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Thursday, January 03, 2008

More Learning from King David

Okay, so here's the second revelation I've had in my latest journey through the book of Psalm. We get to see King David pour out his heart to his God. And that pouring out reveals much about his relationship with God. In fact, it reveals much about my relationship with God!

Much of what David prays for is the usual stuff. Protection, forgiveness, help in time of need or distress, strength to go on, etc. He prays for the kind of things you and I probably pray for too.

So today's revelation is in the one thing that David prayed for which Christians today probably would never think of praying for ... his reputation. Any good, self-respecting, albeit humble Christian typically excels at false modesty, and would never publicly pray for his reputation. In Psalm 25:2, he quite plainly says, "Do not let me be disgraced, ..." Again in Psalm 25:20, David prays to God, "Do not let me be disgraced ...."

David's theme continues in Psalm 31:1, "... don't let me be put to shame." Then Psalm 31:17, "Don't let me be disgraced, O Lord ..." This seems to have been an important matter to David. Perhaps the definition of the word will reveal something. says that disgraced means "the loss of respect, honor, reputation, esteem." Nope, it pretty much means what I thought it meant. I'm just more than surprised to notice that David was praying for the preservation of his respect and honor in the community, reputation and esteem.

I must confess that heretofore, I've pretty much concluded that God didn't care much about my reputation. I figured reputation, esteem and other such matters were matters of the pride. We all know how pride can be the terrible sin that it is. I assumed that my reputation and respect in the community were worthless to God. But they weren't worthless to David. And he was "a man after God's own heart." So it wouldn't seem that they could really be worthless to God.

Keep in mind that I'm not trying to pull context out where it doesn't exist. Psalm 51 is a great view of David owning his brokenness, asking God to make him righteous and committing himself to God's ways of living. I get that. It's the prayer I most can identify with in terms of how I want to be with God.

So we get this picture of this broken, selfish, sinful man after God's own heart. Because he is that man after God's own heart, he also owns his mistakes, is grieved by his behavior and repents with fervor. Why, this guy even asked God to forgive him for sins he might not be aware of having committed. I can identify with David. I really can.

Now it seems that I need to identify with David. So here's my prayer.

"Lord, forgive me for selling you short. Forgive me for imagining that the things you've given me aren't important to you. Forgive me for being so shortsighted as not to realize extent of the way I represent you. Father, I confess that I have assumed my representation of you and your goodness lies in the work I do for you. Never did I imagine that it lies more in who I am and how I'm known. What a big thing to overlook. And Lord, if it's not too much trouble, don't let me be disgraced either. Amen."

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