Our emotions would lead us to stress, worry, be angry. We might call out to God, but for rescue, not in praise. But if we are going to fail well, we must praise Him in all circumstances.
It wasn’t David’s music, nor his service that kept Him in the depth of God’s love. It was the way He failed. He failed with humility, repentance, and praise. If we can fail like this, what can ever destroy us?
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When Moses sinned against the Lord, He was not allowed to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land, but it was the conversation He had with the Lord in that moment that teaches us how to stop wandering in circles in the desert and crossover to new blessings.
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