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DAVID’S SECRET

DAVID’S SECRET

Gerard_van_Honthorst_-_King_David_Playing_the_Harp_-_Google_Art_Project“I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.”
Psalm 16:8-9

I have long wanted to know the secret to David’s life, the giant- slayer, musician, military general, king, sinner, and Renaissance man. I have wondered what the secret was to David being “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), who “served the purpose of God in his own generation” (Acts 13:36). I think I have discovered David’s secret, and it is this: long before Brother Lawrence and “Practicing the Presence of God”, David lived it and breathed it! He sought each day to be present to the God who was ever present to him. We see this in today’s psalm text as David speaks of his resolve, his determination to keep the Lord always before him. He wants God always at his “right hand”, the place of honor and authority.

Obviously, David is not talking about carrying around an image or plaster idol, but rather he wants to be ever mindful of God. He works at cultivating a moment-by-moment awareness of God. David takes this with him into battle, leading a nation, writing poetry, and rebounding from sin. Consider but a few of many David-authored psalms in which he seeks God in THIS moment:

  • Psalm 63:6 – Here David writes about keeping God before him as he hides “in the wilderness”. He says that thinks of God in the night, and mediates on him in his wakeful hours.
  • Psalm 63:3 – In that same wilderness exile, David contemplates or “looks” upon God in His sanctuary, remembering worship in the Tabernacle and reflecting on God’s “power and glory”.
  • Psalm 8:3; 19:1 — While tending sheep at night or fleeing his enemies, David considers the heavens, moon and stars, meditating on God’s celestial artistry.
  • Psalm 55:17 — David prays “evening…morning…and noon”, beginning and ending each day with God, and bolstering himself with prayer at midday.
  • Psalm 57:8 — While waylaid in a wilderness cave David awakens the “dawn” with a song to God.
  • Psalm 119 — While this longest of the psalms is without a named-author, Jewish tradition says that David wrote this acrostic poem to teach the alphabet to his son Solomon. It does mirror David’s thinking and practice seen throughout the Psalter. In Psalm 119 we see the psalmist meditating on God’s Word (v. 15, 97), hiding His Word in his heart (v. 11), rejoicing over God’s Word (v. 14), and rising at midnight to give thanks to the Lord (v. 62).

These verses, and many like them, paint a life determined to always keep God before him. I would not pretend to do any of these things nearly as well as David, but I still find them a good example to follow. There is something different about a day that begins and ends with God, while taking some time in the middle to turn my thoughts toward Him. I also try go on a Daily God Hunt by looking for God in His creation, answered prayer, synchronicity of events, or wisdom from a friend or from a book. Then, there is the sweet delight of rising at midnight to thank God for being God, or to reflect on His Word. Fumbling after David’s example, I hope to take on some giants in my life and serve God in my generation.

I know a man who keeps God before him by setting his watch alarm to hourly remind him to take a moment to talk with God.

I know a man who carries a cross in his pocket as an ever-present reminder of Jesus’ love. And another man walks each morning memorizing and meditating on God’s Word. It is a delight and encouragement to practice being present to the God in whom “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). God is present to us right now; are we present to Him?

What would it mean for you, like David, to keep God always before you in your thoughts and actions? What would it mean to always be mindful of Him, to see God in all things and all things in God?

“I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.”
Psalm 16:8-9

Grace and peace,
Tim

P.S. Water from Rock’s Advent devotional “And the Word Became Flesh: Daily Reflections on the Incarnation for Advent 2015” is available now. Order copies for yourself, your family and friends, study group, Sunday School class, church, etc., by using our order form.

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