Essential 100

King David…good man or bad man?

The readings this week look further into the life of David, from his highest point when he is finally crowned king, to one of his lowest; sleeping with Bathsheba and the killing Uriah, her husband.

* 2 Samuel 5-7

David had been chosen by God as a young man, but it wasn’t until he was thirty that he finally became king. He is remembered as one of the greatest kings in Israel because of his leadership style which reflected his commitment to God and his humble heart. We can learn so much about the way that David lived his life and led the people. If there were more leaders like David in our world today, what would that mean for us?

David was different in his approach to leadership. He sought God’s direction, inviting God to direct his paths, even when he became a very powerful man.

David also maintained an attitude of heart-felt worship, celebrating how awesome God had been to him and all that He had done in his life.

David’s leadership was so unique because of the humility that he showed. As we read in David’s prayer (7:18-29), he recognised that God was the reason behind his success and he knew that God had a big plan.

– How has God shaped your character through difficult cirumstances so that you like David have been able to follow Him on the other side?

– How is your worship and prayer life? Does it often feel dry? Try getting in touch with God, who never goes away and declaring all the incredible things about him.

*2 Samuel 11:1-12:25

After such praise of David in response to the previous passage, we see a completely different side to him in this one. We see him fall as his morals crumble in this well-known story of sexual temptation and poor judgement.

Considering all the other things we know about David from the stories that we have read, this man, who showed courage in defeating Goliath, a man of integrity and humility commits adultery, arranges murder and abuses his position of authority.

David’s story seems so stark because of the extremes between the highs and the lows, but in reality we all have the same pulls of sin on our lives! And its when we are trying to convince ourselves that it can’t catch us out, that it does! We are more likely to stumble after we’ve made spiritual progress, which is why being part of a Christian community where people can look out for one another and be held accountable is so important! Don’t kid yourselves, even really strong Christians have weaknesses and can fall spectacularly.

David however, when confronted by Nathan and told God’s message about his sin, he repented. Although it is painful we must admit our sin to God (and to sometimes to others) so that God can remove our burden and we can experience again his closeness.

– How do you react when you become aware of sin in your life?

– Do you have anyone you can be accountable to, so that you can be challenged about how you live and ensure a close relationship with God?

– Is there areas of temptation in your life that you need to pray into?

4 thoughts on “King David…good man or bad man?

  1. King David when he fled Saul and found refuge with the Philistines hired himself out to the King of the Philistines. On behalf of the King of the Philistine he massed murdered men, women and children in towns and village across Judah. After being found out about his betrayal and murder of Uriah- and forgiveness by Nathan- he conquered the city of the Ammorites they were besieging at the time and mass murdered, tortured and butchered the men woman and children of that city. He slaughtered eight of the remaining grand children of Saul including five sons of a daughter of Saul. His last words to Solomon before he died was to go out and renege on his promise to the man who mocked him as he fled from Absalom – who David promised to let live- and tells Solomon to make sure he kills him. Every passage in Samuel referring to David has him killing various people- like the the guy who put Saul out of his misery at Saul’s own request. When I hear that David was a man after God’s own heart that scares the heck out of me.

    1. Hi David

      You have made a fair point. The description of David as a man after God’s own heart is something many followers of Jesus have struggled with in the light of the truly awful things David did. Yes I could list those awful things too.

      The clue to interpreting that description of David can be found in the statement by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Acts.

      Acts chapter 13 verses 21 to 22:
      …‘After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21 Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled for forty years. 22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”

      It seems that the description of David is about doing what God wanted him to do. Aside from the awful things he did, he seems to have had the capacity to know what God wanted of him, and he then did it. The challenge I get from that is to ask myself what I think God wants me to do, and am I going to do it?

      Another encouragement I get from David’s life is the idea that the creator, the first cause of all things, can be interested in humans enough to let us know what he wants us to do despite being so human and imperfect.

      I hope having the same name as that ancient king is not something that bothers you. I don’t think it should. Anyway, I suppose it is not about your name, it is about how you choose to live.

      All the best

      Graham

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