King David Worship | An Example for Us

When the topic of worship comes up, it usually doesn’t take long for the conversation to wind to the words and life of King David. He penned the vast majority of the book of Psalms, and God Himself said of David that he was “a man after My own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). David’s life was remarkable and memorable for so many reasons, and, for all his victories, he experienced some notable defeats. But one thing we know for sure–King David worshipped with all his heart, epitomizing the true meaning of praise and worship

There’s a lot we can learn from King David’s example. King David worshipped, but he also had… 

  • Audacious faith in God’s power in sovereignty as he eagerly faced Goliath
  • Unthinkable trust in God’s faithfulness to execute justice as he fled for his life from the wrath of Saul
  • A humble and repentant heart when confronted by Samuel over his own wickedness and sin

Through David’s life, we discover the DNA of a worshipper who is after the very heart of God. 

How King David Worshipped

  1. David had a craving for God

When he was wandering in the wilderness, he penned these words: “My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land” (Psalm 63:1). More than food and water, David was desperate for the presence of God in his life because he knew who truly sustained him. 

We see this desperation again in Psalm 27: “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord…” (Psalm 27:4). If he could have one thing – just one – it would be to abide in the presence of his God. 

When we desire the presence of God above all else, we live in alignment with our design as worshippers of Him. It’s what we were created for and what we will spend eternity doing (see Revelation 4, 5). David understood this, and even though he experienced seasons of wealth and times of poverty, God alone was the source of his strength (Psalm 31:4). 

Do you crave the presence of God? If you don’t, ask Him to give you a greater desire for Him and to know Him as the true source of all things good.

  1. David had confidence in God

Everyone knows the tale of David and Goliath – a teenage boy taking on a ten-foot giant; a battle royale anyone would pay to see. You would think David would have some nerves. Not even Saul, the warrior king of Israel, had the guts to face Goliath. But David couldn’t stand the thought of an adversary defying the Living God, and had not even an iota of doubt that, if he stood toe to toe with the giant, nothing more than a slingshot and some stones in hand, God would deliver him: “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37). 

They tried to talk him out of it, but nothing could phase his faith. And we see how it turned out in the end – his faith held fast in the face of the impossible, and God brought about a swift victory.

Hebrews 11:6 says that “without faith it is impossible to please [God].” His heart is moved by our faith in Him; that He is who He says He is – sovereign, in control, trustworthy, faithful, just, merciful, compassionate, true. 

David had abundant confidence in God. Do you? If not, humbly ask, and God will supply it, just like he did for the father of a sick child in Mark’s gospel: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

  1. David had character before God

First Samuel 24 and 26 each give an account of a prime opportunity for David to put an end to his misery. King Saul, seeing David as a threat to his reign, is relentlessly hunting him down to take matters into his own hands. 

However, when David has a chance to put an end to Saul and enact his own version of justice, he doesn’t take it – multiple times. Everyone in his circle is begging him to take Saul’s life. Instead, he appeals to Saul before God that his intention is to honor him as God’s anointed and not be the means through which Saul meets his end. He would rather keep running if that meant his conscience was clear before his God.

Remember, the end of Saul’s life would mean the beginning of David’s reign – out of hiding and into the palace living as King of Israel. But his immense trust in God kept him blameless in His sight. He believed that in the end, God would uphold him: “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity; I have also trusted in the Lord; I shall not slip. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and heart. For your lovingkindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in your truth” (Psalm 26:1-3).

Do you trust God enough to follow Him, even when it goes against everything you may feel? Even when it makes no sense? Can you honestly say you have integrity before Him? None are without fault, and David is no exception. 

But like David, are you quick to set your mind and heart before God, asking Him to examine you and reveal any way that contradicts His own (Psalm 139)? 

If not, ask Him to build your trust in Him so that when temptation comes, you stand firm. He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Church band playing live for the service.
  1. David had rich communion with God.

What is so intriguing about the Psalms is that there is a question of doubt for every declaration of faith. Psalm 22 is a great example. On the same page, we see David ask, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (v. 1) and declare, “The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek Him will praise the Lord” (v. 26). 

David’s craving, confidence, and character ushered in a wave of communion with the Creator of the universe where he could be completely vulnerable and completely reassured. 

Psalm 23 is such a fitting passage to follow, where he declares, “The Lord is my Shepherd” (v. 1). David not only had reverence for God – he had relationship with Him. David knew God because he understood his need for Him, trusted Him, and followed Him.

The way King David worshipped models great trust in and a strong relationship with God. 

However, Jesus models these perfectly. 

Jesus is the better David…

  • Even as a boy, he needed to be in His Father’s house because He craved the presence of the Father (Luke 2:49). 
  • He entrusted his life into the Father’s hands when it meant excruciating suffering was coming (Luke 22:42).
  • He walked in absolute perfection, blameless before God and men, without spot or blemish as the pure and spotless lamb who would take away the sins of the world (2 Corinthians 5:21). 
  • He enjoyed ceaseless fellowship with the Father, saying in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.”

God is seeking King David worship–those who walk in the footsteps of Jesus and be worshippers after His own heart; who will worship in spirit and truth. 

Do we want what was said of David and what was embodied perfectly in Jesus to be said of us? 

Then may we crave His presence above all else, walk confidently in all He calls us to do and be, maintain integrity and character in His eyes by forsaking sin and humbly walking in repentance, and commune with Him as we abide in His love.

If we do, we will live in alignment with what we were created for: worship.