The Patience of David

Psalm 27 is one of David’s works, and it concludes on the ideas of patience and fortitude after describing distress in his life and hope in His Lord. Several Psalms put us in wonder of David’s attitude during the trials of his life.

  • I Samuel 21 records David meeting with Ahimelech for help but needing to continue to flee. Psalms 34 and 56 reflect on the despair in his life at this time.
  • I Samuel 22:3 shows David looking for sanctuary for his parents, but he has to flee again into the forests.
  • I Samuel 23 records David rescuing the inhabitants of Keilah from the Philistines, but they prepare to betray him to Solomon.
  • II Samuel 15:13 begins recounting David having to flee Jerusalem to avoid an uprising by his own son Absalom.

Most of us never have to flee our home and country to save our lives, to protect ourselves from family members who want to kill us as David’s. Imagine the mortal danger he was in. Saul or Absalom would have gladly killed David. He lived with the responsibility of those who helped him on his shoulders. Many were harmed or killed on his behalf. He moved from place to place. He lived in caves and forests for months on end. Additionally, many psalms demonstrate depressing bordering on his life.

Patience Like David’s

In Psalm 27:3 and verse 8 speak of him avoiding fear, and verse 14 describes his taking courage in the Lord. That same verse speaks of him and us waiting on the Lord. Patience is difficult for us in many settings. Whether we are working with things or with people, we tend to want instant gratification and resolution, but David tells us to wait. The solution is not ours to create. Rather, we should be looking to God.

This patience takes continual communion. We cannot remove ourselves from the Lord’s presence and then expect His intervention. This also takes continual prayer as illustrated in I Thessalonians 5:17, and we have to maintain ourselves in God’s presence. Like the Hebrew author warns, we should be wary of drifting away. Finally, staying in the fight is a necessary element to our spiritual patience. I Kings 18 records Elijah’s confrontation between himself and the prophets of Baal, but, by chapter 19, Jezebel has put a price on Elijah’s head. He is depressed and frightened, and God quietly appears to him on Mount Horeb, telling Elijah He still needs the prophet to work despite the obstacles.

God’s Promise of Strength

We are promised God’s goodness and strength, but He has not promised to remove our trials. Think of the apostles in Acts 5 who stand trial before many of the same men who worked to execute Jesus. They pray for strength to face trials. God has not promised to make our lives easy. In fact, the scriptures promise the opposite to those who follow Him, and nowhere does He promise us an explanation. Remember Job. He never understands the “why” of what he goes through. God delivers him but never offers explanation.

He does promise to strengthen our hearts, however. Trials make us stronger and equip us to help others. They make us grow closer to each other and to God. If we remain in communion with God and stay in His presence, if we stay in the fight and live prayerfully, we need not fear. We can be confident as David was in Psalm 27 as we wait patiently for the Lord.

lesson by Tim Smelser