One of my favorite things about David is his candor with God. I am currently doing Dr. Caroline Leaf’s brain detox program. It’s designed to help you rid your mind of toxic thinking patterns and replace it with healthy thinking patterns. She explains out of the gate that the most important thing is to be honest about how you are feeling. Christians sometimes feel guilty about being honest about negative feelings. But Paul encourages us in Philippians 4:6 to take everything to God in prayer, including complaints, petitions, thanksgiving and praise. David does all of these. I had spent years burying my feelings but after reading several Psalms then finding out that David was a man after God’s heart, I finally felt free to explore all my feelings with God.
David starts this Psalm petitioning, “O God, listen to my complaint. Protect my life from my enemies’ threats.” He then describes the situation and how “they sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their bitter words like arrows.” We’ve all had people say nasty things to us and can relate to the pain David was feeling. You can hear the fear in his voice when he pleads in verse two, “Hide me from the plots of this evil mob, from this gang of wrongdoers.” That is raw honesty. God encourages us to be honest. It’s not like He doesn’t know the situation anyway. In fact, He loves it. God wants to be engaged in our lives, the good, the bad, the ugly. What freedom!
The other major lesson I have learned reading Psalms is that David almost always remembers the importance of handing his problems over to God once he has gotten it off his chest. He allows God to handle it as evidenced in verse seven, “But God himself will shoot them with his arrows, suddenly striking them down.” Then most importantly, David closes almost every Psalm by encouraging everyone to praise God. I’m now trying to apply David’s strategy to my daily life by acknowledging my feelings, discussing them with God, handing over what I cannot control to Him, and praising Him for His faithfulness. Thank you, King David, for being such a great example of how we should engage God!