In our latest study on David we saw how David as King just does not do things by half measures.
Firstly he falls for the temptation of laziness. Then with nothing to do one day he spy’s Bathsheba bathing naked on her roof. Now what she was doing there is another matter, knowing full well that the King could see her and her husband was away at war. Then David falls for her. They commit adultery, and surprise surprise she becomes pregnant. Then the panic stinks in – everyone will know that David the King is guilty so get the husband back from the war and he can be the father. But this does not quite work out as planned.
David’s next panic reaction is that he will have to get Uriah (Bathsheba's husband) killed so he can then marry her. Which is what he does all be it at arms length, by getting him killed during one of the skirmishes that is part of the war that is going on at this time.
Phew – David thinks he has got away with it as he quickly marries Bathsheba, and it is now fine that she is pregnant as she is the queen. But God sends the prophet Nathan to confront David of his crimes. Amazingly David recognises what Nathan says and accepts it, not trying to cover it up and asks God for forgiveness.
This story can be found in 2 Samuel 11 and the first half of 2 Samuel 12
Another prophet Micah living between 750-700BC a few hundred years after David, gives a very good guide as to how we should try to live - Micah 6 V8 says
But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbour,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don't take yourself too seriously-
take God seriously
Quite a challenge really – What a change there would be in society if this was followed more widely.
In our latest study on David we looked at life for David now he is settled in as King of all Israel.
Firstly he felt that he should sort out the Ark and get it moved into his new capital city. This seemed a good idea at the time but all did not go well as we can see here in 2 Samuel 6
Because David does not do things correctly Uzzah dies. As we can see for the passage eventually David does do things correctly and the Ark is moved. We had a great debate about the required sacrifice every 6 steps, when it was finally moved correctly. Certainly everyone at the time would have known what was going on.
The second so called good idea that David has is to build a temple for the Ark as can be seen in 2 Samuel 7 This would have looked splendid in his new capital city and it would seem to be the obvious thing to do now the Ark is present in the city. But this was not the case. In fact God had much greater plans for David building a living everlasting “House” rather than a temple. Starting with David and ending with Jesus. This house is still around today as Jesus conquered death when he rose again.
As Paul says in the beginning of his letter to the Ephesians
Long before God laid down earth's foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ.
What a fantastic thing to remember.
In our next study we found that David struggling to find God's guidance in very difficult situations. He was presented with the seemingly perfect opportunity to rid himself of Saul once and for all by killing him 1 Samuel 26 But he did not as he says it was Gods role to do this. Oh how hard this must have been.
The only place David feels he can have any peace is living with his old enemies the Philistines as we find in 1 Samuel 27 Life must have been so hard for him.
It is suggested that David wrote Psalm 40 around this time.
"I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch,
pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure I wouldn't slip. "
The wording just makes it so possible to imagine David hiding from Sauls troops while they searched for him and his band of followers. But as the Psalm progresses the reality of the situation kicks in
"Soften up, God, and intervene;
hurry and get me some help,
So those who are trying to kidnap my soul
will be embarrassed and lose face,
So anyone who gets a kick out of making me miserable
will be heckled and disgraced,
So those who pray for my ruin
will be booed and jeered without mercy. "
With David asking God to help and intervene. It then ends with a final wonderful reminder
"You can do it; you've got what it takes—
but God, don't put it off. "
The last Home Group study in David really brought home the idea of checking with God before we do something. David was in a difficult situation, escaping from cave to hillside – being chased by Saul’s army, no doubt with a bounty on his head.
As seem by the priest Ahimelek 1 Samuel 22 to help him was basically death, and not just to you but to everyone else around at that time.
But David does not forget God and writes Psalm 57 reminding everyone that God is in control, and thanking God for saving his life We also found out that this psalm is called a Miktam. It has a hidden meaning in it, and was believed to have been sung to music that was called do not destroy, and I bet it was a catchy tune. It is quite possible to imagine this being sung by people around Saul.
So how do we check out an idea with God before doing it. What we should not do is say “Lord I am going to do X Y Or Z please bless it”, but rather pray and think about it. Sometimes God will send someone along (or email, phone, call, text etc) that will help give a view. Or it can be from a bible passgae – and the words just jumpout and you reaslise this is for you. But in all cases it should be remembered that the initial idea has to be inline with Gods teaching to start with, and if that is not the case then this should corrected initially.
So how does one know if this is the case. Well God has given his handbook to life - the Bible and if we read it regulalrly we will get to know what it says and if we are living in line with it. There are lots of resources available on line to help with this, the Scripture Union's WordLive is a good one to start with.
The next Home Group study on David caused a lot discussion as to why did God allow David to go from
being the peoples choice as ruler, as shown by their songs and celebrations (It even came to light that one of the surrounding countries thought he was the King already) to hiding in the city of the enemy pretending to be to suffering from madness and fearing for his life.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55 8-9
The fact of the matter is that he goes from being the most popular/famous person in the country at the time, to the most wanted outlaw/fugitive over a fairly short number of weeks. This is a totally unjustified situation but Saul’s insecurity makes him perceive David as a threat to his position and so must be got rid of at any cost. A situation that can be found repeated time and time again over the ages all through power structures.
Fortunately David does not despair and give up trusting in God as the next study will show.
Recently I have had the challenge of writing down what I believe as a Christian – using as few succinct words as possible, whilst trying to avoid jargon. This is not something I have had to do before, as previously when discussing this, it has always been something that has been spoken and not written down. As such it has been more of a fluid activity responding to questions rather than a one off action.
It has been quite hard to try and avoid jargon, whilst keeping it short, but sill I hope this meets the brief. What it is not, is a set of rules nor even primarily a philosophy, but a personal relationship. What is important is our relationship with God and with our Neighbour. Jesus when asked about what is important, said that the greatest commandment is to love God and the second commandment is to “love others as well as yourself” Matthew 22:36-40
If you want a longer more detailed text written by experts the Evangelical Alliance is one of the best sources for what it means to be a Christian
But ultimately as a Christian what is important is a persons relationship with the one true God, which includes accepting that Jesus is the Son of God, who died on the cross in our place, paying the price of sin and then with His resurrection defeating evil, so reconciling us with God
Yesterday we discussed this famous story highlighted in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel 17
at our Home Group and maybe because it was well known a good discussion was had by all. One key fact that I had not thought about when preparing for it was “how old was David when he killed Goliath”. Sadly we did not have the internet available during the meeting otherwise we would have been able to look this up 17 seems to be a popular answer as shown here
I think in our general discussion we probably had him a little younger. In my minds eye I saw him around 15. But still he showed all the courage that no one else had. I had hoped that everyone else would reach the same conclusion that I had come to when I had prepared for the meeting and this was the case. - Being a teenager Saul’s armour did not fit (too big) so he did not use it but instead he was equipped with Gods armour, as listed so well by Paul in Ephesians 6
and trusted God to help him completely in getting rid of Goliath
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.