This Poor Man Called: Stories and Songs of David (Volume 1)
By David G. Barker
David Barker takes a unique approach in this exploration of the psalms of David. Each chapter begins with a creative retelling of the biblical narrative, setting the scene for the psalm arising out of that experience. Having grounded the psalm in the “story,” Barker then goes into a verse-by-verse exposition of the psalm, and provides some explanatory notes and a statement of the key message of the psalm.
At the end of each psalm exposition, Barker asks three basic questions: What do we learn about God? What do we learn about ourselves as the people of God? and What do we learn about the world? Answering these questions helps us to understand how David’s experience shaped his theocentric and biblical worldview. David’s theology of God is of One who is sovereign in every situation and reigns as King. All of life is lived in the presence of God, and life and the act of worship, are an interactive dynamic of despair and hope, failure and success, sin and forgiveness (with consequences). David faced all of these, and his psalms reveal how his understanding of God grew and was enriched through these experiences.
It is hoped this practical look at David’s psalms will deepen your understanding of God and the transforming work accomplished on the cross by his Son, Jesus Christ.
What a great idea! This is a special book born of passion for the power of the biblical stories about David and the preaching of the Psalms that arose from the stories. The telling of the stories is done in a creative and yet realistic way, drawing from the author’s awareness of the historical context and scholarly issues—all of this with surprising imaginative twists along the way. The exposition of the related Psalms is clear and filled with compelling applications to the lives of people everywhere in all times.
RICHARD E. AVERBECK, Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
David Barker has invited us into the power of story through the life and psalms of David. With exegetical skill and practical application, he immerses us into the world of Israel’s shepherd-king, whose voice echoes living truths about the character and nature of God, and what we can learn about ourselves in the process. You will be not only spiritually rewarded by this read, but richly blessed as well.
JON KORKIDAKIS, Adjunct professor, Heritage College & Seminary, Cambridge, ON, Author of Touching God and The Trojan Horse of Leadership
David Barker has been a beloved Old Testament professor for four decades and has also been busy pastoring in local churches. He has wonderfully bridged the gulf between academia and the assembly. His students have gained insight from his particular interest in the Psalms. I recently heard David preach from an imprecatory psalm in a local church. He didn’t hold back from Psalm 10’s message with shepherding words about “times of lament” and a blunt and stern warning to all tyrants of the world. I will not soon forget his message; it offered me a glimpse into David’s prophetic heart. The following exploration of several Davidic psalms in both exposition and story allows the author to offer a glimpse into his shepherd’s heart. His stories nourish the soul and model the shepherd’s heart of another David we all know.
STEVEN JONES, President, The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada
This book is gold for those who sense they are stuck in a rut with how they traditionally study and interpret Scripture. Even for those who don’t sense it, they probably are. Taking the psalm titles seriously and matching David’s poetic longings with episodes in his life, Barker deftly retells the biblical stories with added historical and cultural details, helping modern readers understand the accounts closer to the way original hearers would have. Then he shows how the matching psalms take on fresh meaning and clearer application. It’s a hermeneutical tour de force.
D. BRENT SANDY, Manuscript Curator and Researcher, Grace College and Seminary, Formerly professor at several colleges & universities, most recently Wheaton College
Having known Dave Barker as a very close friend now for over three decades and having heard him speak on many occasions on his beloved Psalms, I am thrilled to see this two-volume work reaching many who have not had either the privilege of his friendship or that of hearing him. His love for Scripture, his careful exegesis of the Old Testament and his passion for God and his truth—key hallmarks of Dave’s life—are abundantly evident here. May God use these pages powerfully for the glory of his Name and the good of his people.
MICHAEL AZAD A.G. HAYKIN, Professor of Church History, Heritage Theological Seminary, Cambridge, ON & Professor of Church History, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY
Three decades ago, I learned to love the Psalms in Dr. Barker’s classrooms. The lessons learned then prepared me for the twists and turns of life and ministry through the intervening years. As I read these stories and expositions, I became David’s student again. I commend this book to those who need to learn more about God’s faithfulness and how to call out for it.
TIM BAHULA, ABWE Canada missionary