The Example of David
For believers it’s an indisputable fact that the Psalms, the majority of which were written by David, are a tremendous source of comfort and connection with God. Have you noticed how often David refers to God’s Word, to meditating on His Word, to receiving joy and comfort from God’s Word? (You might have noticed the numerous quotes throughout this web site that come from Psalm 119, a work wholly devoted to the benefits and blessings of God’s Word.) But have you stopped to consider what “God’s Word” exactly was in David’s time?
As of David’s time, none of the prophets were even yet born whose 17 books are part of our Old Testament. There were no books from Solomon (Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes), and the events of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther were many hundreds of years away. It’s doubtful that during David’s life there was much more than the first five books given through Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) , Job– a work handed down to each generation from around Abraham’s time– and perhaps Joshua. David would most certainly be aware of the content that would become Ruth, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, but those sections of God’s Word were most likely assembled after David’s lifetime. He not only did not have the whole Bible as we have it today, but he didn’t even have the whole Old Testament.
So the “testimonies”, “way”, “precepts”, “statutes”, “commandments”, “judgments”, “ordinances”, and all the other terms David uses in the Psalms to describe God’s Word are primarily from David’s personal study of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament and Job!
If you’re like most Christians, the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy in particular can be difficult on the surface. But consider that it’s these very books into which David constantly gazed from which he created the Psalms, expounding the power, joy and comfort of “God’s Word”.
David’s Psalms might be thought of as his own journals, detailing what God spoke to him through the Word. Further, we might not really understand the true nature and power of God’s character that is revealed to us through the Law given through Moses if the Psalms did not serve as the “commentary”, so to speak, of how the Law is supposed to change our life, bond us in love with our Creator, change relationships.
David’s legacy to us is the supreme example of what occurs when we daily and diligently look into God’s Word seeking to hear Him speak to us personally and then applying same to our walk.
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.
— Psalm 1
The key difference between the righteous and the wicked? One is committed to God’s Word, the other is not.