The Call of David
Cast your burden on the LORD, And he will sustain you;He will never permit The righteous to be moved (Ps. 55:12)
When I think of calling on the LORD, I think of Daniel and the Lion’s Den. I love this story.
This story is just filled with layers of meaning for me and it is one that I can return to over and over again and see something new every time I read it.
Usually, a call to the LORD is thought of as a response to fear or something bad happening. And, it is. I’m not going to tell you it is not.
You have a huge challenge before you; or
you have a disaster happen; or
you’re scared because something horrible is about to happen.
You feel that you are outside your ability to cope and
you call on the LORD.
I have no problem with this line of thinking.
But, Daniel and David are different. Their calling on the LORD was a character trait. It was what they were known for.
In the account of Daniel and the Lion’s Den, Daniel was over 80 years old. He had been living in Babylon for a long time.
In Daniel 6, the Babylonian King Darius, has taken notice of Daniel. He has promoted him over all the satraps in Babylon which created a lot of jealousy among the king’s advisors. In response, they tricked Darius into signing a law that would trap Daniel.
The advisors knew that Daniel prayed three times a day. He was known for it. Therefore, the advisors had Darius create a law that made it illegal to worship anyone or anything other than the king for 30 days or face execution.
Once the law was signed, the advisors ran to Daniel’s apartment and waited. When Daniel heard of the law, this is what he did…
"he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously..." (Dan. 6:10)
Clearly, Daniel prayed. However, the original language here suggests a ritual prayer of thanksgiving in which Daniel would get down on his knees. He would bend his arms back and forth at the elbows as if he is physically casting his cares on the LORD.
This ritualized prayer was not a response. It was what he had always done. He was calling on the LORD; casting his cares on Him just as Daniel had always done.
His thought was not,…Oh No! What am I going to do?
And, this prayer was not just a courageous response to something horrible that had happened. It was a ritual—his habit. He did what he had always done for 80 years.
He called on His LORD.
He did this three times a day. Just as we eat meals, Daniel called on his LORD in thanksgiving. Daniel was known for this.
He was on the LORD’s side.
Daniel and David were known to be the LORD’s because they habitually called on the LORD. Their confidence was in the LORD.
This is the perspective that David is praying from. He is saying,
I am on your side. Please, show my confidence to be glorifying to your name. Everyone knows I am with you. Show the world that my confidence is well-placed. And, bring the confidence of all these others to shame.
I believe this is what David is asking us to do in Psalm 55. He is asking us to be characterized as one who casts their cares on the LORD. He is asking us to not just run to the LORD when we are scared or fearful or something horrible happens. He is asking us to routinely and constantly cast our concerns on the LORD. To be known for it. And, I think Peter echoes this in I Peter 5; Paul does as well in Philippians 4; and the writer of Hebrews notes this in chapter 4.
Again, I am not promising that suddenly whatever pressure or stress or tension you are enduring will suddenly disappear. For Daniel, things did not suddenly get better just because he cast his care on the Lord.
Actually, in the short-term, things got worst. I think you know the rest of the story…
The promise here is that what was stressful before will not be. The oppressive tension will lessen and you will have peace. Actually, a peace that passes understanding (Phil. 4). You will come into a broad place as David says.
If today you are dealing with tribulation—pressure that feels oppressive from an outside force—, or your children or family is dealing with this sort of force, there are four things you should do.
All taken from Psalm 31, Here was David’s response:
1) reliance on God. Throw yourself on the promises. (v. 15)
2) God’s interest, focus on God’s interest in you. (v. 16)
3) confidence in God, Is God who he says he is? (v. 174) calling on God. Disciplined, ritualized casting of cares. (v. 17)
I believe this is where David returned when hiding in the Cave of Adullam, and when he was first chased by Saul. He rose out of that Cave with a rag-tag bunch and went on to save Keileh from a raid of the Philistines. Think of that, he was not drowning in persecution anymore but saving others. Yet, he was still chased.