The LORD was with David. . . .1 Samuel 18:12b(NIV)
In my last post I wrote about the importance of studying the Old Testament. One of the benefits of studying the Old Testament is that we get to see the lives of some of its characters over long spans of time. The New Testament tends to focus on briefer periods of time in the life of its characters. The four gospels are exclusively dedicated to telling the story of Jesus. Aside from recounting his birth and a very brief vignette about him at the age of 12, the gospels focus on the 3 ½ years of his earthly ministry. The Old Testament by contrast, tells of the stories of Moses and Samuel from the times of their births until their deaths. It picks up the stories of Joseph, David and Daniel from their teenage years until they go the way of all flesh.
Follow someone around for that long a period of time, and you’re likely to see them at their best, their worst, and all stages in between. There are several characters, like Joseph and Daniel, where the Bible has little if anything negative to say about them. The worst that is revealed about Joseph is that we can infer since he was his father Jacob’s favorite son, he was perhaps a bit spoiled. Additionally his decision to share his dream with his brothers about them bowing down to him was probably ill advised. Scripture does not cast Daniel in a negative light at all.
David is a different story. Like the title of the old Clint Eastwood western, with David we see The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. We see the dirt under the fingernails of David’s character and soul.
- Samuel anoints David future king of Israel as a teenager.
- David defeats the Philistine giant, Goliath, winning him acclaim.
- King Saul favors David and invites him into his court.
- David becomes king and defeats many of Israel’s enemies.
- A gifted musician and songwriter, David composes a number of the Psalms.
- God promises that his heir will always sit on the throne of Israel.
- King Saul becomes insanely jealous of David and attempts to kill him.
- David lives as a fugitive and outcast for 10 years to escape the wrath of Saul.
- David feigns insanity and seeks sanctuary from Israel’s enemies, the Philistines.
- David’s own men talk of stoning him after their wives and children are kidnapped.
- David commits adultery with Bathsheba and has her husband killed when she becomes pregnant as a result of the affair.
- God disciplines David for his sin by allowing the baby conceived by the affair to die. God also tells David unrest will never leave his household.
- David’s daughter Tamar is raped by one of her brothers, Amnon. As David does nothing about it, another of David’s sons, Absalom avenges Tamar by killing Amnon.
- Absalom leads a coup against David, causing David to flee Jerusalem. Absalom further humiliates his father by laying with David’s concubines in public.
David was certainly a man of incredible swings, from mountain top highs to subterranean lows. Yet throughout it all, there were two constants in David’s life; God never abandoned David and David, despite his detours, always came back to God.
We’ve all have done good or had good circumstances occur in our lives. We’ve all suffered bad things at the hands of other people. Our sinful actions have brought about ugly consequences. Yet if you have committed your life to following Christ, God has been with you the entire time. The scripture reference in this post is specific to God’s abiding presence with David. Yet scripture reminds us, that “God does not show favoritism.” (Acts 10:34 NIV). God told Joshua, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5 NIV). The (_____) in the title line of this post is intentional. It is meant for you to inset your name in it. As God was with David and Joshua, he will be with you and me. Nothing can separate us from his love (Romans 8:35-38).
David as an old man no doubt reflecting on his life, with its ups and downs its victories and defeats, pens these words, I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. (Psalm 37:25)(NIV).
If we’re honest we all have a bit of David is us. But thank God if we are Christians, we also have his God in us as well.