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St. Hilary, having shown that the great and wonderful things mentioned in Psalm 130(131) are the things men see as glorious (and therefore would cause us to lift up our eyes from God to see them), he paints for us an example of someone who does not walk amid things great and wonderful which are above us:

For David, prophet and king as he was, once was humble and despised and unworthy to sit at his father’s table; but he found favour with God, he was anointed to be king, he was inspired to prophesy. His kingdom did not make him haughty, he was not moved by hatreds: he loved those that persecuted him, he paid honour to his dead enemies, he spared his incestuous and murderous children. In his capacity of sovereign he was despised, in that of father he was wounded, in that of prophet he was afflicted; yet he did not call for vengeance as a prophet might, nor exact punishment as a father, nor requite insults as a sovereign. And so he did not walk amid things great and wonderful which were above him.

David, though he was a prophet and a king, (like all of us) once fell into great sin. He desired Bathsheba, who was married. He committed adultery and then murder to cover up his sin. The son that resulted from this lust died as an infant. David, seeing the fruit of his error repented as is recorded in Psalm 50(51). It was this repentance and humility in which God found favor.

Learning his lesson, David continued to avoid the great and wonderful things of men. Though he was despised, persecuted and wounded he refused to use his power as king, prophet and father to take his vengeance. To take that road would have been to seek the glory of man — the trappings of power that come with being a king, prophet and father. Rather, he kept his eyes upon the Lord and the humility that was given him through his repentance.

All of us, throughout our lives, are given power over others. We are afforded the opportunity to exercise that power for our own gratification and glorification. That path, however, lifts our eyes to the great and wonderful things of man. David once took that path. It did not bring him greatness, but rather tragedy. David is considered to be great because of his humility, his ability to keep his eyes upon God and avoid the path that seeks the glory of man. This greatness is open to all of us through the repentance and humility of David.