David: Shepherd, Musician, Composer, Warrior, King, Philanderer

Let’s resume our consideration of God’s Comeback Kids.

I Samuel 13:14

From God’s viewpoint, one of the biggest embarrassments in the Bible must undoubtedly have been King David. Teddy Kennedy and Chappaquiddick, Bill Clinton and his lustful dalliances with an intern young enough to be his daughter. . . stupid, blundering efforts to cover up the messes they made. . . are nothing new. Incurably adolescent, powerful and privileged, but spoiled, soiled, self-indulgent, self-centered leaders are nothing new.

King David and Samson are two of the Biblical “heroes” who would make Kennedy, Clinton and their kind look like “bush leaguers” by comparison.

Let’s consider David as an example of God’s “Comeback Kids.” His background was not one of privilege, unlike Edward Kennedy. But he was very talented. I suspect he was quite handsome, and maintaining a youthful naïveté no doubt he was charismatic. Scripture says adoring females flocked after him, singing his praises as a warrior. Without doubt he was a gifted leader who inspired loyalty in those who followed him. The downside of that is that he was attractive to ladies, and found at least one to be his Achilles’ heel. He’s credited with having composed and sung many of the Psalms (Songs) contained in the Old Testament. Beautifully profound, yet understandably simple, they give voice to some of the greatest sentiments ever penned in any language, expressing the serenity and majesty of God’s creation, the depth to which men descent, pain caused by sin, the wonder of God’s grace and mercy.

He must have also been a very talented musician, becoming quite skilled with a harp. In fact, the instrument he mastered is known to this day as “David’s harp,” the national instrument of Israel. He played the instrument with such skill he became court musician called often to soothe King Saul when he seemed to descend into madness.

David grew up knowing the value of hard work. As the youngest of Jesse’s sons, he spent hours caring for his family’s sheep. For a large part of the time that was probably a very dull and boring task. David, however, used those idle times to think and meditate and pray. He learned the value of solitude and turned it to good use. He learned to think. He wasn’t coddled or entertained with gameboys and endless wasted hours in front of a one eyed idol. He must have seemingly endless hours out in the desert, watching sheep, guarding against predators in foul weather or fair beneath a blazing sun or the stars twinkling high above the desert.

Somewhere very early in his life, David encountered God, learned to love him. When he stumbled and fell flat on his face he did not stay there.

He learned the importance of responsibility. He became courageous and brave, and very accurate with a weapon. Primitive, but very effective.

He was also gifted in other ways, and early on that ability was recognized. A prophet let it be known early one bright young lad would one day become King.

If you study the lives of Biblical characters, you will discover that the early years were foundational. They were figurative in everything that happened thereafter. The wisdom of the day was that if you “train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not depart from it.” And, if by chance he does stray, he will not stay away. He will return to his roots. So it appears to me that David’s early experiences had more than a little to do with his return after he had fallen.

We need to bear in mind the formative years of these characters. It had as much to do with the kind of person they became, the character they developed. The initial impressions. The dispositions. If life is a journey, in order to understand it correctly, you need to take into account the origin as well as the destination, and the points along the way. Early influences must be taken into account. As just one person, I’ve come to understand that my eager and early experiences as a young Christian became the reference point for my life. When I strayed, I came to understand what Augustine must have felt when he prayed: “Thou hast made us for thyself; and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” Nothing filled the void left in my heart by His absence. Somewhere a hunger had developed in my heart which nothing and no one else could fill.

One of the most intriguing observations about the young David is that, in the words of Samuel, he was a “man after God’s own heart” (I Samuel 13:14).

That, above all the insults and accolades that looms large. Very, very large. Of all the kudos and compliments I could ever imagine or hope to receive, that ranks numero uno.

I can’t find words to describe the value or the impact of such a description. Think about it: “a man after God’s own heart!” In my mind, that seems to set him apart and above. It seems to speak of a depth of love for God that more clearly defines the man’

Let’s ponder that when we consider David’s life. One thing about the Bible which commands respect, even from unbelievers, is the consistent truth it tells about man. Even the so-called “saints.”

David, mighty David, the Giant killer, is no exception. For all the good he accomplished and in spite of the esteem he commands in Jewish, Christian and Muslim history. . . he was a flawed man. He was a sinner. He really messed up badly, and those glaring mistakes are written down for all the world to see.

But, keep in mind that one of the most accurate and eloquent descriptions of his basic character is that he was “a man after God’s own heart.”

When my duties here are done, I wish somewhere, someone could be able to truthfully say that about

God’s son and servant, your friend and fellow student


4 responses to “David: Shepherd, Musician, Composer, Warrior, King, Philanderer

  1. shrinkingthecamel

    Don – Let me say it – You are a man after God’s own heart!! I can tell! Now, I know it’s not the same as hearing it from the Big Guy himself, but, I’m sure you will in good time.

    I love the way you start this – comparing king David to Clinton and Kennedy – as an “embarrassment to God!” That is so great, because it is so true. You are keeping these bible characters real, which ends up inspiring us that we are all capable of being men and women after God’s own heart.
    Great job!

  2. The humbleness it takes to submit and declare your sins… to just be who you are… in front of men as well as God. I’m sure David anguished as we do, as all of us do… not just the policy makers of today. Thank you for personalizing this! Nice post!

  3. On occasion someone’s remarked to me, “You’re really sold out to God!” because of the ways I express my faith.

    I know the truth. I know all the ways I DON’T yield. I want to be worthy of this remark. I look forward to the day when I DO hear from my Master, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Until then, I try to remember that this walk with Christ is more about being than doing.

    Hope I’m not being too random here.

  4. Ah, yes – “David, a man after God’s own heart”.

    In my Wednesday morning bible study group, we are reading Linda Dillow’s, “Satisfy My Thirsty Soul”. (A title nearly as good as “God’s Comeback Kids” … smile.) And in discussing learning to worship with the body, the author writes about King David: “David hungered for God’s presence. While hiding in the wilderness, he ached to join the throngs in worship. Worshipping Yahweh was his lifeblood. Often David’s praise was loud, exuberant, and physical. He expressed his worship by bowing, clapping, and lifting his hands in praise. He would kneel, fall prostate, shout, and dance. This was not my picture of worship.”

    Nor mine.

    I mean, how could God NOT favor that? I believe David was a man after God’s own heart because God was paramount in David’s – and David wasn’t ashamed to show it.

    Now if you will excuse me – there’s kneeling, falling prostate, shouting and dancing that I need to work on.

    Don, Brad’s right – you, my friend, are a man after God’s own heart. And those of us who know you are all the better for it.

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