An Unlikely King
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Quick recap from last week -
Judges are raised up to help guide the people. We see a pattern of disobedience, punishment and a cry for mercy from the people.
Rahab's story come full circle, telling of God's faithfulness through the generations.
Last week, we saw God's love doesn't stop at sin - even the deepest sin we know - because His love is greater.
And that, my friend, is why we're doing this. That's why we open these pages of The Bible and we read and we let it read us. Because we need to know His love is greater than our sin. This story isn't about something that happened a way, long time ago. This is a story about us, about our need for a Savior and our redemption.
And so we continue...
"Give Us A King!"
That was the people's cry. God gives them Saul. He's strong and tall and intimidating and rather good looking. I think today we'd call this "swole." Yes, Saul was swole.
And humble, but not for long.
Samuel confirms this is the man for the job and Saul is crowned as the first king. Battles are won and things are going well. Until they're not... Saul is instructed to kill the Amalekites - all of them and their livestock - leave nothing behind. He defeats them but he allows Agag the king of the Amalekites to live. (Agag... what a name. There's a reason this never made it to the modern Baby Name lists.) And since there are some nice, fattened animals, Saul decides to keep them, too.
But, this was not what God commanded and God regrets making Saul king. You can read all about it in 1 Samuel 15. Samuel tells Saul,
"...Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to listen than the fat of rams....Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king." - 1 Samuel 15:22-23
While grieving over Saul, Samuel is instructed to go to Jesse because one of his sons will be made king. Samuel knows the man who will take Saul's place is "a man after God's own heart."
Jesse is proud and brings his sons before Samuel ...all but one. One is a lowly shepherd working out in the fields, not really the warrior type. And by "not really," I mean not at all. Again, the unlikely one is the one God has chosen to use for His purposes. Samuel anoints David - the shepherd boy - to be king.
And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. - 1 Samuel 16:13
Let that sink in. Imagine it's time for the next presidential election and instead of choosing the candidate with the lifetime of political or military or even business background, a man with a rather medium, lackluster build and a compassionate heart for sheep is chosen to lead the free world.
I imagine your expression looks somewhat like this horse right about now...
But, even with all this horsin' around, we need to know David taking care of sheep is very, very significant. It was not an accident God chose a shepherd to lead His people. It points (dare I mention the lighthouse again?) to yep, Jesus! Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He tends to us, His beloved sheep.
And yeah, David's family had to have been scratching their foreheads on that one for awhile. Likely David, too! (I bet their facial expressions weren't too far from that horse's either...)
It's a prime example of how God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called. He chooses the one with a surrendered and obedient heart, however unlikely they may seem, and prepares them for the things He needs them to do.
Okay back to the story...
Soon enough, Saul and his men are fighting the Philistines. One day David comes out to the battlefield looking for his strong, warrior brothers and hears about the giant, Goliath, they will need to defeat. Everyone is terrified to go against Goliath. It seems like certain death. But, David boldly steps up.
David: "Hey guys, how 'bout I give it a try?"
Strong but weary soldiers: "Whatchu got?"
David: "Eh, I have this slingshot and this stone..."
(I paraphrase, of course.)
But this wasn't all David had. Let's read what he told Goliath...
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” - 1 Samuel 17:45-47
A man after God's own heart, indeed. Bold. Faithful. Trusting.
And it was so.
David becomes king, and although the reign of Saul, David and Solomon are together referred to as the United Kingdom period of The Bible, David is the one with the most influence in uniting the tribes.
Jerusalem becomes the capital and we see great humility in David. He decides to build a something permanent for the presence of God to dwell since the tabernacle was, as you'll remember, temporary.
Through Nathan, God promises David rest from his enemies. God also promises a father-son relationship with David, one in which His steadfast love will not depart, and a throne that will be established forever. FOREVER.
David humbly asks "Who am I..." to deserve this?
But the humility - that part isn't like the throne. It didn't last forever. David has an affair with a married woman and even has her husband killed on the front lines of the battlefield in an effort to cover up his sin. God is understandably displeased with David, and when Nathan confronts him of his sin, David repents. Yet, the consequence of his sin is the child he has conceived with Bathsheba will die.
Although this was very clearly connected to David's sin, we must understand the death of a child is not always a result of a sin. Please hear this, friend.
Here's another one of those head-tilted-sideways-horse moments for ya -
If God knew David's future sin when he was anointed king, why would God describe him as "a man after God's own heart"?
I believe it wasn't a lack of sin that made David a man after God's own heart but how he always returned to God.
Friend, let this soak in. It's not about our works. It's not about being perfect to be brought in close to the arms of heaven and the heart of God. It's about the posture of our hearts - repenting and running towards Him.
Okay, we're making some serious moves, people! David's reign is captured in the book of 2 Samuel and also 1 Chronicles. It's that whole out-of-chronological-order thing that sometimes gets us (yes, me too!) confused.
The Old Testament contains 6 books on history. Although the following books cover the same time period, they have different focuses:
1 & 2 Chronicles = Religious history
1 & 2 Samuel / 1 & 2 Kings = Political history
(Remember how Samuel's mom, Hannah, prayed fervently for a child and God gave her a son whom she gave back to the Lord? Isn't it so cool to see now how God used that son to raise up a government for His people? I've said it before and I'll say it again - Them prayers. They work.)
Mmk, so we've got a king and a nation, and now we've got some building to do!
Bring your hard hat and a hammer next week!
May we find strength in the Word of God. May our joy for reading scripture grow as we intentionally choose to set aside time to spend reading it each day. May our peace overflow as the Word of God reads us and changes us from the inside out. Then, we will know rest this world can't give.
Remember how we said 5 minutes a day can change your day, your life and even your eternity? Well, here's what I'll be reading this week. I really hope you'll join me!
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
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