“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
“Why God Loved David” Part XVIII
“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.”
In what specific area of my life do I need God to uphold me at this moment?
“He (she) rides at ease whom the grace of God carries.”
Thomas á Kempis
“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”
I love the way we study the Bible here in the garden. Unlike most other areas of our lives, there are no deadlines to meet. We don’t have to get through our study by a certain time. All we need to do is go at God’s pace and follow His leading. This is certainly the way we are studying Psalm 51. While my initial intention was to finish studying this beautiful chapter in three weeks, obviously, this will not be the case, because some of the verses have so much “content” in them, that to take just one phrase and study it in depth and then skim over another portion of the verse, would not do justice to our complete examination of this revealing portion of the Bible.
Psalm 51: 12 is one of the texts where two days of study is better than one. Yesterday, in the first part of this text, we reviewed what the word “restoration” means, and we looked at its practical application in our lives.
Today, I want to, with God’s help, uncover the treasure found in the second portion of Psalm 51: 12 where David asks God to, “Uphold me with Thy free spirit.”
There are two critical words in this phrase – “uphold” and “free.” In the Hebrew, to uphold, as used in this text means to, “prop up, to bear up, to establish, to lean on, to sustain, to stand fast, and to rest one’s self on.” I think these descriptive words give us a very comprehensive picture of what David was asking God to do for him. But it is the Hebrew definition of the second word which I found most intriguing.
In the Hebrew, the word “free” as used in Psalm 51: 12, is “ndiybah” which means nobility or reputation. Webster’s dictionary defines nobility or noble as a person with a high moral character who is honorable, superior in nature and character. This is an individual who we would look up to. And this is why, as an example in the Hebrew the word reputation is used, for an individual who is noble would have a grand reputation. They would be someone held in high repute or high regard. A person, for certain, that was respected. With this background, we can now get a much better vision of what David was asking of his Father in heaven.
In case we have forgotten, David’s reputation had taken a drubbing. His good name had been dragged through the mud. His family didn’t respect him. His friends didn’t either. And the men in his army no longer could look up to him with respect. Oh, they may have feared him for David could have killed them like he did poor Uriah. But let there be no doubt, David’s army, who were long-time admirers of his battlefield prowess, now obeyed only out of duty to country, not a great loyalty to King David. And what’s more, as we found out, the people of David’s kingdom in Israel and Judah had also lost the appreciation they once lavished on David. Now a broken man with a trashed reputation, unable to hold his head up high, David came to his heavenly Father and said, “Can I lean on You. You are all I have to rely on. It’s Your noble reputation that counts, not mine, that is so disrespected.”
This is such an interesting passage and these are such revealing words, especially coming from a king, albeit an earthly king. We must remember, in Judah and Israel, David’s word was law. He was the undisputed leader. He was it! And yet, through a series of immoral acts, all of is own choosing, he undid the good that had come before in his life and now was facing a future that appeared to be destroyed – and quite frankly, he had only himself to blame for this debacle.
Feeling alone and helpless, with his life in tatters, David called on his Father for help. In a way, David was asking his Dad if he could lean on Him and place his trust in his Father’s reputation, not his own.
What a long way down David had fallen. From being the mighty king on his royal throne, making all the decisions and telling everybody else what to do, David now found himself in the unsteady position of having no one to rely on and no highly regarded reputation to tout to friend and foe, alike.
As I reflected on David’s predicament, I thought back to the days after the car accident which nearly killed Jim and me. Both of us had grown up enjoying athletic activities. I had learned to water ski and snow ski as a young girl and Jim was a “star” baseball player. In fact, I’ll brag about Jim a little. He was one of the most agile and coordinated people I’d ever met. His balance and ability to navigate any athletic pursuit he attempted was amazing
But after our wreck, having to live with the long-term consequences of having both his legs and feet run over by the car and having my left foot fractured so severely that it is completely deformed, our ability to get around with the precision we used to is impossible. The fact is, when we are going places where the terrain is anything but flat and smooth, we both use our handy-dandy canes. These implements aren’t mere accessories. They are necessities. We rely on them for balance, for steadiness, for stability.
After the catastrophic mistakes which destroyed David’s balance and the stability in his emotional and spiritual life, David asked his precious Father to please be the “One,” the perfect “Person,” the individual who was “Nobility” on whom he could rely and trust in and lean on.
No longer the proud king, puffed up all high and mighty, David understood that to trust in himself meant failure, but to trust in his Father, was to be established by the stability of the King of the Universe.
There’s a huge lesson in this short passage for you and me. And obviously, even David’s own son, Solomon, learned something as he watched his father struggle, for we find he penned this advice in Proverbs 3: 5 which I want to quote again but this time from The Message Bible, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the One who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all.”
“Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear: rather look to them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them. He is your keeper. He has kept you hitherto. Do you but hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and, when you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms. Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. Our Father will either shield you from suffering, or He will give you strength to bear it.”
Francis of Sales
“What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.”
Elisha A. Hoffman
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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