Summary: First in a series on the life of David. This message looks at how God uses ordinary people in ordinary poistions to serve His purposes.
For the next ten weeks or so, we’re going to embark on a journey through the life of David. The story of David’s life is so fascinating. We probably know more about David that any other person in the Bible, except for Jesus. And the thing I like about David is that he’s so much like us. God calls him a man after God’s own heart and yet David is certainly no picture of perfection. He commits adultery and murder; he disobeys God; his family is a mess.
So why would we want to study the life of David? David’s really not a role model to follow. And even if he was, I’m not sure how much value that would be to us. In his book Leap Over a Wall, Eugene Peterson has this insight into the danger of trying to emulate role models in our lives:
A common, maybe the most common, error in our quest to live well is to set up a model that we attempt to emulate. The model shows us what we can become, a perfection to which we can aspire. But it also continuously shows us what we aren’t yet, how far we have to go. After we try this for a while, it turns out most of us don’t have much good to say about role models.
And while we can certainly find some Biblical principles and theological truths in the midst of his story, I’m not sure that’s even the most valuable reason for examining David’s life. But the one thing that David does that all of us can relate to is that he lives out his spirituality in the midst of the real world – what Eugene Peterson refers to as “earthly spirituality.” Every part of David’s life is an encounter with God – even when he doesn’t know it.
One of the dangers we face as followers of Jesus Christ is that we tend to compartmentalize our lives. We separate the secular and the sacred. But when we look at the life of David we begin to realize that in a sense everything we do in life is an encounter with God. That’s why I’ve titled this series “Spirituality for the Real World.” It’s my prayer for all of us that as we examine David’s life we’ll recognize that God wants to be intimately involved in every part of my life and that maybe along the way we’ll also discover how we can do that just a little bit better and how we, too, can be men and women after God’s own heart.
David’s story begins in 1 Samuel 16, so let’s read the first 13 verses together.
Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13
I’ve titled the message this morning “So Long Status Quo”. That title comes from the song “Brave” by Nicole Nordeman. A little later on we’ll listen to that song, but just listen right now to the words of the chorus:
So long, status quo
I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave
I’m convinced that those words are so appropriate for many of us. A lot of us would really like to live a life that serves God. We’d like to move beyond the status quo and step out in faith and take a risk and do something good for God, but we’re afraid. And there are many reasons for our fear. But when it comes right down to it, I think there are three basic fears that most of us experience:
• I’m just an ordinary person
We live in a world today where we entrust everything to the “experts.” We turn the responsibility for our health over to the medical experts. We turn the responsibility for our learning over to the educational experts. We turn the responsibility for our relationships over to the psychological experts. And the results aren’t always very encouraging. In spite of the advances in medicine, people are fatter and lazier than ever. We’ve raised up a whole generation of people who are ignorant of history and unable to think for themselves. And we have a much higher rate of dysfunctional families and relationships than we’ve ever experienced.
And yet, in the face of these disturbing trends, we’ve also chosen to entrust our faith over to the “religious experts.” And so this whole distinction between the religious experts – the clergy – and the ordinary people – the laity – has developed. And unfortunately many of us have gotten the mistaken impression that God can’t use us because we don’t have a seminary degree or don’t have all the answers. I know because I’ve been there. I’m just an ordinary guy who has gone through 4 or 5 different careers. I don’t have a seminary degree and I certainly don’t have all the answers.