LOD-39 - Making My Seeking of God Personal Like David Did

The rest of David’s life from II Samuel 22 onward is another incredibly rich portion of Scripture. David extolled his Master and King in Psalm 18—how to overcome feelings of loneliness in the last days before death. 

•    Psalm 18 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said:

1.    This Psalm could be entitled: Embracing God—A Long Obedience in Seeking the Lord. 

2.    The words of this Psalm are recorded in God's Word twice. Once at David’s coronation (probably Psalm 18) and then again at the close of his life (II Samuel 22:2-51)—it was like a way of saying that he wanted to start his career right and end it well for the Lord!  

The rest of David’s life from II Samuel 22 onward is another incredibly rich portion of Scripture. David extolled his Master and King in Psalm 18—how to overcome feelings of loneliness in the last days before death. 

•    Psalm 18 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said:

3.    This Psalm could be entitled: Embracing God—A Long Obedience in Seeking the Lord. 

4.    The words of this Psalm are recorded in God's Word twice. Once at David’s coronation (probably Psalm 18) and then again at the close of his life (II Samuel 22:2-51)—it was like a way of saying that he wanted to start his career right and end it well for the Lord!  

II Samuel 22: At the end of his magnificent life, David extolled his Master and King in Psalm 18—how to overcome feelings of loneliness in the last days before death. Psalm 18:46 gloriously summarized David’s lifelong heart of praise to God: The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. 2 Sam. 22: And finally, at the end of his magnificent career. David extolls his Master and King in Psalm 18. Especially note his life long praise to God in Psalm 18:46 The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. 2 Sam. 5:17-25 - 2 Sam. 22    > Ps. 18. We find David triumphing over all enemies!  Why? SEEING LIFE FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE, And what might that be? Psalm 18 tells us: v.1-3 God is greatest attraction; v. 4-6 We are in desperate condition; v. 7-15 God is awesome; v. 16-24 It is God who rescues; v. 25-29    God is just; v. 30-36 God reveals Himself; v. 37-45  God conquers enemies; v. 46-50    God is to be praised. This Psalm is in God's Word twice. Once at David’s coronation and then again at the close of his life—it was like a way of saying that he wanted to start his career right and end it well for the Lord! David suffers the intense loneliness of old age. And finally, at the end of his magnificent life, David extolls his Master and King in Psalm 18—how to overcome the feelings of loneliness when we are in our last days before death. Especially note his life long praise to God in Psalm 18:46 The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. Let’s do something this week: 1. Be concerned for God’s honor -    stand alone; 2. Trust God’s protection:     don’t fear; 3. Realize God is on your side - you are valuable; 4. Remember God’s watching -    fear God; 5. Expect God to hear : pray; 6. Be satisfied in God’s refreshment : seek Him; 7. Set God first: deny self; 8. Apply God’s great truth - live it

The rest of David’s life from II Samuel 22 onward is another incredibly rich portion of Scripture. David extolled his Master and King in Psalm 18—how to overcome feelings of loneliness in the last days before death. 

•    Psalm 18 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said:

5.    This Psalm could be entitled: Embracing God—A Long Obedience in Seeking the Lord. 

6.    The words of this Psalm are recorded in God's Word twice. Once at David’s coronation (probably Psalm 18) and then again at the close of his life (II Samuel 22:2-51)—it was like a way of saying that he wanted to start his career right and end it well for the Lord!  
 
     II Samuel 22: At the end of his magnificent life, David extolled his Master and King in Psalm 18—how to overcome feelings of loneliness in the last days before death. Psalm 18:46 gloriously summarized David’s lifelong heart of praise to God: The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. 2 Sam. 22: And finally, at the end of his magnificent career. David extolls his Master and King in Psalm 18. Especially note his life long praise to God in Psalm 18:46 The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. 2 Sam. 5:17-25 - 2 Sam. 22    > Ps. 18. We find David triumphing over all enemies!  Why? SEEING LIFE FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE, And what might that be? Psalm 18 tells us: v.1-3 God is greatest attraction; v. 4-6 We are in desperate condition; v. 7-15 God is awesome; v. 16-24 It is God who rescues; v. 25-29    God is just; v. 30-36 God reveals Himself; v. 37-45  God conquers enemies; v. 46-50    God is to be praised. This Psalm is in God's Word twice. Once at David’s coronation and then again at the close of his life—it was like a way of saying that he wanted to start his career right and end it well for the Lord! David suffers the intense loneliness of old age. And finally, at the end of his magnificent life, David extolls his Master and King in Psalm 18—how to overcome the feelings of loneliness when we are in our last days before death. Especially note his life long praise to God in Psalm 18:46 The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. Let’s do something this week: 1. Be concerned for God’s honor -    stand alone; 2. Trust God’s protection:     don’t fear; 3. Realize God is on your side - you are valuable; 4. Remember God’s watching -    fear God; 5. Expect God to hear : pray; 6. Be satisfied in God’s refreshment : seek Him; 7. Set God first: deny self; 8. Apply God’s great truth - live it

    We’ve been walking through David’s life for many chapters—from his lonely childhood to his struggling years on-the-run from King Saul; from his triumphs on the battlefield to the defeats of his unguarded moments; from his consequence years to the final challenges of his home-going—all through the inspired record God gave to us. And, although it’s been 3,000 years since David’s time, his fervor for life and deep desire to embrace God through his long obedience in seeking the Lord can still thrill our souls!  
David’s life was carved into the bedrock of God’s Word for a wonderful purpose. Through his godly responses in life’s unending struggles, the Lord was giving Divine Truth to help us learn how to overcome trials in our own lives. In the thirty-one psalms the Holy Spirit inspired David to write during his greatest struggles, he captured how the Lord was his Refuge. But of all those wonderful psalms, I’m praying that Psalm 18 will become the most meaningful and precious to you!
    I have dearly loved this study of David’s life because of the way God’s grace is so visibly brought forward as the grace that saves, the grace that forgives, and the grace that gives new beginnings each day and every hour.  
    For grace says: “I, the Lord God, am committed to finishing what I have started in your life! Even though I am going to keep cleansing you as often as needed, I will love you no matter what you do. Nothing can make Me love you any more or any less!” That means you and I must be—

SEEKING GOD
WHEN IMPERFECT

    David’s whole testimony declared that it doesn’t take perfection to please God. One of the reasons it’s taken so long to study his life is that it requires time to cement in our hearts and minds that God does not demand nor expect perfection. To please God:

•    You don’t have to be fearless—David was often afraid and had to flee to the Lord. Remember that the next time you are afraid!
•    You don’t have to be perfect—David was smitten by guilt and confessed his sins to the Lord. Remember that the next time you are stained by sin!
•    You don’t have to have a perfect marriage—David had marriage problems he gave to the Lord. Remember that the next time you are weeping over the stress and pain in your relationship with your partner!
•    You don’t have to have perfect children—David has no recorded children who followed the Lord to the end of their life. Remember that the next time you feel the harsh blast of your children’s disobedience, disrespect, or ingratitude!
•    You don’t have to be constantly serene—David was often depressed and had to sometimes crawl back to the Lord. Remember that the next time you feel too discouraged to even get out of bed, go to work, or look another person in the eye!

    But to please God we do have to experience God’s grace—and David’s entire life was covered with grace. For he was imperfect; sometimes David flat out failed the Lord while at other times he was fearful, depressed, or troubled. But God always looked upon him not as he was, but as he would be. The Lord saw his heart, knew his deepest desire, and forgave all the rest. 
    Through it all, in spite of it all, and in it all, this God-hearted servant said from start to finish: “I love the Lord!” So when we stopped at David’s deathbed, we witnessed his hope and peace as he walked with his beloved Good Shepherd through the Valley of Death’s shadow—fearing no evil.
    In both heartaches and joys, David’s deep passion for God drew him to seek the Lord with an embracing kind of love. So I am praying that his last psalm, Psalm 18, will become a part of your long-term spiritual investment strategy for how to love the Lord, trust the Lord, and seek the Lord for as long as you live. May God empower you, like David, to form a lifelong habit of—

EMBRACING
GOD

    Psalm 18:1 is the full-hearted expression of love to the One who was more than life itself to David: (Emphasis added to verses in this chapter.)

I will love You, O LORD, my strength.

    The word translated “love” (racham #7355, used 47x) is a rare verb form of a word group that expresses tender intimacy. David’s word choice was intended to express very strong devotion—like Mary’s love on Resurrection Morning when she longed to dearly hug Jesus (John 20:17). 
    The Hebrew word racham was always used in Scripture in a positive sense about God, and by God, to express His love for His people. It is a word which speaks of a love that draws someone close and hugs them—a love which yearns for someone who has been away for awhile and can’t wait to welcome them back with a hugging, embracing love.
    Psalm 18:1 was the sole time in the Bible that this term for a “hugging, embracing love” was used by a person describing love for God. 
In other words, David was the only person in the Old Testament to take this word for God’s love of His children and turn it around to use it to express his own personal love for the Lord. So this was very much a part of the reason why God said that David had a heart for the Lord!
    In essence, David was saying in verse 1: “Lord, I love You so much that I am passionately drawn to You; I long to run and throw my arms around You to show the immensity of my love for You!” That is “embracing love”—a “seeking love”—a description of David’s own heart after God.
    For a great blessing, before you go any further, I encourage you to open your Bible and read all fifty verses of Psalm 18—David’s reflections on a lifetime of deep love for his all-satisfying God. When you’ve finished, I hope you will feel inspired to lift your heart, your face, and your voice up to the Lord and sing this chorus as a personal love gift of worship to Jesus:

I love You, Lord,
and I lift my voice to worship You.
O my soul, rejoice!
Take joy, my King, in what You hear:
May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear. 
                 —Twila Paris (1958—)

    Psalm 18 can be summarized as one long testimony to God’s great faithfulness—a Shelter, Stronghold, and Sure Foundation to all who will trust in Him. So I call this final aspect of David’s life his “long obedience in seeking God.” That is what was most evident about David: he continually sought the Lord and served His purposes for almost his entire life. And—

SEEKING GOD BUILDS
A LIFE GOD REWARDS

    In Hebrews 11:6 God said that He is … a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. A life God greatly rewards is a life with a long history of pursuing or seeking God. Seeking the Lord and loving Him with all his heart was David’s lifelong pursuit. He sought the Lord while facing giant enemies like Goliath, through protracted battles with foreign armies, and even when fleeing his own son. And during all his personal struggles and fears, One Person never left him—the Lord. 
    The sheer volume of information God has given about David offers an incredible opportunity to sift through those chapters and see what a long obedience looks like. That is perhaps the greatest way David’s life can impact us—by calling us to walk in the power of the Spirit to serve the Lord God in the same faithful and loving manner.

Psalm 18—David’s Long-Term
Investment Record
    
    The wording of Psalm 18 appears not only in The Book of Psalms as David’s personal testimony but also in 2 Samuel 22 as the historical record of his final words. His psalm is like an investment record, recorded by God, of the deposits made in David’s account throughout his long life. This is similar to a long-term investment of our money, which is the best way to go in today’s financial world. Let me explain a little further, and then I’ll make my point.
    Money, like time, is given to us to invest—not merely to spend. More than half of Jesus’ thirty-plus parables spoke about money. Money drives the economy of our world, motivates the majority of the workers of this country, and is the target most use to measure their success and happiness. 
    Those who have obtained great wealth always talk about the power of long-term, compounded investments. When we lived and served at a church in New England we saw the reality of long-term wealth’s growing power. For six years we lived in a lovely New England parsonage built around 1828 for the pastor of the Quidnessett Church. Those who donated the money to build that house were part of the E.I. DuPont family. After it was built, one $25 share of stock in the DuPont Company was provided—the dividends to be reinvested to maintain the house on an allocation made annually from that account’s value. 
    When we moved into the home in 1988, 160 years later, the house was lovely, and the acre of grounds looked like a botanical garden. As for the maintenance account, it had grown to be worth nearly $1,000,000! The unbroken compounding of the dividend yield, stock splits, and appreciation of each share through the ups and downs of the Civil War, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean and Viet Nam Wars, and onward had turned the original $25 into a million dollars, even after all the expenses were paid for the upkeep of the house.
    What an amazing power there is in compounded investment in the long-haul of American financial history. Financial planners tell us that real wealth is found in long-term investments. Even Solomon recognized that wealth “hastily gained” is elusive (Proverbs 28:20).
    So then, Psalm 18 was God’s long-term investment record of the deposits in David’s account—written after a lifetime of facing enemies at every turn. As a shepherd, David faced enemies in the form of wolves and lions. Then he stood against the Philistines of both the Valley of Elah (Goliath) and those who were around him while on King Saul’s staff. So enemies abounded for years before his marriage. 
    As King Saul’s son-in-law, David’s enemies multiplied when Saul and the armies of Israel were continually hunting him to kill him. Then, when David was crowned King, he not only had to face the Philistines but also the combined armies of all the pagan nations surrounding the Land of Israel. 
    Finally, when David was older and nearing the end, the pagan nations were joined by those of his own children who sought his throne and had become his enemies as well. However, though David never seemed to have stopped facing enemies, in his last recorded words he extolled the Faithful God who had delivered him from murderous Saul, pagan armies, and even wayward sons. And throughout these challenges, David described his intimate walk with God by possessively saying, “The LORD is my …” Like David testified, God will not be distant in your relationship with Him if you—

MAKE SCRIPTURE
PERSONAL

    David very personally expressed his lifelong seeking of the Lord when he used “my …” nine times in Psalm 18:1-2:

I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn [means “power”] of my salvation, my stronghold. 

    His expressions—“my strength,” “my rock,” “my fortress,” “my deliverer,” “my God, my strength,” “my shield,” and “my salvation, my stronghold”—are a set of seven metaphors to describe God as He aided David in the military times as his “strength,” “shield,” and “horn.” During his years on-the-run God was a “rock,” “fortress,” “deliverer,” and “stronghold” for David. 
    After telling the Lord in verse 1 that he loved Him so much he wanted to huggingly embrace Him, David exhausted the Hebrew language in the next forty-nine verses in an attempt to explain all that God had been to him throughout his life. But most of those expressions surrounded the way David related to God as his “Rock”:

•    The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer (v. 2a); 
•    My God, my strength (Heb. Lit. “rock”), in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold (v. 2b).
•    For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? (v. 31).
•    The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted (v. 46).

    By calling the Lord his “Rock,” David drew upon his knowledge of the desert where the fragile life of plants and animals was often clustered in areas of shade around the rocks. He was acknowledging that he had only made it through the dangerous deserts of his life by the shadow of God as his Rock of Protection and Shade. As he fled from enemies like Saul and Absalom, God became David’s Rock of Refuge—a Rock-solid foundation beneath him when everything else in his life was unstable.
    David’s testimony reminds me of the great hymn “Rock of Ages.” In England, around the year 1763, while Ben Franklin was busily flying kites in thunderstorms here in America, a young pastor by the name of Augustus Toplady (1740-1778) was traveling home when a violent thunderstorm struck. Here is the popular recounting of the birth of that wonderful song:

LIGHTNING briefly illuminated the primitive, rock-hewn landscape of Burrington Combe in Somerset. It was followed by a deep growl of thunder, and then rain lashed mercilessly down, pouring bubbling streamlets down the craggy sides of primeval cliffs which rise up some 250ft. to the Mendip Heights on one side, and into Cheddar Gorge on the other. 

The curate of Blagdon, a nearby village, had been travelling along the road near the cliffs when the storm struck and dashed into a cave for shelter. He had been fortunate to find this hiding-place so quickly, and while waiting for the storm to pass he began to muse on the idea of the “rock of faith” being a shelter from the “storms of life.” 

The words for a hymn began to form in his mind but, according to the legend that still persists, he had no paper in his pocket to write down the words. Looking down he saw a playing card, considered a sinful thing by the young cleric. Nevertheless, he picked it up and began to write one of the world’s best-loved hymns which was first published in the Gospel Magazine in 1775, some 12 years after Toplady wrote it.  

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From thy riven side which flowed, 
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and pow’r.

Not the labour of my hands
Can fulfil thy law’s demands; 
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears for ever flow,
All for sin could not atone; 
Thou must save, and thou alone. 

Nothing in my hand I bring, 
Simply to thy Cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress;
Helpless, look to thee for grace; 
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath, 
When my eyelids close in death, 
When I soar through tracts unknown, 
See thee on thy judgement throne; 
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, 
Let me hide myself in thee. 

    So then, when you meet Jesus in prayer and the Word, make it personal. Never cease to tell Him: “Thank you for being—my Salvation, my Cleansing, my Redeemer, and my Rock of Ages!”
Now let’s look back on David’s life to see what God saw in His servant that was so endearing—his remarkable habit of looking for the Lord wherever he was. For in the midst of a hard, stressful, constantly demanding life of unending struggles, David made regular, long-term investments in seeking God. Such a long obedience in seeking God means—

SEEKING GOD
ALL THROUGH LIFE

Many of David’s discoveries about the Lord’s faithfulness were made in times of acute loneliness, as recorded in the thirty-one psalms written during these life stages: his growing years, struggling years, strong years, and waning years. His inspired testimony in each of these stages captured how to overcome loneliness in every facet of life. 
Loneliness in all its many forms has but one purpose: since God made us for Himself, He longs to satisfy and complete us by using our righteous responses in loneliness to draw us closer and closer to Him. That is where “obedience in seeking the Lord” comes in—and David gracefully modeled this for us.
As we’ve just seen, he lived a hard, stressful, constantly demanding life filled with enemies, and that led to intense loneliness. But David refused to allow bitterness to fester. Rather than focus on his problems, he chose to seek the Lord by responding righteously in his struggles, ever yearning to draw nearer to his God. The more the Lord satisfied David’s deep desire for intimacy with Him, the more David’s love for Him abounded until it blossomed into the “hugging, embracing love” of a man after God’s own heart!  
You will see such growth in this panorama of David’s life through key verses from the psalms he likely penned in each stage. For the greatest blessing, I encourage you to meditate on these verses by relating them to what was going on in David’s life at the time. Then, as the Lord leads, ask Him to help you apply needed truths to your own life. If you do this, you’ll discover priceless spiritual secrets from the depths of the heart God so treasured in David:  

A Panorama of David’s Life
Through Thirty-One of His Psalms

David suffered intense loneliness in his growing years—

He was overlooked, ignored, and disliked by his family (1 Samuel 16-18). 

•    Psalm 19: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer (v. 14).
•    Psalm 23: The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want (v. 1).
•    Psalm 8: O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth! (v. 9).
•    Psalm 132: Let us go into His tabernacle; let us worship at His footstool. … And let Your saints shout for joy (vv. 7, 9). 
•    Psalm 100: Make a joyful shout to the LORD …! Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing (vv. 1-2). 


David suffered intense loneliness in his struggling years—

He faced family conflict and danger as he fled from King Saul’s wrath (1 Samuel 19:11-18; 20:35-42). 

•    Psalm 59: To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; for God is my defense, my God of mercy (v. 17).
•    Psalm 11: In the LORD I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain”? (v. 1).
•    Psalm 64: The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and trust in Him. And all the upright in heart shall glory (v. 10).

He had lost his job and was separated from his family when he fled to Ahimelech the priest (1 Samuel 21:1-9). 

•    Psalm 52: I will praise You forever …; and in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name, for it is good (v. 9).
He moved to a new location under duress and faced multiple trials at Gath (1 Samuel 21:10-12 and 13-15). 

•    Psalm 56: Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? (vv. 3-4). 

•    Psalm 34: I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together (vv. 1-3). 

He felt abandoned as he fled Gath, but grew in the Lord as he lived and worked with a troubled crowd in the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1-4). 

•    Psalm 13: How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? … I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me (vv. 1, 5-6).

•    Psalm 40: I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps (vv. 1-2).

•    Psalm 70: Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified!” (v. 4). 

•    Psalm 57: My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise. … For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, and Your truth unto the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth (vv. 7, 10-11).

•    Psalm 142: Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Your name; the righteous shall surround me, for You shall deal bountifully with me” (v. 7).

He faced constant insecurities and huge responsibilities as he and his men hid from King Saul in the forest of Hereth (1 Samuel 22:5; 23:1-14). 

•    Psalm 17: I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech. Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust in You from those who rise up against them (vv. 6-7).

He was betrayed by men he trusted—not only the men of Keilah but also the Ziphites (1 Samuel 23:15-29; 1 Samuel 24).

•    Psalm 54: I will freely sacrifice to You; I will praise Your name, O LORD, for it is good. For He has delivered me out of all trouble; and my eye has seen its desire upon my enemies (vv. 6-7).

•    Psalms 35-36: Let them not rejoice over me who are wrongfully my enemies; nor let them wink with the eye who hate me without a cause. … How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings (35:19; 36:7).

He was wronged in a business deal but God delivered him from his anger against Nabal “the fool” (1 Samuel 25). 

•    Psalm 53: There they are in great fear where no fear was, for God has scattered the bones of him who encamps against you; You have put them to shame, because God has despised them (v. 5). 
He suddenly lost his family, friends, and finances in the raid on Ziklag (1 Samuel 30). 

•    Psalm 16: I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved (v. 8).

•    Psalm 39: “LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. … Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. … And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You” (vv. 4, 5, 7).

David suffered intense loneliness in his strong years—

He was tempted and failed miserably when he sinned with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:27-12:14). 
•    Psalm 38: … I am ready to fall, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin. … Do not forsake me, O LORD; O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation! (vv. 17-18, 21-22).
•    Psalm 32: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. … Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him. Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! (vv. 1, 10-11). 

He was painfully chastised and then restored (2 Samuel 12). 

•    Psalm 51: For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge. … Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. … The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise (vv. 3-4, 10, 17).

He had to face the inevitable consequences of his sin, but when attacked, slandered, and abused, he still sang of his confidence in the Lord (2 Samuel 15:13-16:14). 

•    Psalm 3: But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.  Selah (vv. 3-4).

•    Psalm 63: O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You …. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied … and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips (vv. 1, 3-5). 

•    Psalm 31: In You, O LORD, I put my trust; let me never be ashamed; deliver me in Your righteousness. … For You are my rock and my fortress;
therefore, for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me …. Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. … Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD (vv. 1, 3, 5, 23-24).

David suffered intense loneliness in his waning years— 
He had to come to terms with old age and impending death, but his humble obedience led to joy as he used his last years for God’s glory (2 Samuel 22-23; 1 Kings 1-2). 
•    Psalm 71: Be my strong refuge, … for You are my rock and my fortress. … O God, You have taught me from my youth; and to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come. … Your righteousness, O God, is very high, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? … My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long … (vv. 3, 17-19, 24).
•    Psalm 18: I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. … The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted (vv. 1-2; 46).

David’s incredible heart for the Lord continually gushed up rivers of worship even from the parched ground of difficult days! In every stage of life God empowered him to turn his fears into opportunities to trust Him even more. And so God’s servant—this unique man after God’s own heart—in his very last recorded words launched his psalm of praise with this wholehearted declaration of devotion: I will love You, O LORD, my strength. 
I pray that you will long, like David, for—

MORE LOVE, 
O CHRIST!

    The Shema,  the Jewish confession of faith, begins with: 

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). 

As the king of God’s people, David would have had his own copy of these verses as a result of hand-copying the Pentateuch,  which he was also commanded to read “… all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes …” (Deuteronomy 17:19). 
David’s passion for God’s Word and deep desire to love Him with all his heart, soul, and strength was the fruit of embracing God through a long obedience in seeking the Lord. But were it not for David’s life being covered with God’s grace, none of this would have been possible. We must never forget that his greatness was ultimately of God—not of himself (2 Corinthians 4:6-7 NIV). As John MacArthur has pointed out:

 … Only divine grace can enable our hearts to love God in the first place. Scripture clearly teaches this. … So unless God Himself draws us to Christ, we would never love Him on our own (John 6:65). “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

The apostle Paul prayed for the Philippians, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” (Philippians 1:9). So it is certainly appropriate to pray that God would deepen and enrich our love for Christ, for only He can do it.   

Elizabeth Prentiss, the hymn-writer of “More Love to Thee, O Christ,” earnestly prayed for the empowerment to love Christ more and more—no matter the cost! For she, like David, craved intimacy with the Lord, as her words clearly reveal:

More love to thee, O Christ, more love to thee!
    Hear thou the prayer I make on bended knee;
This is my earnest plea, more love, O Christ, to thee,
    More love to thee, more love to thee!

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;
    Now thee alone I seek; give what is best:
This all my prayer shall be, more love, O Christ, to thee,
    More love to thee, more love to thee!

    Let sorrow do its work, send grief and pain;
      Sweet are thy messengers, sweet their refrain,
When they can sing with me, more love, O Christ, to thee
    More love to thee, more love to thee!

    Then shall my latest breath whisper thy praise;
    This be the parting cry my heart shall raise,
This still its prayer shall be, more love, O Christ, to thee,
    More love to thee, more love to thee!

    Knowing the background behind the writing of that song makes her prayer even more precious—and challenging! John MacArthur continued:    

Elizabeth Prentiss … wrote this hymn during a time of deep grief after two of her children died in infancy very close together. Her “earnest plea” in the midst of such overwhelming trials was not that the trials would be removed or that the pain would be eliminated, but that patience would have its perfect work: “that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4). That is the heart-cry of true faith.

Stanza 2 is a beautiful testimony that describes how trials refine the believer’s perspective: “Once earthly joy I craved.” … But this is not a mere earthly joy. Earthly joys are always temporary and transient. … The testimony of the hymn-writer is that Christ Himself is a blessing vast superior to any earthly joy, and that is where the sorrowful heart finally learns to find its true joy: “Now thee alone I seek.”

… This hymn poetically echoes the message of James 1: “Sweet are thy messengers.” Remember, the “messengers” the hymn-writer has in mind are “sorrow,” “grief,” and “pain.” Again, these are in no way “sweet” in and of themselves. But when their effects on our hearts actually increase our love and our longing for Christ, the final result is unspeakably sweet.

… The closing stanza looks forward to the end of life, realizing that a prayer like this hymn is never fully answered this side of heaven. No matter how deep and rich our love for Christ grows in this life, we will always feel the need for deeper, more perfect love. And that will be true until the moment when we see Him face to face and are made perfect (1 John 3:2). Then even our love for our glorious Savior will finally be perfect, and the prayer of this hymn will at last be answered in full.  

Until then, we, too, should earnestly plea: “More love, O Christ, to Thee.” But we must depend upon the … God who works in [us] both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13) to work this “hugging, embracing love” for Christ in us! For only God can satisfy to the very core of our existence and being!
David was as human as anyone can get because he reflected every vice and virtue. He struggled with fear, depression, and lust—yet he sang with abandon, worshiped with a passion, and meditated into the very Throne Room of God. How was the latter possible?
The God-of-New-Beginnings is an exhaustless supply of satisfaction; He is a well that never runs dry, a spring that always wells up with fresh and life-giving waters. Every desire, even the deepest, can be completely satisfied by Him! In light of all that David has modeled for us throughout the Scriptures, could there ever be a greater or more worthy desire than to embrace God through a long obedience in seeking the Lord? No—a thousand times no!
That was David’s 3,000-year-old spiritual secret of success in serving God’s purposes in his own generation! And by God’s grace it can be yours and mine as well!

    My Closing Prayer for You:  Father in heaven, from the depth of our beings, from the center of all we are, we want to be found worthy when we stand before You face-to-face; we want to be there clothed in Your righteousness. We don't know when You are going to come or call us home. It could be that the days written in Your Book may end for us even this week. We therefore pray that we would live a life that is true and right—for You, Lord Jesus. We pray that You, Holy Spirit, will put Your finger into our hearts and point out any untoppled idols, unforsaken sins, and unrestrained areas of flesh in our lives. Lord, when you come or call for us, we don't want to be found living, talking, acting, or doing any of those things which displease You. May we make such choices while we're thinking about getting ready to stand before You with all the redeemed, with all the angelic hosts, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty." We love You, Lord! Captivate our hearts so that we, like David, will cry out with all that is within us: I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted!  In the blessed Name of Jesus. Amen