Of all the flannel board Sunday School lessons I’ve grown up to dig into more, I love the story of David most. Well, aside from the whole Son of God sent to redeem us story. That one pretty much stays at the top. For the last two years though, I have grown increasingly fascinated with David’s whole life, because I get him. He tries, but the dude screws up a ton – and in really, really stupid ways. Yet throughout the Bible, we hear about his heart, and how it aligns with God’s own. I hope that’s my constant – that through my stupidity, my choices both wise and unwise, my heart is to seek God and what he wants for me.
In a study this morning we talked a bit more about David from a historical perspective. We hear so much about the shepherd boy – smallest of his brothers, anointed Future King. We hear about how he spends the next years of his life back in the fields doing his job – and doing it well – despite being the next ruler of the nation. How he tries on armor that is far too big and decides instead to slay a giant with the tools he knew best. Goodness, there are lessons for all of us in every layer of David’s story.
We hear about his friendship with Jonathan, his relationship with Saul – the ups and downs. But I don’t think about it as much from a historical perspective, without the immediate Biblical context – how to perhaps most of the nation, this guy was upsetting the fold. Sure, God said he was going to be king – but they had a king. They had a pretty decent setup. Saul even had kids of his own, that should probably take the throne next.
Throughout history, kings kill those who try to usurp their reign. Heck, leads on Broadway have been known a time or two to grow paranoid about their understudies trying to ruin their run – but not without undue cause. So what must David’s life have looked like in those days? When he was making music in the court, sharing a special bond with the heir apparent, but viewed as a troublemaker? I can only imagine it wasn’t all roses and chocolate. I’m thinking more of death threats, whispers as he walks by, judgement of his every move.
My favorite genealogy in the Bible (can one have a favorite? Did you laugh as much reading that as I did writing it?) is David’s. Not just #becauseJesus but because of all the screw-ups. The adulterer-turned-murder, the incestuous ones, the prostitute. The Bible is full of broken, messed up people, and more often than not it’s through some of the seemingly most broken that God brings glory to Himself in the clearest ways.
So there David sits, year after year, in a life that would have me
saying screaming, “Seriously, God? What the heck are you doing?” In fact, David did say that, but in the words of a poet and songwriter, not a momma who writes during nap time. He cries out, “My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?” (Psalm 6:3) and “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you disappear (or pay no attention) in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1).
When we read the Bible now, we have so much more of the story. The fulfilled prophecy of a messiah who would come from the city of David. We can learn historical context about how Jerusalem came to be, and understand why things happened as they did – or at least we can piece together things to make it make sense to us. 🙂 But what of the people who waited decades for any of God’s plan to be revealed? Or who died having never seen it? What of the people who wandered in the desert for forty years after having just been promised the land of their dreams and a life full of blessing?
I think it’s far too easy to read the stories of the Bible (or even of other historical events) and read only the version that has been wrapped up nicely for us hundreds or thousands of years later. And in the same moments we look at our own lives and think, “Where are you, God? What the heck?”
I guess my only point is this: He’s here. He is the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end – so it seems safe to me to say then, that He is in all these days in between. When people whisper as we walk by… when the wrong person gets the job… when it seems all we can do is cause trouble… He might just be working right in the middle of all that.
That said, I take no responsibility for any trouble you go and get into on purpose. Just so we’re clear. 🙂