Friday, September 07, 2012

King David: Blues Singer

Originally posted September 30, 2005 and modified today:

Ever notice how many of the Psalms were written when the author was in anguish over life's terrific problems? The old adage, "you can't sing the blues unless you've lived the blues" applies here. Since the Psalms were all set to music, that would make King David (and maybe Asaph as backup vocals) a blues singer, to use an analogy from today's world.

David made complaints about all kinds of things.  There are some who would look upon people today who make the same kinds of complaints that David did and label them as complainers, whiners, malcontents, people who won't "man up."  Yet if you look at the Psalms, David even complains against God.  He wonders where God is, and why God has forsaken him. 

Some would answer this claim by saying, "Yes, but if you read on to the end of the psalm, David praises God in some way.  Look at how many people who walk away from the faith start out.  They start by complaining.  So you're missing a big point here."  Not necessarily.  When people write music about their experiences, as David did, they may be looking back over a long period of time.  They may have had an extended period of questioning God.  Only later on do they come to praise him.  The song is simply a summary of a longer story.  The person who questions or is struggling doesn't need to be dismissed as somebody who is damaged beyond repair, even if it is viewed as self-inflicted.

Would God have us sing like David?  If not, it seems odd that such a human element of David's experiences would not be expected for us.

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