Somehow David had a way of grasping New Testament teaching in an Old Testament world. In Psalm 86, he said, Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Preserve my life for I am godly. First of all, if he hadn’t said he was poor and needy, we might have felt that calling himself godly was a little rich. But David understood that repentance brought him God’s forgiveness. When he was forgiven, he was pure before God. What ensured that godliness was his humility.
In the Beatitudes, Jesus said, Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God. Poor in spirit is just as David expressed it, poor and needy. David’s humility allowed him to step into the kingdom of God that Jesus described ahead of his time.
This is an important lesson. Godliness without humility is pedantic and often works-based. Jesus modeled humility for a reason. He was born in a barn. He grew up working as a carpenter. He washed his disciples’ feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:15-17)
Being poor and needy is a way to growth in the Lord. It is a hunger to know more of Him, to understand the ways of His kingdom, and learn the things that we need to let go of to do that. Once we stop being hungry for God we stop being humble before Him, and that’s a dangerous place to be.