I write this because a part of your story resonates with mine so well. I look at your life and I see you from your youth, a 15-year-old boy tending to your father’s sheep. You in your wily youth, were brave enough to defend those sheep even unto the point of chasing down a bear or a lion and snatching the lamb from its very mouth; when it turned to attack you would catch it by the jaw and club it to death. What God anointed bravery!
This very logic is what you gave Saul when you wanted to kill Goliath who taunted and terrified the Israelites for forty days. In your own words, “The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”, 1 Samuel 17:37. I can only pray that I trust God as much and as deeply.
As you were given a bronze helmet and a coat of armor, you replied you could not fight in those. So instead, you chose five smooth stones and put them into your shepherd’s bag. I have always wondered why you needed five stones when all it took was one? Nevertheless, armed “only with” your shepherd’s staff and sling, and five smooth stones, you set out to defeat the giant. It was Goliath who had a shield bearer ahead of him. Laughable, isn’t it?
You told this enemy, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” (1 Samuel 17: 45-47 NLT).
Do you recall that day, as a young teen? Oh, but that was then, and then you gained another enemy David, one who chased you into adulthood…Saul. He was angered when the Israelite women sang, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!”; how that angered Saul. Yet, you gained a lifelong friend, Saul’s son, Jonathan.
Your journey included a lot of running from Saul, and yet all the while fearing for your life, you remained faithful to God by not touching His anointed. I pray for as much faithfulness to our God.
Through all of this you endured David, and YOU - YES - YOU - finally became King. Both Saul and Jonathan now gone, and you finally on the throne. In adulthood you were still brave and faithful to God and even in your sin with Bathsheba you repented when Nathan the prophet confronted you. Even though you had to endure the pain of your own sin when the son that was conceived had died, God later blessed you with Solomon whom He loved.
Then your beautiful daughter Tamar...I do not understand when your son Amnon, raped Tamar why nothing was seemingly ever done – why? You were very angry about it but did nothing. It wasn’t until two years later that something was done but it was her brother - your son Absalom that brought justice against Amnon, wrongfully killing him. He waited for the day to slay Amnon for what he did to Tamar. How hurt and betrayed she was and how hurt you were when Amnon was taken from you. In fear Absalom ran to his grandfather Talmai’s home… isn’t it just like our children to run to grandpa when trouble rears its ugly head? Absalom hid there for three years.
Finally, when you came to terms with the death of Amnon it was then that you deeply missed Absalom. How did you take it when Joab saw your pain and arranged for you to see Absalom through Tekoa? Yes, through a woman named Tekoa he made up a crazy story and you believed her. When Absalom returned to town, two years later you still had not truly reconciled. Absalom persuaded Joab to intercede for him so that you both could see one another and you finally did. Family again but then Absalom felt entitled to the throne and set out to defeat you and become King. How did this betrayal from your very own son make you feel David?
You ran, and he chased. This is when, King David, my heart felt such sadness for you. I think about when Absalom slept with your concubines on the rooftop and then in all the chasing he did unto you to the point of death, you still loved him. Oh, how you loved him and commanded your army to treat him gently when they pursued his army.
At last, the news came that Absalom died in battle, and you were overcome with deep sadness. So much so, you cried, “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son.” What empathy I feel for you King David; the agony and pain I feel in those words. You dealt with your grief outwardly instead of celebrating with your troops. It's all so tragic! How sad you were… and your troops mourned with you. Yet, Joab rebuked you for it.
So, David how did you make the decision to stand tall, wipe the tears and go out and comfort your people? That is like so many of us – in the midst of our pain we must hide our grief and push through pretending all is well.
King David, you faced many trials and even immorality; your family had its share of tribulation. For some on the outside, everything looks beautiful. You were a King that conquered much through his faith in God. For others, your family resembles their own; pain that one wonder’s how they will overcome. You endured unto the very end, and yet another son - Adonijah also tried to take your throne upon your death. It was not his to take, for it belonged to Solomon. Your seed with Bathsheba… what was once an adulteress affair, had been forgiven by God through your repentance. You were restored and redeemed, and your throne belonged to Solomon.
King David, when I look at your life, I see beauty for ashes; I see the pain God used for His glory. I see the tragedy and loss that weaved its way through your family. I see generations that endured tragedy and loss but still carried the torch through many battles…I see the bloodline to the only blood that matters and what was shed at the cross where true redemption and forgiveness can be claimed if we but ask.
Thank you for your story. Thank you for your testimony and being “a man after God’s own heart”.