I never wanted to be a songwriter as a career but have always been interested in writing songs and cowboy poetry.
As that interest grew, I got directed into a career in journalism and studied a very different type of writing that in some ways hurt that creative side.
The path God had for me changed even further.
It pulled me into ministry full time in the rodeo industry, so I was always pulled away from pursuing songwriting, even as a hobby.
The Psalms are written for music and are often the scriptures people go to when they need encouragement. Many are beautiful praises of God, but one in particular stands out as even more heartfelt than the rest.
Reading Psalm 51 brought tears to my eyes, one of only two times reading scripture produced that response.
I had finally learned enough about scripture to realize that David was pouring out his heart in grief and remorse to the terrible sin he had committed in having Uriah set up to be killed so David could take his wife, Bathsheba.
Despite all that David was to God and his importance to the coming of Jesus, it brought about his downfall, but in reading the Psalm, scripture became so real to me.
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions,” the passage reads.
“(2) Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin! (3) For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. (4) Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.”
In his heartfelt cries to God, I could see these weren’t just made up stories like some want to claim rather than face the reality that God exists.
These were David’s own words written over 2,000 years ago that were a direct response to what was outlined by another writer in another book of the Bible.
2 Samuel is an historic account believed to have been written in part by prophets named Samuel, Gad and Nathan.
While many of the Psalms were written by David, in 2 Samuel 11, you can read about the crimes that David committed as told by others, but in Psalm 51, you can read David’s own confession and pleas with God to make things right in him again.
The sincerity and pain come through in this ‘song’ and the reality of the truth of scripture even more.
For me, it was such a strong reminder of how real scripture is, and while David had to fall because of this incident, it’s a reminder of how perfect God’s plan is and how real his love is for us.
It’s an encouragement through song or poetry, however you view the style of the Psalms, to find the passion and love that David had for God, the Father.
Scott Hilgendorff is the pastor for Cowboys of the Cross, a rodeo/bull riding ministry that leads cowboy church services at events and maintains an online presence to make disciples among the ranch and rodeo community. It can be found at CowboysOfTheCross.com