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Life of King David

Life of King David – The Philosopher
Many remember David as the fair-haired shepherd boy who defeated a giant named Goliath. Others recall David as the wise Jewish ruler who brought the tribes of Israel together as a united nation. The ancient texts also present David as a powerful warrior, cunning diplomat, and talented musician. However, with all these tremendous accolades, the foundation of David’s fame and faith can be traced to a period of severe trial and doubting in his life. Indeed, David was a true philosopher.

Early in his journey, David was chosen to succeed Saul as the king of Judah. Although Saul was initially impressed by David’s skills as a soldier, politician, and musician, Saul became wary of his successor, so he put out a contract on David’s life. David was forced to live on the run, often spending weeks hiding in the network of caves surrounding the Dead Sea.

It is here that David really began asking the tough questions of life. Alone in the dark or on the run through enemy territory, David opened-up and honestly shared his thoughts, struggles, and fears. David was frustrated with God’s plan for his life, and he wrote about it in his prayer journals. Although Saul stopped at nothing to kill David, David never followed through on his opportunities to kill Saul. David’s years alone with God forged his exemplary character and unflinching faith. Through loneliness and struggle, David learned to be fully dependant on God.

When Saul finally died in an unrelated battle, David returned to Judah and claimed his position as king over Judah in 1009 BC. Seven years later, the northern tribes of Israel accepted him as king and he became ruler of a united Jewish nation until his death in 969 BC. David wasn’t a perfect leader or a perfect man, but his years alone with God, humbled and crumbled in the dark, developed the soul of a legendary philosopher-king, and forged a legacy that endures to this day.

Life of King David – His Theme

    “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’ -- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. “Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:3-7).
Have you noticed one of the major themes running through David’s writings? He paints a picture of utter trial and turmoil in his life, yet maintains an internal compass that always points to “true north.” Whereas most of us look for happiness based on external circumstances in our lives, David has discovered a deeper joy grounded in his inner self. Most of us strive for happiness that’s external and temporary. David teaches us to drive towards a place of deeper well-being, where we develop trust and hope in God that extends beyond our external realities.

Life of King David – His Conclusion
Yes, deep stuff! David has learned that happiness and joy are different things. Happiness is that fleeting state of emotion that’s dependent on doing. Today’s marketers know this! However, joy is a long-term process of the mind that’s dependent on being. For David, it’s the seasons of trial and suffering -- chaos and confusion -- that ultimately develop deeper and more profound joy. The key is to know God as your internal compass.

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Compliments of THE GREAT PURSUIT: The Message for Those In Search of God, by Eugene H. Peterson and Randall Niles (NavPress 2007).

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