So I just finished reading through the life of David again. As a young 30’s something who has been a Christian since my late teens, I feel like the Lord has been stirring something within me recently… an I pursing as I ought to be? Has my love grown cold? Do I have the passion for Him that I once had? It is even worth the fight when all around, things look hopeless, both in the world and in His house? I am easily discouraged. I believe with my whole heart that if I give myself to prayer, He can work, yet I’m so easily distracted and pulled away from prayer. Yet I am so thankful that God is a God who pursues. And somehow, through my Bible reading, as I reread this story of David, I was caught again because I love the story of David, and the way he handles things so righteously, yet with much compassion. His leadership. His humility. His compassion and mercy. His heart for God’s house… I noticed all of those again. But this time, some new things caught me too. He served in the house of Saul, under a corrupt King. I started writing things down. As I did, I wonder if these lessons are for a lot of us today who are in this pursuit of God and have a desire for his house to be built.
If you’ve never read through the story of his life, or haven’t read it recently, I really encourage you to go check it out. You can find it in 1 Samuel 16, read all the way through to his death in 1 Kings 1. It actually is a really great read. Not just entertaining, but you really see such a beautiful picture of pursuit, righteousness. Love. War. Sin. Repentance. Compassion. Basically… you see God’s heart. This is after all, the man called, “the man after God’s own heart”. So without further adieu, some ponderings from my meditations on David.
David served God within the kingdom of Saul for years. He had been anointed by Samuel. (not to mention, he had won the battle against Goliath.) He knew the Kingdom was his. He saw the evil and corruptness in the king. He saw the way people were suffering and the way God was hurt. He had to see things all around him that he disagreed with and hated. There was probably much to despair about “I would have despaired” (Ps 27:13). And yet he chose to submit himself under the ruler whom God had placed on the throne. Even though the ruler was walking in the flesh. Even though He knew the calling was on his life to be king. Even though he saw things being done wrong all around him that made his heart ache. Even though his peers and those who stood with him told him to take the kingdom himself. He waited on the Lord’s timing. He never took the Kingdom himself. And he kept serving God with passion and righteousness, often fighting undercover for the Kingdom (battle at Keilah), even though a corrupt king was ruling.
His heart was pure. His passion for the Lord was so real it was almost embarrassing (and was embarrassing to his wife). His heart for righteousness is obvious, yet he is quick to show mercy. He is passionate for the law, yet quick to extend love and receive back so many who have fallen short, and failed, or even been his enemies (Abigail, Abner, Amasa, Absalom). He looks for – even seeks out- ways to restore and show compassion (Mephiboseth, men from Jabesh-Gilead). His heart is always including those who have strayed, and desiring for them to be restored. He walks with a clear conscience before God, and when convicted or shown his error, he is quick to repent (when cutting of the hem of Saul’s robe, when confronted by Nathan), and publically acknowledge his fault, so that none would be led astray by seeing his error. When he fails, and he does fail greatly… but when his sin is exposed, he receives God’s discipline with acceptance and humility, all the while entrusting himself to the God who he knows is so merciful to him.
Beyond all this, what is his desire? That God would have a house, a place for His glory to dwell, and a place for His name to be lifted up. He gives up a life of ease and gives himself to war on every side, to take up every battle, so that the ground could be laid and everything made ready for the Lord’s house to be built.
I will not give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,
Until I find a place for the LORD,
A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Ps 132:4,5)
What a beautiful picture of passion and purity and balance. Devotion to God and care for his people, walking in truth, and yet extending mercy to those who have failed, and all to the aim, fighting battles on every side, that the Lord’s house might be built.
Just wondering if perhaps there is something here for our generation, and especially all of the “2nd generation Christians” who have grown up in something of a kingdom that looks slightly different than what this deep cry in our hearts says it should look like…
In saying this, I don’t want to express disrespect to any church leaders. I’m often reminded of Rehoboam, who throws of the council of the elders and brings ruin upon himself. And I know we’re all in this together, so I don’t want to leave with the impression that I think church leadership everywhere is corrupt. But I think there is this longing in so many of us in the middle of all of this that says, there must be something more. The Jesus I see in the scriptures is so much more than this …
May the Lord give us the heart of David, to pursue with passion, yet stay pure in His word. To war and fight like a warrior, but have the humility of a gentle shepherd, who knows he is nothing but a dead dog. And to stand for the truth and keep the clearest of consciences, all the while, extending mercy and kindness to all who fall short. Our Lord is worthy of this walk.