David’s life began as a young shepherd boy keeping watch over his father’s flock as they grazed along the hillsides of Judea. Being the youngest son of Jesse, he was the one chosen by God to be the next king of Israel. The current king, Saul, showed great jealousy over the selection of David before the end of his reign had taken place, attempting to pin David to the wall of his palace with a javelin not once, but twice on two different occasions (1 Samuel 18-19).
The Psalms are the writings of David as he experienced life as a shepherd boy and also as a man on the run, for his life, from the king. Throughout the Psalms David’s emotions are on full display, from triumphant in victories over the lion and bear attacking the flock and the defeat of Goliath, to the despair he felt in the forced separation from his best friend Jonathan, King Saul’s son. There were those who hailed David as victor for his acts of valor, and those in confederate with King Saul who sought to fulfill the King’s wishes in seeing David’s demise.
Many of David’s Psalms begin with hopelessness and despair but find their way to praising God for His goodness, faithfulness, longsuffering, deliverance, and/or salvation before their conclusion. David’s answer in Psalm 42 to being cast down and disquieted was to “Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God” (v.11).
Psalm 3 “LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me,” (v.1). “Arise, O LORD, save me… Salvation belongeth unto the Lord,” (vs.7-8).
Psalm 12 “Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth,” (v.1). “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth,” (v.6).
Psalm 35 “Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me,” (v.1). “My soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in His salvation,” (v.9).
Psalm 56 “Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up,” (v.1). “In God will I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me,” (v.11).