Reading: Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe. Psalm 119:117

The picture which the Holy Spirit has given in Scripture of David’s character and life is complex. In some details David is a blessed type of Christ and an example to follow. Yet in other respects the frailty of his humanity is very evident and his vices present a solemn warning which we do well to heed. So long as we enjoin the right spirit there can be as much blessing in dwelling upon David’s defects as dwelling upon his graces because none of us know how weak we are until God withholds His upholding grace.

We read of Hezekiah that God left him to try him that he might know all that was in his heart (2 Chronicles 32:31). The same is clear from the life of Peter (Mark 14:66–72), in the nation of Israel in their failed assault of Ai (Joshua 7:2–5), and perhaps the most blatantly in the life of Samson (Judges 16:20).

The Lord has plainly said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” We think we believe that word and in many ways we do, yet there is vast difference between assenting to a truth in the mind and living it out in the life. It is one thing to say that we are without strength and it is another thing to know and believe it. This is a lesson we must learn and relearn. The prayer before us today should be a constant petition through the vicissitudes of life, in the highs and the lows, and during the simple and mundane routine of life.

The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave, for a season, His own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and the deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends. —The Westminster Confession of Faith (5:5: “Of Providence”)