David, his songs, the law, and your hunger


I’ve been reading about David in 1/2 Samuel. That led me to Psalm to hear firsthand David’s songs celebrating his life-journey with God, his rock and protector. The more I studied David’s songs, the more visible the thread of the law within them became (see Psalm 19, for example).

David did not have the New Testament. Jesus had not yet arrived. David met God in the pages of the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. The Torah represents Jewish law and tradition.

It occurred to me that I have never looked for God in the law. Like any relationship, though, I want to know everything I can about him, so my David study took a detour to Deuteronomy. In this text Moses preaches to the Israelites before they finally enter the land God promised them years earlier (Canaan) when he delivered them from bondage in Egypt.

[As an aside, see if this sounds familiar. — You finally realize that, left to your own devices, you are going to destroy your life. You are a slave to sin. In desperation, you cry out to God just in case he will help you. He rescues you; you accept Jesus’ healing grace. Despite this, you continue to stumble. Yet through this falling and rising you become stronger and closer to God. — You see, the Israelites’ story is not simple history, it is a living analogy for your relationship with the God of all creation.]

In Deuteronomy 8 Moses is reminding the Israelites of their path from Egypt to Canaan through the wilderness.

8 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. 2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

What struck me about this passage is that we need to be tested so that we will hunger for God. It’s required! This testing cannot happen in comfort; it must occur in the wilderness, away from what we consider safety. That hunger, however, leads us to sustenance that can only come from God. This manna is only supplied by him. We cannot store it up. We must gather it each day. We are fed by the word, God’s word. This is strong motivation to study the Bible!

Before we finish, let’s fast forward hundreds of years into the future from Deuteronomy. The word has arrived in the person of Jesus (John 1:1). Prior to beginning his ministry, Jesus follows a similar journey. It is described in Matthew 4.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

From Moses to David to Jesus, the Bible is an ornate tapestry. The threads of sin, bondage, struggle,  freedom, grace, and mercy are woven together over thousands of years. Your loss and pain have their solution in Jesus. He has been where you are. He knows. Cry out to him right now. Your rescue awaits.

About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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