“40 Days and 40 Nights of God’s Word”
DAY 11: AUGUST 2
1 SAMUEL 20 – 2 SAMUEL 17:29
I’ve spoken before in these reflections about the richness of some of the readings, but for fans of David, today’s reading is a three-tiered wedding cake smothered in whip cream, maraschino cherries, and chocolate sauce. We see David progress from a naive young man into a shrewd and fearless warrior, and finally into king over Judah and the rest of Israel. We also learn that his family – the house of David – will be an Eternal House that will reign forever.
And then we find out that, despite everything he is and everything he’s accomplished and everything he’s promised by God, David is still a man with a man’s desires and weaknesses, and we see how giving into these desires changes the trajectory of the rest of his life.
- As you probably know, I’m a big fan of David. Huge fan. It’s not just the simplicity and unwaveringness of his faith that I find admirable and inspiring; it’s the way he moved through the world. He was handsome, athletic, artistic, and a fierce warrior, but none of this went to his head. There was no pride in him. Instead, he gave God the praise for everything he was and everything he accomplished, and he honored whatever was honorable to God, seeing life through God’s eyes rather than through the world’s eyes. This often meant going against popular opinion or what seemed right to the people around him. There’s a lot of David in Jesus and Jesus in David, which shouldn’t be surprising, given that God’s Spirit was with both of them, and that Jesus is a direct descendant of David on his father’s side.
- Even as a child, David had such profound faith that he thought nothing of attacking ferocious beasts, knowing he would defeat them because God was fighting for him. He knew God would fight all the battles appointed him. And so David from a young age got into the habit of (nearly) always asking God how he should proceed. He didn’t brainstorm a plan and then ask God to bless it; he went to God first for direction and then did whatever God told him to do. This childlike certainty of knowing God was always with him, guiding him and fighting his battles, followed David throughout his life. For him, faith wasn’t something that was external, to be used only on certain occasions; faith was as much a part of him as breathing.
- That’s not to say that David didn’t have his problems. In fact, his life was one long test – battle after battle, betrayal after betrayal, victory after victory, and at the end, heartache after heartache. Through it all, David remained true to himself and to God. The sole exception – his affair with Bathsheba and the murder-by-proxy of her husband Uriah – David later repented of while accepting his due punishment. Ultimately, God turned the sin around and David and Bathsheba’s second son, conceived on the day of the death of their first, grew to take his father’s place on the throne and build the first temple, as we’ll read tomorrow.
A few things in particular jumped out at me during the reading:
- Lots of lies and deception going on, both with and without God’s blessings. David pretending to be insane was one of most striking. Feigned insanity can get you out of many a tight spot. No-one wants to deal with crazy. I speak from personal experience. ;D
- David taking and using Goliath’s spear that had been kept by the priests as a holy relic is poetic justice in action. I love how God puts all the pieces together! He set aside Goliath’s spear for just such a time and place as David needing it. In the same way, he provided the altar bread for David and his men when they had no other means of getting food. When you get into the God groove, all the pieces fall into place.
- David’s first army was made up of malcontents from his father’s house – that is, men who had debts or grievances against Saul and so had nothing to lose in joining David. Note that he didn’t take the biggest, strongest and most well-trained warriors; he took those whose sole qualification was that they supported David. Based on this, God gave them the victory time after time.
- David’s loyalty to Saul after everything Saul did to him puzzled even David’s closest companions. Saul himself was flabbergasted by how David continued to honor him. However, for David, it was self-evident that God’s anointed king should be treated with respect and reverence. David continued to honor Saul and Jonathan after their deaths by looking after Jonathan’s lame son and his family.
- David mourning his son (Bathsheba’s) while the son was still alive, and then stopping the mourning as soon as he heard of his son’s death was a real head-scratcher for those in David’s household. But David knew in advance that his son would die because God had told him through Nathan. Even so, David thought there might still be a sliver of a chance that God would change his mind and let the young child live, so he threw himself at God’s mercy in what looked like mourning to the household. However, in this case, God didn’t change his mind (the child’s death was part of David’s allotted punishment for what he had done to Bathsheba and Uriah), so David didn’t see any point in mourning after he learned that the child was gone. In fact, Solomon was conceived on the very day that the other son died. No moss growing on those stones! ;D
So what jumped out at you in this reading? Are you as fond of David as I am? (Not possible!)
Feel free to share your thoughts on this reading or any of the other ones.
A PDF schedule of the BIBLE READ-THROUGH is directly below: