PSALMIC EXPRESSIONS OF CONFLICT
One of the primary values of the Psalms is their precise articulation of spiritual experience. Like Paul, David was a man "born out of due time" (1 Cor 15:8).In relation to his Apostleship, Paul was born after his commissioned peers. David, on the other hand, was born before the formation of the body of Christ. The people of his time simply did not have the appreciation for his spiritual sensitivity that those in Christ possess.
Unwilling to be reconciled to the deficiencies of his lower nature, David challenged his soul. "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance" (Psa 42:5). These are the words of a soul in conflict.
Describing the frustration of inhibiting inner influences, David wrote, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" (Psa 42:1,2). He was deeply cognizant of the inadequacy of this "dry and thirsty land, where no water is" (Psa 63:1). His spiritual appetite could not be satisfied from the shallow wells of this world. That is the essence of the conflict of which I speak.
Viewing his life from the higher perspective, and in view of his desire to be with the Lord Himself, David wrote, "I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart" (Psa 38:8). This was not the expression of a morose spirit that lived beneath the clouds of despair. He had seen enough of God to whet his appetite for more--more than earth could give. His desires reached far beyond the limitations of this world. The Psalmist's "roarings" were similar to the "groans" of the believer (Rom 8:23; 2 Cor 5:2,4). They were intensified because of the lesser light possessed by David.
Conflict with society
Like Enoch and Noah, David experienced variance with his generation. Often the wicked seemed to surround him, tempting him to become reconciled to them. It is then that he would fervently pray. "Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me" (Psa 36:11). "Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity" (Psa 64:2). Fellowship with God necessarily involved conflict. Its requirements are no different today!
In a unique description of conflict with the wicked, the Psalmist wrote, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night" (Psa 1:1,2).