Summary: First of the two part series on King David based on the lectionary Proper 10B.
If you look at the life of King David, he is pretty much like you and me. He has his strength and weaknesses like every human being. He was an artist, a poet, a musician, that he was often invited by the king to perform in the palace. He was also a warrior, even as a young man, he took down Goliath with his slingshot. He was so courageous that while others thought Goliath was too big to confront, but David thought he was too big to miss. Of course, we also know his weaknesses in his relationship with Bathsheba.
But, the reality is he was just a shepherd boy, yet he became the king of Israel. The Scripture says, the reason of his success was because David was a man after God’s own heart. I am sure all of us want to be people after God’s own heart. We all want to be blessed by God, just as God blessed David.
The scripture readings according to the lectionary this morning tells us about how King David was a man after God’s own heart. If King David were around today, and if you were to ask him to give you some Spiritual Direction to send you toward the right path of life and a right relationship with God, what would he tell you?
1 – Stay Close to the Presence of God
"It was before the LORD"
David just became the king of Israel and he has all the excuses to be busy and forget about the Lord. After all, the Ark of the Covenant has been taken away by the Philistines for 100 years. Even his wife, Michal, the princess, the daughter of King Saul, didn’t think it deserve such a reverence. When she saw her husband King David dancing on the road in front of the Ark, it didn’t make sense to her. In fact, she despised her husband for doing that.
For a faithful Jew, the Art of the Covenant is the physical symbol of the presence of the Lord. Michal has been going to the church all her life with her father where there is no presence of the Lord. Ultimately, the presence of the Lord is no longer important to her.
But it was important to David. As soon as he became the king and as soon as he conquered the Philistines, he brought the lost Art back to Jerusalem, the capital city of the nation. He wants to be at the presence of the Lord. He took off his clothes and put away his crown, making a statement that I am not the king, but the Lord is the King. I might be the king of Israel, but the Lord is my King. I want to bring the Ark of God to Jerusalem and keep the Lord near me.
Based on this passage, I am sure if you were to ask King David to give you an advice on your spiritual life, he would have told you to "stay close to the presence of the Lord."
2 – Remember to Count the Blessings
"I was before the Lord, who chose me in place of your father and all his household, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the LORD..."
Each time we become worry, or whinny, or unhappy with the things around us, it is usually we forget to count the blessings. Years ago, one of my cousins told me that one morning he was crossing the Bay Bridge on his way to work in San Francisco, he stopped at the toll booth to pay the toll. It was a hot summer morning and the smogs from the cars just made those toll booths a miserable place to make a living. As he handed out the toll, he asked the toll collector, "How are you doing?" The man answered, "Counting the blessings, sir."
Trust me, each time you start complaining about life, be aware of yourself, and you will discovered that you have forgotten the blessings. As long as you are breathing, there is all ways to give thanks for.
Give thanks for what you have. Some people have what I call "Material Malady." They think I will be happier if only I have this and that. If only I have what my sister has. If only I have what my neighbor has. Remember there are millions of people out there dying to have your problems. Give thanks for what you have.
Give thanks for where you are. Some people have what I call "Destination Disease." They think I will be happier if I move to the West Coast. When they move to the West Coast, they think they would be happier when they move to Australia. They can’t be happy, because they are always looking forward to a happier time on Blue Bayou. They will find themselves drawn to songs like this, "Saving nickles saving dimes, Working til the sun don’t shine, Looking forward to happier times, On Blue Bayou."