by Pastor Martha-Jean Fitch

January 21, 2018

TEXT:  I Samuel 16:14-21, Psalm 40:1-3


            Pastor MJShepherd me O God.  Oh, how those words from Psalm 23 can bless and encourage us.   I wonder how many people have been strengthened and comforted from these incredible words, written by King David almost 3,000 years ago.  I am sure there have been times in your life when the words of Psalm 23 spoke to you in a powerful way or maybe it was another psalm whose words just seem to capture your exact feelings or situation you were going through.   It seems those psalms are ageless – speaking to people of all generations, in all different kinds of situations.


            Of the 150 psalms written in the Old Testament, there are some 76 written by King David.   We don’t know where David was or what was happening in his life at the time he wrote “The Lord is my Shepherd”.   Whenever I think of Psalm 23, I have always imagined as a young shepherd boy, writing these words.   There he sits, with his harp in hand, singing a song of faith in his Lord – the Good Shepherd.   I think this must have been a picture I saw at Sunday School as a child or maybe in a children’s Bible story book.


            We do know that David was a skilled harp player – and that others knew that about him.   He had a reputation – he didn’t keep his musical talent or song-writing skills quiet – nor did he hide his faith.   And that gift of music made a big difference for King Saul.


            Our Scripture reading today is from I Samuel 16.  There we read how King Saul was living in darkness – and needed someone to bring him light.   Follow along with me as I read to you I Samuel 16:14-18:


14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and the Lord sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear.  15 Some of Saul’s servants said to him, “A tormenting spirit from God is troubling you. 16 Let us find a good musician to play the harp whenever the tormenting spirit troubles you. He will play soothing music, and you will soon be well again.” 17 “All right,” Saul said. “Find me someone who plays well, and bring him here.” 18 One of the servants said to Saul, “One of Jesse’s sons from Bethlehem is a talented harp player. Not only that—he is a brave warrior, a man of war, and has good judgment. He is also a fine-looking young man, and the Lord is with him.”


David was brought to the court of King Saul to play his harp. Verse 23 tells us:


23 And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit would go away.


            Could it be that one of the songs that David played and sang for King Saul was Psalm 23?   We don’t know from the text.   But I think we can be sure that David played and sang a song of faith.   David had a deep faith in the living God –who was his shield – his refuge and strength; His Savior and Lord.   I think we can be sure a song of faith was what lifted up the spirit of Saul…a song sung in the dark night of his soul.


            Just think about it.   King Saul surely had other court musicians that could have played for him.   And perhaps they did – but none made the difference that the songs of David did.   I think it was because David’s songs were based on faith – what he believed and knew about God!


            As we go through life – in all our ups and downs – the song we need to keep on our lips is that song of faith.   The only strong foundation we have is our faith in Jesus Christ.  Faith gives you the ability to see the light of Christ when all you see around your is darkness.   Remember in whom you believe – our great God and Redeemer Jesus Christ.   There is no better name than the name of Jesus!


Text Box: SONG:  WE BELIEVE - 1st service
“Oh, How I Love Jesus” – 2nd service






David sang his songs of faith – to help King Saul who was struggling in the darkness.   What he believed about God – would help Saul feel better and the tormenting spirit would go away.


       David believed with all his heart in God Almighty.   It was said that David was a man after God’s own heart, so deep was his faith.   But Saul was different.   He was a man after his own heart.   He was deeply focused on himself – being very insecure and jealous and vengeful.   The music David sang to him only relieved Saul temporarily.   He didn’t let the belief of God sink down deep in his heart.  


       We know this because when David became very popular after he killed Goliath – Saul became incredibly jealous.   It says in I Samuel 18:10: 


10 The very next day a tormenting spirit[a] from God overwhelmed Saul, and he began to rave in his house like a madman. David was playing the harp, as he did each day. But Saul had a spear in his hand, 11 and he suddenly hurled it at David, intending to pin him to the wall. But David escaped him twice.


And from that time on, David had to flee for his life.   No one knows for sure how long David was on the run from Saul – some say it was as much as 7 years!   But we do know he kept singing in the night!   Many of the psalms tell us they were written while David was on the run from Saul.   David sang songs, crying for help – for God to come and rescue him.  Psalm 40:13-17 says:


Please, Lord, rescue me!
    Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
14 May those who try to destroy me
    be humiliated and put to shame.

16 But may all who search for you
    be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
    repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”
17 As for me, since I am poor and needy,
    let the Lord keep me in his thoughts.
You are my helper and my savior.
    O my God, do not delay.


            How much we are like David at times – we feel poor and needy –overwhelmed with our guilt or anger – our anxiety or fear that seems to pursue us.  Oh, how we need the Lord to be our help.   Because without Him – our lives would just fall apart.

Text Box: SONG:  LORD I NEED YOU – 1st servcie
“I Need Thee Every Hour” – 2ndservice

       And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You, Jesus You're my hope and stay.   Have you ever felt that way – that you just can’t stand?  Perhaps you just feel overwhelmed with life – you don’t know which way to turn – you’re just down or discouraged or even depressed.   I imagine that David often felt like that while he was on the run from Saul – and at other times in his life.  But he had to be reminded of the hope he had in the Lord.


       Psalm 42:5 is a song of hope for times just like that.   The psalmist says:   Why am I discouraged?   Why is my heart so sad?   I will put my hope in God!   I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God!   Now I am deeply discouraged but I will remember you.   Each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me and through each night I sing His songs praying to God who gives me life.


       Remembering who God is – singing a song of hope – is one of the best antidotes for those down times.   That song of hope can lead you into the light that shines brightly in the darkness.


I often sing “You are my All in All” as a way to remind me who God is and fill my heart with His strength and hope.   Sing this next song with conviction and praise to God who is our everything!





Do you have something to sing about?   Do you have Someone to sing about?   And do those words sink down deep into your soul – making a difference in your life?   Can you sing them when you are in the light and happy?  Can you sing them in the night – when you are sad or hurting?


       Jesus wants to become your song!   He is standing here today, knocking on the door of your heart.   He wants to come in and be your constant companion and your song in the night.   He wants to come and live within your heart because He loves you so very much.


       Won’t you decide today to trust Him with all your heart, soul and mind?    Put your trust in Him – the one who is faithful and will never leave your side.   Trust Him as Your Savior and make Him Lord of your life.   Won’t you make a decision for Him this day, as we stand and sing.

Text Box: SING:  WHOM SHALL I FEAR? – 1st service
“Blessed Assurance” – 2nd service