Worship as a fugitive and worship as a king

Lessons from King David: when life's tough and when it's great

by Emily Minto

Psalms 57 and 142 were written when David was hiding in a cave, with King Saul and his men pursuing him to try and take his life. He was under attack in a big way, yet he was praising and worshipping God.

In contrast to the dark distress of a cave, Psalm 30 is thought to have been written as the dedication of David’s ‘house’ or temple, after the Lord had delivered him of affliction. He was worshipping as a great King.

King David shows us how you can be honest about where you are at, but at the same time magnify God and praise His unchanging character regardless of your circumstance.


Read Psalm 57 and see how David sings about both his struggles and the sovereignty of God together.

One of the Hebrew words used throughout the Psalms that we translate as ‘praise’ or ‘thanksgiving’ is towdah. Towdah means to give worship by the extension of the hand in adoration or agreeing with what has been done or will be. This word is commonly found in connection with sacrifice; applying the giving of thanks or praise as a sacrifice before reception or manifestation. Basically, it is praising Him before the fact. Choosing to bring an offering of praise while times are tough.

It is not hypocritical to praise God when you are not ‘feeling like it’. Quite the opposite - it is an expression of trust in the greater truth: that God’s heart and character are more true than your current emotions! 'Extending our hand in adoration' in spite of our circumstances can move us from a place of being overwhelmed by our problems to being overwhelmed by the goodness and beauty of God.

When we get to heaven we will never again experience pain, disappointment or suffering. Our short time on this earth is our only opportunity to offer God the fragrance of worshipping in our humanity; of choosing to worship Him despite of – and in the midst of – our pain.

King David worshipped as a fugitive and worshipped as a king. Whether we are in tough times or if our life is great, we have the opportunity to declare as David did in Psalm 57:7: “My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident!”.


Take a Psalm (or another passage of Scripture), meditate on it and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal one aspect of God’s character to you. Choose to believe and declare the truth about God’s love and faithfulness, despite whatever your current circumstances may be.

Emily is a songwriter, worship leader and the worship pastor at Redhill Church. Read more about Emily in her previously published blog post 'Life as a Worshipper: My Story'.