Psalms, Adversity, and National Shame

This week in PBJ seems a slight detour from the historical story of David as we read Psalms. Poetry from the heart. In truth, these passages in the book of Psalms are the poetry of David during this time of threat, death, and adversity. We see the heart of a man after God’s own heart as he is pursued by enemies, slandered across Israel, perhaps even his own parents rejecting him. In these Psalms, we see the true heart of this man. Steve Holt in his book, Worshipper Warrior, notes that David is the one person in all of scripture who’s life is opened page by page in such great detail. It’s the Bible version of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly all in one man. I like Clint Eastwood but another word applies to David, as well. Shame. Overwhelming, heart and mind shattering shame. We can see it in these Psalms from David’s heart. We can see it in the events pouring from Washington DC. It’s a national shame.


Calling on the Lord

David in his worst moments calls on the Lord. Recognizes his personal iniquity. And this great sinner sees his only redemption in the hands of the Lord. And Salvation is a gift that he can never earn but receives from God. Not because he is a great King in the Future or an awesome Special Forces Warrior in the present of these passages. Or even a good man. David is a man who cries out to the Lord, calls on the Lord, and says, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” placing himself in the position of being a dumb sheep.

Good at Being a Man

You see, God helps David, in the words of Victor Marx, Be Good at Being a Man. Note the difference. Society speaks about how to be a Good Man, redefining manhood to cultural norms and standards that are weak and feminized. God tells us how to be good at being a man. That is a timeless standard that straddles scripture.


As we will read in future passages, the Psalms of David are also prophetic. Jesus will quote David on the cross. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.” I must confess an unusual understanding of time. When we lost the garden of Eden in Genesis, humanity found itself locked in length, width, and depth framed by time present. Yet, I believe this often broken, harshly slandered, superb King was given a glimpse beyond space time of his future salvation and redemption on a cross 2,000 years in the future. Those words from his heart stepped into the immortal poetry of Psalms, prophesying from his place in time present of salvation to come. It is a miraculous proclamation given to David from beyond space time.


Early morning at 24 Hour Prayer at The Road @ Chapel Hills praying these Psalms over our nation as we face our own demons of deceit and slandering of good people