Summary: Seven psalms written by David help us sense the intimate life of prayer and praise which was the foundation of his greatness.

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PSALMS 13–19

“But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation” (Ps. 13:5).

Seven psalms written by David help us sense the intimate life of prayer and praise which was the foundation of his greatness.


The believer trusts God (Ps. 13), but wicked men doubt His existence (Ps. 14). Righteous behavior (Ps. 15) and a dedicated heart (Pss. 16–17) bring blessing, for God Almighty saves His own from their enemies (Ps. 18). God declares His glory in creation and in His Word (Ps. 19).

Understanding the Text

Psalm 13: Benefits of Trust. The believer, like others, is vulnerable to despair—but can find peace through prayer.

“Sorrow in my heart” Ps. 13:1–6. David knew times of turmoil and uncertainty. The sense of impending disaster troubled him.

David turned to God and honestly expressed his feelings of impending doom (vv. 3–4). Then David remembered God’s “unfailing love,” and his emotions were transformed. The despair was replaced by rejoicing, and David found himself singing to the LORD (vv. 5–6).

This psalm reminds us that joy is just a prayer away from despair. We can bring our emotions as well as our needs to the LORD. As we focus on who the LORD is, our emotions will be transformed.

Psalm 14: The Fool and God. Evildoers never realize that the path they have chosen has brought them outside the circle of God’s love.

“The fool” Ps. 14:1–3. The Hebrew word, nabal, is a term that describes a person whose heart is closed to God and whose life is characterized by gross immorality (cf. Judg. 19:23–24; 2 Sam. 13:12; Josh. 7:15). This powerful psalm reflects Paul’s teaching in Romans 1. A person who will not acknowledge God becomes corrupt and does “vile” deeds. The psalm reminds us that no one who closes his heart to the LORD “does good, not even one.”

“Will evildoers never learn?” Ps. 14:4–7 David seemed to shake his head in bemused amazement. Even in this life evildoers live with a sense of dread. How much better off are the poor whom they exploit, who have a refuge in the LORD. God will soon act and “restore the fortunes” of His people.

We should never envy those who exploit us. We have access to God, and will be blessed in the end.

Psalm 15: A Blameless Life. Only the person who lives a righteous life has fellowship with the LORD.

“Dwell in Your sanctuary” Ps. 15:1. In Old Testament times God’s presence with Israel was symbolized in the temple. To “dwell in” that sanctuary pictures intimate fellowship with the LORD.

“He whose walk is blameless” Ps. 15:2–5. This simple description provides a good checklist against which to measure ourselves. And what a promise! “He who does these things will never be shaken.”

Psalm 16: A Heart for God. This beautiful psalm looks beyond behavior to portray the inner life of a man whose heart is filled with God.

“You are my LORD” Ps. 16:1–2. David knew God not just as LORD, but as “my” LORD. Apart from this relationship, nothing he had was “good” (beneficial, of benefit). David then went on to consider those good things which were his through personal relationship with the LORD.

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