After Goliath, Psalm 9

It had to be surreal for David to look around at the landscape after the nine-foot giant fell. Did he feel the ground shudder when the giant hit? Was there this cloud of dust, then a panicked look in the eyes of the Philistine as it all settled? Was there this moment of stillness before the armies behind him went crazy and charged the line? When did David start shaking from the shock?

I will thank Yahweh with all my heart;
I will declare all Your wonderful works.
I will rejoice and boast about You;
I will sing about Your name, Most High.

Psalm 9:1-2

It was a fairly bloody aftermath. David chopped off Goliath’s head and took it back to Jerusalem with him. The Israeli army found their courage and finally attacked the Philistines and drove them back to the border leaving a trail of bodies.

Was David to become king now? Was it time yet? How much longer could the nation survive with Saul as king anyway? Could he co-exist in the same space as Saul?

But the Lord sits enthroned forever;
He has established His throne for judgment.
He judges the world with righteousness;
He executes judgment on the nations with fairness.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a refuge in times of trouble.
Those who know Your name trust in You
because You have not abandoned those who seek You, Yahweh.

Psalm 9:7-11

David was now to be the armor-bearer and son-in-law to Saul. He could see the torment and jealousy. He could see the hate boiling inside the man. What kind of game was God playing here between the king that was and the king to be?

Saul defaults to the only thing he knows: self-preservation. David defaults to the only thing he knows: God-Exultation.

Be gracious to me, Lord;
consider my affliction at the hands of those who hate me.
Lift me up from the gates of death,
so that I may declare all Your praises.
I will rejoice in Your salvation
within the gates of Daughter Zion.

Psalm 9:13-14

What other teenager had this to bear? David holds the burden of becoming the future king. He is a national war hero who has to wait on the Lord. He is a young man who will have to grow up fast, as he will be chased across the nation by his own king.

But all of that is in the future. For now, in this moment, he stands.

He pauses and writes a song: a poem.

It’s something to capture this fleeting moment of victory. He attempts to put it into proper perspective.

What is amazing about David is not his skill with a sling while facing a giant with 15 pound spear. It’s not the assurance he has in the training God has put him through so that he can bypass the armor of the king. It’s not even his maturity to just let his older brothers be jealous and talk evil about him.

It’s this moment right here. He can see the battle for what it really is. It’s a statement from the Lord. It’s a reminder to both nations who is really in charge. David doesn’t claim the battle for himself or even for his country.

He knows that at the end of the day they are just men. Men will falter. Men will fail. The only real hope of the Lord rests not in the strength of men but in the strength of the Lord.

And this is why David is a man after God’s heart.

Rise up, Lord! Do not let man prevail;
let the nations be judged in Your presence.
Put terror in them, Lord;
let the nations know they are only men.

Psalm 9:19-20

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