Summary: This is about the last words of King David.
“‘Tis well.” – George Washington.
“Stonewall” Jackson said, “Order A. P. Hill to prepare for action! Pass the infantry to the front rapidly! Tell Major Hawks … Let us cross over the river and sit under the shade of the trees.”
“Hold the cross high so I may see it through the flames!” cried Joan of Arc.
John Kennedy said, “That’s obvious.”
P. T. Barnum said, “How were the circus receipts in Madison Square Garden?”
“Friends applaud, the comedy is over,” stated Beethoven.
Jesus cried out, “It is finished!”
What do all these quotes have in common? They are famous (and some not so famous) last words. Everyone has heard about famous last words.
Last words, and farewell speeches, are what some people are often remembered for. We think of General MacArthur saying, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”
Turn with me to 2 Samuel 23.
Read 2 Samuel 23:1-7.
These are probably the last words that came from David’s mouth, but they are the last inspired words that he said. It is a farewell statement.
There are some things we can learn from this. The first thing is that…
I. Our BACKGROUND
Doesn’t matter. David wasn’t ashamed of his background or family. He freely admitted that his father was Jesse. Jesse was a common man. David grew up chasing sheep outside the backwater town of Bethlehem. Shepherds were a dime a dozen. There was nothing special about them. David was the eighth son of the family. He was the runt.
I was watching an episode of the new Dragnet a few weeks ago. The suspect in the crime was a rich fellow. He had worked hard and moved up the social ladder. When Detective Friday went to his parents’ house, he found that they had died a few years earlier. He asked a neighbor who had lived next door for twenty years what had happened. The neighbor didn’t even know that the man had a son. He had never gone back to visit his parents. He was ashamed of his roots.
David wasn’t ashamed of his roots. He was proud of them. He must have marveled at the fact that God had plucked him out of the pasture to be king of Israel. King Saul had been described as being a “head taller than all the others.” David was an average looking Joe. This goes to show us that…
A. God can use ANYBODY.
The prophet Amos was a shepherd, and God used him to deliver his message to the people of Israel.
Nehemiah was a cupbearer in the service of the Persian king, and God used him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Peter, James and John were fishermen, and God used them to light the fire that started the Church. The religious officials of the days saw them as uneducated men.
Jesus was a carpenter, and we all know what happened there. His hometown folk said, “Is this not the carpenter?”
When God called the prophet Jeremiah, Jeremiah replied, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” Jeremiah thought he was too young to serve the Lord.
When the angels told Abraham, at the age of 100, that he would father a child with his 90-year-old wife, his wife laughed at the proposition. She thought she was too old to serve the Lord.
Moses was 80 years old when he led Israel out of Egypt. Zechariah was an old man when John the Baptist was born.
God can use anybody for his purpose. We can think of more recent examples. Joni Erickson Tada is a quadriplegic who spreads the Good News around. Nicky Cruz is a former street thug who now preaches the gospel.
The truth is God uses whomever he wants. God can use anybody.
B. God EQUIPS us.
When I was first answering God’s call to the ministry, I was concerned about my abilities, and frankly I still am. I was sharing my concern with my mom. She reminded me of the old saying, “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.”
God gives us the ability to do what he calls us to do. He took a ragtag bunch of disciples that included fishermen, a tax collector, a political radical, among others, and turned the world upside down on the Day of Pentecost.
God give ability to those he calls to do his work. It doesn’t matter what our backgrounds are. Some of us are from middle class, and some are not. Some are drop dead gorgeous, like Matt, and others aren’t. Some are bold in public, and some are shy. Some of us were raised in the church, and some of us weren’t. It doesn’t matter what our background is or was. All that matters is that God can equip us for the job he has planned for us.