Themes from David’s Life

July 30th, 2007

At Hope Chapel, we’ve been doing a sermon series since January on the life of David, using Eugene Peterson’s Leap Over A Wall: Earthy Spirituality for Everyday Christians. One of the first sermons was “Themes From David’s Life”, preached by David Taylor. He preached again today, and started off with a reminder of the themes. So, I decided to share them, using my notes from February:

  1. In the middle of all the parts of our lives, we must keep praying and praising.
  2. God uses all the stuff of your life to form you in His image.
  3. Fear makes you stupid. So does sin.
  4. The matter of the heart matters most.
  5. The Lord is sovereign over all your life, at all times, in all things.

1.) In the middle of all the parts of our lives, we must keep praying and praising.

Life often stinks. David knew this well, particularly in the time of his life before he became king. He knew the betrayal of his king, Saul, the father of his dearest friend. He was hunted into the wilderness. He knew hunger, pain, and deprivation. “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Sam. 30:6) And in the day that God delivered him from his enemies, he sang Psalm 18, which begins, “I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”

I am weak, Father. Be my strength and my compassion.

2.) God uses all the stuff of your life to form you in His image.

David, “A man after God’s own heart,” doesn’t show us some ideal of a perfect life. His was a gritty human life, a sinful life. He messed up big–among other things, committing adultery and murder–but he did not withdraw from God.

Real life is messy. And God uses all the hardship, all the pain and suffering, all the trials and tribulations to mold us and shape us into Christ’s image. We are created in His image, but fallen; and God refines away the fear and the sin and the selfishness and every part of our hearts that holds us back from being truly human, in His original image, as He made us to be.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son”. (Romans 8:28-29a)

3.) Fear makes you stupid. So does sin.

David and Bathseeba. Their sin happened in a series of steps: David remained idle at home when his armies went to war. On the rooftop, he stopped to stare. He invited her to him. And the fear of discovery led him to murder not only her husband Uriah, but the other soldiers with him–the fathers and brothers and sons who would never return to their families. David hardened his heart to his deed, saying to the messenger who told him of Uriah’s death, “Do not let this matter trouble you, for the sword devours now one and now another.” (2 Sam 11:25)

When we fall into fear and sin, our minds become foggy, our hearts darkened, and our spirits warped. We run, we hide, we flee, instead of turning away from our destructive path & returning to God to be set on the road to recovery. We run from repentance, or wallow in self-obsession with our own guilt.

But repentance does not mean beating ourselves up. And confession is not our downfall, to be dreaded, but our freedom, to be cherished. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

4.) The matter of the heart matters most.

“Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7) Jesus called the scribes and pharisees whitewashed tombs, beautiful on the outside with their external acts of religious piety, but inside full of death and decay.

We are lead away from God by the multiple little decisions in our hearts, singeing our consciences, hardening our souls. We ignore, and put things of our minds, and run after empty things.

May God keep our hearts tender. May we lean into Him instead of leaning away. May He break the hard-hearted, and heal the broken-hearted.

5.) The Lord is sovereign over all your life, at all times, in all things.

“May the Lord do what seems good to him.” (1 Chron. 19:13) God “works all things according to the counsel of his will.” (Eph. 1:11) “For those who love God all things work together for good.” (Rom. 8:28)

This is the hardest theme, particularly for those who are in the middle of great pain and suffering, who know great evil and cry out, “Where are you, God?” This can discourage us, turning our hearts from Him. David could have rejected God during his time in the wilderness. (And indeed, sometimes he did express his confusion and pain, as in Psalm 22.)

I pray that it would not discourage us, but that we would plunge more deeply into Him because of it, that we would grow in understanding and trust in His promises. As David cried out, “O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant.” (2 Sam. 7:28)

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