Lessons from David – Part 2

Standard

Solomon was a great prophet and king, one of the greatest. He was wise and just. The Lord appeared to him multiple times (e.g., 1 Kings 9:2). Solomon was wealthy and well-respected by all. However, Solomon “loved many strange [non-covenant] women” (1 Kings 11:1). He had many wives and concubines. In his old age “his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, and it became as the heart of David his father” (JST 1 Kings 11:3-4). David’s heart was not perfect either but he was repentant, or at least came across as repentant in the scriptures. Solomon worshiped false gods and forsook the Lord. The Lord then took away Solomon’s blessings but retained some for his children (and so on) because of “David thy father’s sake” (1 Kings 11:12). That’s why, even though David did evil in the sight of the Lord, I believe his heart was more repentant than Solomon’s was.

David’s words comprise some of the most beautiful passages in the scriptures. His psalms contain beautiful words and beautiful themes. His words also focus heavily on the role of the Lord as Redeemer, largely because David is seeking forgiveness. Here are a few of his words: “For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” (Psalm 18:28). “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). David also wrote some prophecies that told of events and teachings from the Savior’s life: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring [the Lord as Lion is not an infrequent metaphor for the Savior]…. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pieced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me [foretelling the Savior on His way to Golgotha and upon the cross]. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture” (Psalm 22:1,16-18). David’s Psalms contain many more prophecies of the Savior, referring to Judas’ betrayal (Psalm 41:9), cleansing the temple (Psalm 69:9), the suffering of the Savior in Gethsemane (Psalm 69:20), and how He was offered vinegar while on the cross (Psalm 69:21).

One of my favorite scriptures is found in the 84th psalm. “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:10-11; emphasis added). David made mistakes. He made very grievous mistakes but he tried to do good. He is one character I admire and respect for many reasons, in spite of his faults.

Lessons from David – Part 1

Standard

David was a young man when he stood up in defense of the armies of the Lord and faced Goliath. He was not a warrior but he was courageous and humble. David was a shepherd, a watcher and protector of sheep. He chased after a lion that had taken a sheep. He saved the sheep, grabbed the lion by its mane, and killed it. He also killed a bear (1 Sam. 17:34-36). David was courageous; he was humble. He stated that it was the Lord who delivered him from the paws of the lion and bear (1 Sam 17:37). When faced with Goliath, David did not wear Saul’s heavy armor. He was adorned with the armor of God – faith and righteousness and truth. He grabbed his sling and some stones. He then ran toward Goliath as he sent his rock into the forehead of Goliath. David knew the Lord would deliver him. He made the choice to stand up and fight the man who defied the armies of the Lord and blasphemed His name. David was an impressive young man who impressed the king of Israel. He was a man after the Lord’s own heart: “[The Lord] raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will” (Acts 13:22).

Later, as king, David looked upon the bathing Bathsheba and lusted after her. Here was the start of this great man’s fall. He did not avert his eyes when he should have looked away. This led to an act of adultery. However, David’s greater sin was placing Bathsheba’s husband in harm’s way so that he would die to cover up the sin of David and Bathsheba. David’s fall is not the focus of this essay though. David’s story is tragic but I still look up to him and respect him. David spent the rest of his life trying to repent for what he did. He spent many hours pleading in prayer and in song for forgiveness. His story is especially striking in the context of Saul’s and Solomon’s. Both of them faltered and never seemed to try to stand back up and dust off the dirt.

Saul was condemned for offering a burnt offering without proper authority (see 1 Sam. 13). Later, when David gained popularity, Saul become jealous to the point where he tried to kill David many times (see 1 Sam. 18-19, 22, etc). However, David was forgiving. Just like Hamlet spared his uncle when he had an opportunity to slay him, David spared the life of his father-in-law Saul on multiple occasions. Eventually, after a defeat in battle by the Philistines, Saul killed himself to prevent some unspeakable death at the hands of the Philistines (see 1 Sam. 31). Saul had been the Lord’s anointed but he fell and never tried earnestly to repent.