|Topical Bible Study||May 1962|
The People in God’s Plan—Lesson XI
David, Prophet and Psalmist
DAVID was greatly used by Jehovah as one of his holy prophets. He foretold the coming of the Messiah, depicted his suffering and death, and described the establishment and glory of his kingdom. David also foretold many of the blessings of restitution which will reach the people through Messiah’s kingdom.
We think of David’s role as a psalmist more particularly in connection with the inspiring devotional truths which he set forth, although his prophecies also appear in the form of psalms. Many of the psalms in The Book of Psalms were written personally by David. While Moses wrote the 90th Psalm, it is with David that Israelitish psalmody may be said virtually to commence. Doubtless David’s psalms did much to inspire later servants of God to use this method of expression.
The first forty-one psalms were all written by David, and it is believed that he compiled these into a book, which later was used in the temple services. Eventually the whole Book of Psalms was thus used. It would not be out of place to say that David’s psalms became the inspiration for the entire book, and while our references in this study will be largely to the psalms actually written by David, some will not.
THE coming of the Messiah is described in one of David’s prophecies as man being visited, and in this visit the Messiah represents the Creator. (Ps. 8:3-8) This is an interesting viewpoint. God had created man in his own image, and had given him dominion over the earth. This constituted him a member of God’s royal family, with the earth his domain. This meant that even though he had transgressed divine law, man was sufficiently important in God’s viewpoint to warrant a visit, with the view of helping him out of his difficulty.
The Apostle Paul quotes David’s prophecy concerning Messiah’s visit. He indicates that the purpose of this visit was to restore man to his lost dominion over the earth. Paul observes that this purpose had not yet been accomplished, but that Jesus had come as a man to suffer and die for the human race, thus preparing the way for man’s restoration to life and to his lost dominion.—Heb. 2:6-9
In another of David’s prophesies of the coming and work of Jesus as the Redeemer and Savior of the world, he presents Jesus as taking the place of the typical sacrifices of the Jewish Age, and presenting himself to God as a human sacrifice. (Ps. 40:6-8) This prophecy is quoted in the New Testament and applied to Jesus.—Heb. 10:6-9
Not only did David prophesy concerning the sacrificial work of Jesus, but he also foretold some of the details of the Master’s experience while dying on the cross. He notes his prayer, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”; the dividing of his garments; his severe thirst; and the mocking and scorn that was heaped upon him.—Ps. 22:1-9,13-18; 69:21
In still another prophecy concerning the suffering and death of Jesus, David presents the Redeemer as having great confidence in the fact that he would be raised from the dead and exalted to heavenly glory, where he would experience the great joy of being forever in the presence of his Heavenly Father.—Ps. 16:8-11; Heb. 12:2
David also foretold the kingdom authority and power of Jesus, whom he describes as the Lord’s “Anointed.” He represents him as reigning from symbolic Mount Zion; that all the nations of the earth will be given to him as an inheritance; and that those who do not obey the righteous laws of his kingdom will be destroyed. In this prophecy the kings of the earth are urged to make friends with the new King.—Ps. 2:11,12; Rev 2:6,7
In another of David’s prophecies of Messiah’s kingdom he declares that the meek who praise the Lord shall be satisfied, and that in the kingdom all the ends of the earth shall turn unto the Lord.—Ps. 22:26-28
Another psalm prophesies the great “time of trouble” that would immediately precede the full establishment of Christ’s kingdom, using the symbolism of troubled waters to picture the disturbed masses of mankind, even as Jesus did. (Ps. 46:1-3; Luke 21:25,26) This prophecy also assures us that ultimately all weapons of warfare will be destroyed by the Lord, and that the time of trouble will be brought to a close by the commanding authority and power of the Lord.—Ps. 46:8-10
David also prophesied that the time would come when all nations would worship the Lord, recognizing his greatness, and the wonderful things he was doing for the people.—Ps. 86:9,10
In another prophecy pertaining to Messiah’s kingdom David assures us that then the Lord will satisfy the desire of every living thing. This harmonizes with Isaiah’s prophecy that the Lord would make a feast of fat things unto all people.—Ps. 145:11-16; Isa. 25:6
Another psalm prophesies that the reign of the Messiah would also accomplish a judgment work among the people, and that it would be a time of great rejoicing.—Ps. 96:10-13; 98:7-9
In another revealing prophecy which speaks of Jesus’ being anointed to the highest of all positions in the kingdom, it is foretold that the fathers of Israel, the Ancient Worthies, would, as the human representatives of the kingdom, be made “princes in all the earth.”—Ps. 45:6,7,16
David foretold that in the kingdom all evil doers would be cut off in death, and that the meek and obedient would inherit the earth and dwell therein.—Ps. 37:9-11,22,38
In still another prophecy of Christ’s kingdom we are informed that the poor would be judged righteously; that the people would be given peace; that the children of the needy would be saved; the great oppressor destroyed; that the righteous will flourish, and that the rulership of the kingdom will be world-wide.—Ps. 72:1-8
In the Scriptures the long reign of sin and death is likened to a nighttime of darkness. Darkness is frequently used in the Bible to symbolize a lack of the knowledge of God, and a state of alienation from him which results in sorrow, suffering, and death. In one of his prophecies of the kingdom David uses this symbol, and in contrast tells us that great joy will come to the people in the “morning.”—Ps. 30:5
As a psalmist David was eloquent in his praise to God for all his marvelous blessings, and also in declaring his great appreciation for the laws of God and his desire to be obedient to them. David also eloquently exalts the glory of God. In one of his psalms he calls attention to God’s glory in the heavens, and then calls attention to the powerful influence the laws and statutes of the Lord should exercise in the lives of those who are devoted to him.—Ps. 19
David wrote that the man whose delight was in the law of the Lord, and who did not sit in the seat of the scornful, would be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. Isaiah called these “trees of righteousness.” (Ps. 1:1-6; Isa. 61:3) In this psalm David also prophesied that ultimately the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Outstanding among the devotional psalms written by David is the one in which he likens the Lord to a shepherd, and to his people as sheep. (Ps. 23) In his youth David had been a shepherd boy, and this gave him the necessary knowledge, by experience, to express beautiful thoughts of divine care and protection as illustrated by a shepherd’s care for his sheep.
In another psalm probably David’s, a number of symbols are used to help us grasp the reality of divine care and protection in the lives of God’s people. He speaks of the “secret place,” evidently a reference to the holy of the typical tabernacle. He likens the Lord to a place of “refuge,” and to a “fortress,” and assures us that the Lord delivers his people from “the snare of the fowler.” Using the illustration of a mother hen hiding her chicks under her wings, David tells that the Lord will cover us with his “feathers,” and hide us under his “wings,” and that his truth shall be to us as a “shield” and as a “buckler.”—Ps. 91:1-4
We could go on calling attention to the many wonderful thoughts of praise and adoration to God, and of admonitions to be obedient to him, as found in the psalms. To read these and to meditate upon them helps one to realize why the Lord referred to David as being a man after his own heart, and why he was used so prominently in connection with the outworking of God’s loving plan of the ages.
WHAT are some of the main things in the plan of God which, as a prophet, David foretold?
What other important truths are found in David’s psalms? Were all the psalms in The Book of Psalms written by David?
How does David describe the coining of the Messiah in the 8th Psalm?
Explain Paul’s observations relative to David’s prophecy in which he speaks of all things being put under man.
In which of the psalms did David prophesy that the Redeemer, by his own sacrifice, would supplant the typical sacrifices of the Jewish Age?
What are some of the details of Jesus’ suffering that were foretold by the Prophet David?
In which psalm did David foretell the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and his exaltation to the right hand of God?
In which of his psalms did David prophesy that Jesus would be set as Icing on Mount Zion, and that the people of all nations would be required to obey him?
David prophesied that “all the ends of the earth” would turn to the Lord. Cite this prophecy.
In which of David’s prophetic psalms did he foretell the great “time of trouble”? Explain the symbolisms in this prophecy.
How, according to David’s prophecy, is the “time of trouble” to be brought to an end?
When will all nations worship the Lord, and recognize his greatness?
When, as foretold by David, will the desire of every living thing be satisfied?
Cite two psalms in which David foretold that the period of Christ’s kingdom would also be a time of judgment.
Who will, in the kingdom, be the human representatives of the divine Christ?
Who alone, in the kingdom, will inherit the earth and dwell therein?
Enumerate the many blessings of Christ’s kingdom as foretold in the 72nd Psalm.
Explain David’s use of the symbols “night” and “morning” in one of his prophecies pertaining to the blessings of Christ’s kingdom.
As a Psalmist
What are some of the characteristics of David’s devotional psalms?
Explain the illustration of a “tree planted by the rivers of water.”
Quote the 23rd Psalm, and explain some of its reassuring lessons.
Name some of the symbols of protection used in the 91st Psalm.
What general lesson do we derive concerning David himself by reading his psalms of devotion?
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT THOUGHTS
David, as a prophet of the Lord, foretold many vital facts concerning the coming of the Messiah; his suffering and death as the world’s Redeemer, and the establishment and blessings of his kingdom. This faithful servant of the Lord was eloquent in his psalms of praise and devotion to God.