King David: The Psalmist
The biblical hero David was a man of many talents. We’ve already studied his history as a shepherd and a warrior king. In part 3 of our 4-part series on David, we’ll explore his artistic side as a psalmist and a musician and how his background influenced his writing.
David wrote some of Scripture’s most comforting psalms. This week Chris studies Psalm 23, a familiar favorite for many Christians. This psalm incorporates not only David’s upbringing as a shepherd but also his understanding of the Lord’s role as his Shepherd, guiding David physically and spiritually.
Psalm 23 shows us that David was confident that God would protect Him from enemies, provide for David’s needs, and even prepare a banquet to celebrate His goodness. We can share his confidence that God will protect and provide for us too!
If you missed the first two parts of this series, you can catch up in our Archives.
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka, have you visited our website, foiradio.org? After this episode ends, I invite you to visit us if you haven't been there. We have over eight years worth of programming on our site for you to listen to. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Steve, we've been looking at the life of David and one of the amazing things is that David was a multifaceted, complex individual who was both a shepherd but a warrior, and today we're going to look at another element of David's life in this study, which is the fact that he was also a psalmist, a songwriter, and somebody who played the lyre. Just amazing gifts that David has as we're going to unpack this component, this aspect of David's life, David the Psalmist.
Steve Conover: But first in the news, the Jerusalem Post reports that thousands of Palestinians and Gaza took to the streets to participate in demonstrations of their own. They were not protesting the Netanyahu government like many Israelis. They were calling for the end of Hamas rule in Gaza, protesting the high cost of living and shortage in electricity and gas supplies.
Chris Katulka: Well here's my take. The protests in Gaza against Hamas fell on deaf ears, since Hamas leaders live comfortably in Qatar, Turkey, and Lebanon as their people suffer. I hope that mainstream media pick up on this story and highlight the third world conditions of the Palestinians in Gaza under Hamas. Instead of waiting for the next time Israel has to defend itself against Hamas rockets. Maybe the problem in Gaza isn't Israel. Maybe it's Hamas.
Chris Katulka: We're continuing our series on King David. Now, over the past two weeks, we've been looking at the life of David through the lens of a shepherd and then a warrior. We saw that David would use his resume as a shepherd to show that he was capable of putting to rest Israel's enemies, Goliath and the Philistines. David would not only tell King Saul that he was brave enough to tackle the Goliath problem, but he was willing to risk his life just like a shepherd does, to rescue God's flock Israel from their enemy. David believed he could take down Goliath because David trusted in God's Word. He knew the creator of heaven and earth was on Israel's side, so David wasn't just a shepherd. He was showing that he was capable of being a king who could lead and guide his people in the ways of the Lord.
His time as a shepherd prepared him to also become a warrior king, a king who was able to ward off Israel's enemies and expand the kingdom of Israel to the place God wanted it to be while still maintaining that care and concern for his sheep, the nation of Israel. Well, today we're going to talk about David the Psalmist. If you didn't get a chance to listen to the last two weeks of the program, I'd encourage you to go to foiradio.org and there in our archives page, you can hear our first two installments of the David series and nearly eight years of teaching. Again, that's foiradio.org. Okay, so David was not only a shepherd growing up, he was also skilled at playing the lyre just before first Samuel 17 when David killed Goliath, David was handpicked to serenade King Saul with his lyre to help alleviate Saul's spiritual anxiety and torment that he felt after the Lord's presence left him and then went on David.
Remember, God had rejected Saul as king of Israel. He removed his Holy Spirit from him and placed it on David when Samuel anointed him in First Samuel chapter 15. We know what a lyre looks like because of an etching that was found at Tel Megiddo in Israel. The lyre usually had two arms rising up from the sound box. The strings were attached to the crossbar at the top of the instrument and when it's played properly, the lyre is actually a very soothing sound. David would use these musical skills over time to share his love for God through the writing of the Psalms, and one of the most famous Psalm is Psalm 23, a psalm of confidence in God and one that I really think defines David's love and devotion to God.
Let me read Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake, and even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil and my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 23 is very much a psalm of David's life. That's why I wanted to stop here for a moment and highlight the way David opens Psalm 23, David the shepherd calls the Lord his Shepherd. In the first installment of the series on David, I highlighted that the term shepherd was used to describe both the spiritual and political leaders of Israel.
They shepherded the people of Israel and they should have been shepherding the people toward the Lord. Well, David does something amazing here, in the opening of Psalm 23. He says, the Lord is my shepherd. Now, I may have said this before on this program, but I want to share it again. The scriptures highlight the first of Israel's kings, Saul, David, and Solomon. Growing up, I always heard that Saul was a bad king, David was a good king and Solomon so-so. Good in the beginning, and then he fizzled out in the end. Well, Saul was remembered for abandoning God's commands. David is remembered as a man after God's own heart, and Solomon is remembered for asking for wisdom over riches, but eventually lost sight of God's wisdom.
What's amazing when you think about this comparison is that David committed the worst of all the crimes of these three men. He intentionally committed adultery and murder crimes worthy of capital punishment and losing the position as king. That's why in Psalm 51 he says, “take not your Holy Spirit from me.” He's saying, Lord, please don't take your Holy Spirit from me the way that you took it away from Saul. David did something different from Saul and Solomon though that makes him a man after God's own heart. He repented and he asked the Lord for forgiveness, something neither Saul or Solomon did. Essentially, David acknowledged in his sin that God is the true shepherd, the true leader, the true king of Israel. David the Shepherd King is nothing without the Lord his shepherd. He knew his position and even though God made him king of Israel, David was humble enough to know that the Lord was the true king. He knew his position, the Lord is my shepherd.
David had confidence that God would shepherd him in this life and the next to the point where he would never want for anything. As the shepherd, it was God who would guide him to everything he needs in life, not only his physical needs, but also his spiritual needs. It was God who would lead David on the paths of righteousness. Why is God a good shepherd who guides David and guides us as well? Because it says in verse three of Psalm 23, it's for his name's sake. God's guidance and provision for his sheep is tied to his name. God promised to guide and direct David's life and that through David's lineage, the true king of Israel would come. That's the Lord Jesus. God is shepherding David because God tied his name and reputation to him. The same could be said for us as followers of Christ.
He provides, he guides, he leads, because we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and for that reason we are sealed in our salvation. And just as the Apostle Paul said to the Philippians in Philippians one verse six, he said, “and I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God's promise must be fulfilled for that reason. Like a good shepherd, he leads, guides and provides because it's his character, it's his nature to fulfill the promises that he started. It's his reputation on the line. It's his name. Remember David the Psalmist is singing of his confidence in God in Psalm 23, confidence not just in this life but beyond the grave. Now, when we return, we're going to take a deeper look at David's confidence as he pours his heart out to God, trusting in his care over his life, so stick around.
Steve Conover: Hey Chris, did you know that August is Make-A-Will month?
Chris Katulka: You know Steve actually, believe it or not, I did, and that's why it's so important to make time to consider your future planning, especially since it's so easy to put it off until another day.
Steve Conover: I agree, Chris, and it's why it excites me that The Friends of Israel has partnered with FREEWILL to enable you to write your legal will for free. In as little as 20 minutes online, you can create an estate plan to protect your assets, support the people and organizations that you love, and have the opportunity to include a legacy gift in your plans.
Chris Katulka: When we were planning out our will for the Katulka family, I wish I would've known about FREEWILL and so we hope that you'll join us on Make-A-Will month. To get started on writing your legal free will go to foi.org/yourfreewill. Again, that's foi.org/yourfreewill.
Chris Katulka: Welcome back everyone. We're in the middle of a series on King David and one of the most influential characters in the Bible. Well, over the past few weeks we've studied David as the Shepherd, David is the warrior, and today we're looking at David the Psalmist. He was such a talented individual who left an indelible mark on how we today worship God. In fact, the Psalms are the oldest comprised prayers of antiquity in the world. We can't review all of David's psalms, so I decided to highlight one I believe helps to define his relationship with the Lord in the midst of his turmoil in life, and listen, David certainly accomplished a lot of things as the king of Israel, but his successes were certainly matched by the difficulties that arose in his life. Just read through First Samuel. The earliest movements of David's kingship were marked by anguish, confusion, war, danger, anxiousness.
Even when David rose to power in Second Samuel, his life was marked by family struggles, sin, shame, succession issues, and even death. It's enough drama in one's life to feel like you're walking in the valley of the shadow of death. This was David's way to worship God because David is confident God is with him in all of it. That's why God's rod and staff comfort David. A rod is a shepherd's tool to protect the sheep from enemies and the staff is used by the shepherd to guide the sheep. For David, walking through the valley of the shadow of death could mean that David's life is under threat, but because God is with him, he will fear no evil. He actually says, for you are with me. That's what David writes. In the Psalm, David moves God from the divine shepherd to the divine host. That's right, a host of a banquet.
Listen, it's enough to say that God is with me during my darkest moments and for that reason I can have confidence as he comforts me through the difficult times. But see, David takes Psalm 23 and David takes confidence in the Lord to another level. David anticipates the future. He has no illusions. There will still be enemies. That's why he says in the Psalm, “you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies,” perhaps even enemies that were present in the temple when he would offer thanks, but God's provision would come even in the presence of those enemies. God would not just guard David from his enemies, but in the midst of his enemies, God would prepare a banquet table and David would be an honored guest of the banquet table and his cup, it says, would overflow. The banquet was a celebration of God's provision and protection and the Psalmist experience of life has been so bountiful that it was life itself which was full of blessing, overflowing with Thanksgiving.
The experience of the past and the rejoicing of the present would give rise to the magnificent expression of confidence of what's coming in the future, and here's the reason why. Because David was confident in God's Word, which shares of his character and nature, David is confident that God is gracious and kind and merciful, and for that reason, kindness and mercy will follow King David all the days of his life. David was confident in God in this life and the next. David's psalms were an outlet for his life in worship to God. You see it everywhere. David was confident that God would protect Israel from Goliath and the Philistines. David was confident in God's timing waiting on the Lord as Saul threatened his life, David was confident that God would forgive him after the despicable sin he committed against God, Bathsheba and Uriah. David was confident God would be with him even as he walks through the valley of complete darkness, as the Hebrew says, because he was confident God was with him.
David's Psalm, Psalm 23 is a Psalm of confidence, not just for him but for us. If you've placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, like I said, you are indwelt with the Holy Spirit so that even when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you can fear no evil because God is with you. God used David's Psalms to not only impact his own life, but to also impact the lives of those who yield to the Good shepherd, Jesus Christ.
Chris Katulka: Steve, years ago when I lived in Dallas, I met a woman who loved Israel My Glory magazine, and actually she would use the articles in the magazine to teach her Sunday school class. In fact, she loved Israel My Glory so much that she bound all of her issues from the 1970s together and even cataloged all of the articles. Now, a lot has changed since the 1970s. A lot has changed since those days of physically archiving past issues.
Steve Conover: It has, Chris. Today, all our issues and articles can be found online. You, our listeners, can access our award-winning magazine on your phone, your tablet, your computer, wherever you are. You can read the latest Israel My Glory Issue, as well as archived past issues. Whether you're a pastor preparing your next message, or simply interested in understanding Jewish culture and customs, biblical prophecy, news surrounding Israel in the Middle East, we want to invite you to subscribe to Israel My Glory, digital today. Visit foiradio.org. You'll find a link to sign up for access to digital Israel My Glory. That's foiradio.org.
Steve Conover: Israel on the verge of becoming a state, a teenaged Holocaust survivor arrives on her shores alone. His name is Zvi Kalisher. Little did he know his search for a new life in the holy land would lead him to the Messiah. Zvi, enthusiastic to share his faith, engaged others in spiritual conversations, many of which can be found in our magazine, Israel My Glory. While Zvi is now in the presence of his Savior, his collected writings from well over 50 years of ministry continue to encourage believers worldwide. Now Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life of Zvi.
Mike Kellogg: I was called up for military service recently and this time it was a miracle that I came home alive. I thank God that I was saved from this boiling pot, which is impossible to describe. It is like a volcano that erupts every few months. By now, I've become used to it. After this trip, I visited a family whose two oldest children had recently married. Now there are only six children left at home, the oldest being 14 and the youngest 3. I visited their home in the company of my commanding officer and they received us courteously. This officer treats me very well, although he knows that I'm a believer. A year ago, he took my New Testament from my rucksack and we are now great friends. Because of his position, he has to be very careful. The authority is going to do anything to me, but he has a rank and could get himself into trouble.
We were able to discuss the things of Christ in the home of the family we visited. We prayed together and they thanked me for visiting them again. When I returned to my work, my fellow laborers could not believe that I had come back. One of them said, "A goy has luck." They called me a goy. Gentile, because I believe in Jesus. He said, "Couldn't you have gotten killed instead of one of our own?" I answered, "Is it perhaps because the Lord has a plan for me to proclaim his gospel that he saved me?" I'm sure of this and this is not the first time that the Lord has saved me. I have been in similar situations before, but as you can see, I'm safe and sound. Is it not a miracle? My foreman stood on the sidelines listening to our conversation and at the end he came to me and said, "If you do not stop these communications about the gospel, I will dismiss you." I answered, "If you wish, you can do so immediately, but I will say what I want to say and no one can forbid me. I'm not employed here as a high official, but as a hard working construction man. What is your decision?"
He thought for a moment and then said, “stay.” “I take it then,” I said, “that you really enjoy hearing my testimony and that I am permitted to say what I stand for.” This incident gave me greater courage to bear witness every time I can, whenever I can and wherever I can. Most of the people with whom I work are from Kurdistan and Iraq and have never before heard about the Lord Jesus. That is why the foreman was so afraid of my testimony, but whether he likes it or not, he hears about the Lord. I do my work well and he can find no fault with me. I said to him, “the day will come when you will implore the Lord in the name of Jesus to forgive you. There are no heroes before God.” He replied, “enough of the lesson for today.” I then remarked, “I would like you not only to learn the lesson, but to do some homework.” For the first time, he laughed and now the men who work with me are very interested and ask me many questions.
Chris Katulka: The impact of Zvi's life in ministry in Israel. It didn't end when he went home to be with the Lord. In fact, Zvi's legacy lives on. Our Friends of Israel ministry representatives continue to share the gospel in Jerusalem, Israel and really all throughout the world. We also serve Holocaust survivors and their families. We provide free food, medicine and clothing and we even promote the safety and security of the state of Israel and the Jewish people everywhere. So when you give to The Friends of Israel, your donation actually allows us to advance the gospel of our Messiah Jesus. You can give online by visiting foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org. You can click right there on our donate link. Also, be sure to let us know where you listen when you contact us.
Steve Conover: Thank you for joining us for the program today, and we hope you've enjoyed our study so far on David. We have more to come on David, but we're taking a break from our series. Where are we headed next week?
Chris Katulka: Yeah, Steve, we have our Israel My Glory in Depth episode. In fact, our most recent issue of Israel My Glory is called the New Testament Writer's Guide, how the New Testament authors relied on the Hebrew Scriptures. It's going to be a great look at this particular issue of Israel My Glory and how people can subscribe to receive a one-year free subscription as well. I hope people tune in.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione, edited by Jeremy Strong, who also composed and performs our theme music. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold, and I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. And one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org.
The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
Apples of Gold: Sitting On Top Of A Volcano
Zvi returned to work after another harrowing stretch of military service. His coworkers were shocked that he had survived. He replied, “Is it perhaps because the Lord has a plan for me—to proclaim His gospel—that He saved me? I am sure of this. And this is not the first time that the Lord has saved me. I have been in similar situations before, but, as you can see, I am safe and sound. Is it not a miracle?”
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