He was arguably the greatest king in the history of God’s people, yet now he lay on his death bed. His servants had brought in a young woman for his pleasure and warmth, but he chose to not have sex with her.
As he reflected over his life, he couldn’t help but remember all the highs and lows. He was a man who was overlooked by prophets, but noticed by the Lord. He rose out of the shepherd’s fields into the throne room of Israel. He spent a large portion of his younger years on the run, before the demise of his predecessor.
He brought about stability in the kingdom, but that was not the end of the story.
While his loyal troops were at war, his cowardice and laziness led him to stay behind. His lust filled his heart and mind, he had his servants bring a woman into him that was not his to know intimately. She was no willing participant in what took place. His lust led to a child, which led to murder in an attempt to cover up his grievous sin.
He prayerfully asked God for forgiveness, but the consequences of what he had done were still present. He lost his son, and late in life had his other son strive to kill him and take the throne.
His life was full of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, this is the story of King David.
Recently I’ve been teaching through the book of 1-2 Kings with our students. We take it passage by passage, looking at how the people of God had a choice of who they would worship, what word they would listen to (God or man), and ultimately what weaknesses every human king had.
At the start of 1 Kings, David is dying. In the midst of political intrigue, his wife Bathsheba and Nathan the prophet approach David asking for David to make Solomon king.
What I want to draw your attention to is what David says. Remember, he’s been through so much in life. He’s seen his life in danger due to his faithfulness to God, and he’s seen his life in danger due to his sin.
Yet in summary, look what he says about his life.
And the king swore, saying, "As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity, - 1 Kings 1:29
The Lord lives.
The Lord has delivered David out of every adversity he has faced.
This is what David wholeheartedly believed, and with the perspective we have given the whole canon of Scripture, we know this to be true.
That’s the Lord that you and I serve.
Someone who redeems.
Out of every adversity.
But there’s something even more powerful that I want you to consider, and it shows up later on in the story. David dies in chapter two, Solomon rises up and builds the temple for God’s presence to reside in. Solomon then breaks every command of God about what a king should be like (Deuteronomy 17), showing that contrary to popular church belief he was the most knowledgable king of Israel, but he was not the wisest (but that is a blog for another day).
Solomon’s vile and wicked sin leads to his destruction and the destruction of the kingdom. The kingdom splits in two, with Jeroboam on the throne in the north and Rehoboam on the throne in the south.
Jeroboam leads the people of God into idolatry via worshipping golden calves (sound familiar? Exodus 32 has a similar story, showing that we are prone to repeat the sins of our fathers). The prophet Ahijah then tells Jeroboam’s wife that destruction is coming on their family due to their sin.
But nestled in this prophetic word of destruction is the following:
yet you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart, doing only that which was right in my eyes – 1 Kings 14:8
Murder. Adultery. Cowardice.
Those were the sins of David.
Yet the prophet proclaims that God sees David as a man who followed Him with all of his heart.
Why can he say that?
Because of David’s repentance.
Perfection is not the sign of someone who follows Jesus.
David, unlike his foolish son Solomon, did not walk in his sin. When he had sin brought to light in his life, he turned from it, and walked in righteousness instead.
Church, the message of the Bible is not sanctification by works.
We don’t become like Jesus by trying really hard.
We become like Jesus through repentance.
Acknowledging our need for a Savior.
When I die, I want to say with David that God brought me out of every adversity.
When I die, I want to be remembered as a man who was full of sin yet had a heart that was fully given over to God.
That’s my prayer.
That’s my hope.
David knew his need.
I want to close with a quote.
Because if that’s what you are (a righteous, Kingdom-seeking saint), you’ll probably feel more like a sinful, desperate cur who can get out of bed each day only because you’ve managed once again to believe that Christ’s mercy is made new every time the sun ascends. – Andrew Peterson
That may sound kind of defeatist, but that’s not my intention for sharing it.
My intention is to acknowledge that the more we grow in our faith, the more we should see the cross, the more we should depend on grace, the more wretched we see ourselves to be without Christ. We shouldn’t grow confident in our behaviors.
Church, let’s be like David.
Let’s worship the Lord who draws us out of every adversity and who gives us grace for every weakness and failure.
In His Name,