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by Editor - Wiliam Robertson Nicoll
With a few exceptions, the recorded songs of David bear unmistakable signs of the poet's youth. The chief poet of the Hebrew Psalter is undoubtedly the young shepherd, and not the aged ruler, the fugitive outcast, battling for safety and position, and not the serenely victorious monarch, swaying an unquestioned sceptre far and near. David's life enforces the special service of song in the building up of religious character.
I. Whether David's songs were composed early or late, every one has seen that the majority of this sweet singer's effusions are the songs of a sufferer, who sings for the convincing reason that he must, if only to soothe his perplexities and calm the agitations of his soul. No singer reaches his best till he sings, in language that thrills and inspires the soul, the eternal gospel, "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God: believe also in Christ" believe also in duty, in progress, in heaven. But for such a mission the singer must, like David, be a sufferer. It is the school of sorrow that makes poets.
II. It is a unique sign of a Davidic psalm that it is always a real and bold communion with the living and loving personal God. Every poem is a sacrifice. Every line throbs with love. Every verse is a word to God. The aid of Biblical song in communion with God is the highest claim the Psalter has upon the gratitude and love of man.
III. Such, however, are the manifold fascinations and various uses of the Psalter, that possibly as many minds are won and held by its interpretation of life as by its help in fellowship with God. David sees life as it is, and sees it wholly, what is above it, and around it, and beyond it, as well as what is in it; hears what it says; and reads what it means.
IV. We often talk about proofs of inspiration. Might we not intelligently rest our whole case on this ministry of Bible song? Judged only by the clear thought they create, the pure emotion they kindle, the love of right they inflame, the energy they infuse, the Psalms are positively unmatched in the whole literary expression of the world. Like magnets, they have attracted to the acceptance of the highest ideals, and sustained the bravest as they have forgotten what was behind and striven to reach the mark of the prize of their high calling of God in Christ Jesus. The family has been sanctified by their purity, the weary refreshed by their sweetness, and the hopeless revived by their light. Old and young, the living and the dying, have drunk from this perennial fount of the waters of everlasting life, and lived for evermore.
J. Clifford, Daily Strength for Daily Living, p. 181.
the Third Week after Epiphany