Summary: Good starts are good, but the important thing is to finish well, this is what we learn from the life of David
INTRODUCTION, Have you ever noticed in life that a good start isn’t always enough. Now there is nothing wrong with a good start mind you, but it is often not enough to get us to the finish line, or to the winners circle.
And if you don’t believe me, ask the Atlanta Braves who won the first 2 games of the 1996 years world series against the Yankees in New York. I think the scores were 12-1 and 6-0. They were pretty excited about their start. But winning those 2 games gave little comfort as they watched their opponents hold that trophy 4 games later.
Or you can ask the 1969 Baltimore Orioles. Who dominated the majors that year. Won 109 games -- more than any other team. And their opponents in the World Series were the New York Mets. Everyone expected the Orioles to win easily, and then when they won the first game -- it seemed as though they had it in the bag... But in just 4 more games it would be all over, and the New York Mets would be the ones wearing that World Series ring. In 1969 the Orioles and all of Baltimore were convinced of the truth that a good start isn’t enough.
Or take the Buffalo Bills who in their 4th Super bowl led the Dallas Cowboys going into to halftime. But as good as that first half was , the Bills will be the first to tell you that at the end of the contest - when the Dallas Cowboys were the one holding the trophy - that a good start is not enough. The week following the game the city of Buffalo did not throw a parade to celebrate the half time lead.
Starting strong is no guarantee of finishing strong. Tonight we are bring our series on the life of David to a close. David had a great start – anointed by Samuel, “You will be the next king”
His life has been one of great victories over giants and enemies of God and he has known great heartache because of sin and lack of discipline. Tonight by looking at David’s example, I hope we will discover several truths on how to finish strong in our relationship with God
BACKGROUND – King David was a weary warrior, about to sleep with his fathers. He did not have long to live, and he knew it. But David was about to find out that even at that stage of life, he still had work to do.
One of David’s sons, Adonijah, was ambitious, and wanted to become king. Never mind that his father David had not yet died. Never mind that it was by no means clear in this kingdom that the crown is passed from father to son – after all, David himself did not get it that way. And never mind, most of all, that David had not promised the throne to Adonijah, but to another son, Solomon. None of that mattered to this crafty and ambitious young man. He wanted to be king and he went about gathering support. The Kingdom of Israel was about to go into full-fledged crisis. David’s wife Bathsheba and her son, Solomon, along with Nathan the prophet, intervened, so that David could finish strong. Note David’s Last Days.
1. He was now a man of moral integrity.
Read 1 Kings 1:1-4
In his old age David is losing strength. It is suggested he is to have a young girl serve him.
She is described as – Pure – Young – Beautiful – one other thing The King did not know her (He did not have intimate relations with this girl.)
He had learned his lesson with his sin with Bathsheba
While it would have been permissible to make this girl his wife, David now would have the moral integrity not to fall into the same temptation.
Integrity ability to live one’s life in the open.
Ps 15:1-5, LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.
Integrity issues first appear as small items but they have a way of disqualifying one for service.
The example of the great wall of China was built – the enemies never scaled the wall, yet three times China was invaded – simply bribed the gate keepers. What are you doing to protect your integrity so that you might finish strong?