I’m not sure how much time you’ve spent in God’s word. I hope it is a part of your daily routine. If not, I’d begin with John. It is one of the four Gospels that begin the new testament and describes Jesus’ life on this earth. Of the four, three are similar. These are Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They are the synoptic Gospels (they are synonymous). John’s Gospel was written many years later (about 60). He was the only remaining disciple. The rest had been martyred. It is told from the point of view of a man who had spent his entire life under God’s grace. It is very good.
The old testament, on the other hand, tells the story of God’s people, the Israelites, as history moved towards the great dividing point: Jesus. This morning I’ve been thinking about David. He was personally selected by God to lead his people and be a forefather of Jesus (Jesus was from David’s lineage). Here’s a quick recap of his story.
The Israelites looked at the countries around them and saw that the others all had kings (this is after God led them about of bondage in Egypt and delivered them into the promised land of Canaan). They told God, “We want a king.” God said, “No you don’t. I am your king.” They said, “Yes, we do.” God said, “Okay, have it your way.” He does that sometimes.
God selected Saul. Saul was handsome and just what the people thought they wanted in a king. Saul eventually turned from God. Power is such an effective corrosion agent. God sent Samuel, his prophet during the time of Saul, to select a new king. He sent him to Jesse, who had many sons. Jesse brought his sons to stand before Samuel. Samuel said, “Nope, not that one. Not that one, either,” and so on. He got to the end and hadn’t selected the king. He asked Jesse, “Do you have any more sons?” The other son was David. He was the youngest and was out tending the sheep. No need to bring him along. God works that way sometimes. He picks the one no one else wanted.
Samuel anointed David as the next king. Time passes. We learn about David’s defeat of Goliath. Eventually, Saul is having so much trouble (he has episodes where he goes crazy and gets violent) that he seeks out a musician to play him music and soothe him. Guess who they picked. Yep, David. David’s life then follows this crazy journey of Saul attempting to kill him, over and over again. During this period, David wrote many of the Psalms. Read Psalm 34 for a great example of our response to fear when we are trying to rely on our own resources. Read Psalm 56 (also written by David) to see what it looks like to rely on God in times of fear.
David eventually becomes king. He is a great warrior. He wins many battles by listening to God and following his plans for war. One of those included hiding in mulberry trees and waiting to attack the Philistines until he heard the sound of people marching in the tree tops. Yes. God sometimes asks us to do illogical things to demonstrate our faith in him and not our own strength/knowledge/experience.
David becomes complacent. He stays home when he should be in battle. His soldiers are out fighting, but he is on the roof of his house. He looks at a nearby roof and sees a woman bathing, Bathsheeba (I love that her name included “bath”). He desires her. He calls for her to be brought to him. He has sex with her. She was the wife of one of his commanders. He has her husband moved to the front and then has the other men withdraw from him so he is killed. Yes, the same David of David and Goliath fame. Yes, King David, the forefather of Jesus. Bathsheeba is pregnant. The baby dies. But the story doesn’t end there. David and Bathsheeba have another son. Solomon. He becomes the wisest man to ever live. God blessed him with riches and a great kingdom. Yes, God sometimes make great things out of terrible circumstances.
The Bible is amazing. It is not a history book. It is the blueprint for our lives. It is God’s word to us and it is a living document. It will speak to you in your circumstances in a way that it speaks to no one else. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to begin your journey with God through his holy word to you.