Thursday, January 23, 2014

Friday Chapel Week 1–Some Observations About King David

Chapel last Friday was the first with a speaker. As is our custom, the speaker for the first chapel of the semester is me. The returning students know what they are always going to get in that chapel – a sermon about the PIU core values Excellence, Accessibility and Transformation. I share with SAMSUNG            them the three verses that underlie these core values, which I think are the backbone verses of the mission that God calls us all to as human beings. Excellence comes from Genesis 1.26-28 that tells us that we are made in the image of God with a mission to represent God to all creation in everything we do. Accessibility comes from Genesis 12.1-2 in which Abram is commanded to Go out and be a blessing. He was to take the blessings he received through his relationship with God and connect others to God and His blessings. Finally the Transformation value comes from Matthew 28.19-20 which instructs to make disciples wherever we go. In other words, as Christ transforms us through the power of the Spirit we become his agents of transformation as we connect to the people God brings into our regular daily lives.

Since I have been doing a lot of thinking about the life of King David from the biblical books of Samuel, I thought I would take us through how David implemented those core values in his life. It is easy to see how David reflected God’s order, beauty, justice and many other attributes to those around him. He was a clever and prolific warrior who protected God’s people and established justice. He was the “sweet singer” of Israel who created some of the most beautiful poetry in the ancient world. He established and left a peaceful prosperous empire for his posterity. He became the standard for all future kings of Israel. He was a “man after God’s own heart.”

The thing that always bothered me about David is that you don’t have to look to far under the surface to see that he was also a deeply flawed person who caused a lot of damage to his family and nation. While he was clever and a great warrior, he did not always use this for good. David was often an overly violent man (a man of blood) who killed far beyond what defense or the judgment of God allowed. He was a man who often seemed to have a policy of “see girl, take girl,” and even killed and lied in one case to do it. David, not Solomon, is the one who began the policy of Judean kings building an extensive harem. In addition David was a terrible father whose family policies sowed the seeds for the division, disintegration and exile of the nation even as he was building it up.

So what was it that made David a man of excellence? David was a man “who worked with God.” He was deeply flawed but he was honest about himself and allowed God to speak into his life (often through the people around him which was unusual for an Ancient Near Eastern king!) David shows this with his quick and complete repentance after he is confronted by Nathan in the Bathsheba incident. David truly understood that God was the king and he was the minister. David was not an insecure king like Saul because he understood that everything he had came from God and that no one could take it away except God. Despite all his flaws the general direction of his life was always toward God and accomplishing His kingdom. David, especially as he got older, seemed happy to be whatever God called him to be.

Because of that attitude David made God accessible not only to the people of Israel but also to all the nations in the region. God used David to provide a central place of worship that would last for almost 500 years. Because David was willing to allow God to transform him, we have psalms that minister the heart of that transformation to us and continue to transform lives today. Of course the biggest blessing David connects us all to is Jesus Christ.

This gives me a lot of hope. If God can change the world through such a deeply flawed man as King David, he can change me and do great things through me. He doesn’t even have to wait until He completes the work in me. He works through me as He works on my many flaws and, just as He still uses David’s flaws to minister to us 3000 years removed from him, uses me to work His transforming power on others. As we trust him He brings out His excellence in us, we gain access to His blessings and then are able to connect them to others as He transforms us and those around us.

So let’s be people after God’s heart and His kingdom.

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