I am amazed at the forthrightness that David shows before the Lord. In countless Psalms, David bemoans the fact the he is persecuted unjustly. He recounts to God his own righteousness as if he has never strayed and exhibits bold confidence in his pleas for help and deliverance. He ruthlessly calls down God’s judgment on his enemies. This sort of faith and belief has eluded me for most of my life. We know that David had the Spirit. If it was the same measure or variety that we have now, I am not certain. We also know that we now have the Spirit of God. So what made David so righteous and bold?
Jesus pronounces a blessing on those that are persecuted on his behalf (Matt 5:10). This has always been quite convicting to me because I have never been persecuted on his behalf. I may have been sneered at or laughed at, but these fall pitifully short of persecution. In our rationalizing society we elevate these to persecution because we have nothing else. We believe that the government is persecuting us because they do not allow nativities or the 10 Commandments, when most of Christians can’t recall the 10 Commandments or live them out. The faith that I have exhibited in my life is weak compared to the faith wall of legends mentioned in Hebrews 10.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been persecuted plenty of times in my life. Most of this is due to my own actions. I have often been made fun of and ridiculed, but this has rarely been for any righteous thing that I have done. In fact, when I am persecuted most frequently, I feel that I am getting what I deserve. I am far from David who declared his righteousness before the Lord. If I tried to do this, I would fear that I would be struck down for lying to God. I know that He knows, and He knows that I know, ya know? I feel as though I stand before God naked and trembling. My prayers of deliverance are timid, because I believe deep down that I deserve what I am going through.
Even as a long time believer, I still struggle for the purity that David had. David bothers me for a number of reasons. First, were his bold proclamations of righteousness, but second was his actual life. He had tremendous faith that was exhibited in many stories, but he also had a heroic weakness. When he bedded Bathsheba, he broke many of the commands. He coveted, murdered, adultered, lied, stole and did not love his neighbor (or loved his neighbor too much - depending on how you look at it). That is at least 6 of the big 10 right there. After he was caught, his plea was that God would not take His Spirit away (if this Psalm is labeled properly). I think the big question was how then did he now proceed? He seemed to straighten his life again; he mourned properly, and then moved on. However, strife never left his family after that. Not 2 generations later his kingdom was divided and many generations later the last King was crucified. The curse from his and others’ disobedience was paid for by the last and enduring King of Israel, Jesus.
David had a heart for God, in spite of his tragic weakness. When Samuel went to choose the next King of Israel at Jesse’s house, David was not there. If there was one meeting that I would have wanted to be at, it was this one. David either did not know about or was not invited to this meeting. Where was he? We do not know for sure, but we do know that David did the will of Jesse his father. David protected the flock at the expense of his life. The sheep were precious to him because they were precious to his father. This had to be at least part of what God saw in him. David would do His will. Even when it was extremely difficult, he did God’s will.
You see David received his calling to royalty when he was young, but it was many years and many hardships away. Many of us have heard God’s calling, and we look down the rocky road ahead and do not think it can happen. We lack the faith and conviction. How could the shepherd boy even conceive that he would one day be King? He was a man after God’s heart. How can we ever hope to fulfill God’s calling in our lives. We must ignore the obstacles, focus on God, and completely and totally go for it. We must be people after God’s heart.