Of all the Old Testament Biblical figures, King David resonates the most with me. It was not just because he was a powerful king or a psalmist. It was not because he was a great leader or a ferocious warrior. It was also not because, as a young man, he slayed Goliath and showed unlimited bravery. All of these things are impressive in and of themselves, and all are worthy of praise. But all of these examples pale in comparison to Samuel describing David to Saul as a man after God’s own heart. (1 Samuel 13:14)
As a career police officer, I understand it is often difficult to reconcile being a person who carries a firearm and being a man of peace. Romans 13:4 affirms the profession, however, “For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” (ESV) Those are powerful words and should not be taken lightly by anyone.
David’s life often showed how he had a warrior’s heart but was also able to stay mindful of God’s desire. He was a masterful soldier, an accomplished musician, a poet, and a leader. He was a KING. He led Israel in both domestic and foreign affairs. But he turned to God during crisis and never forgot to worship the Lord.
David was also a sinner and his sins created turmoil amongst the land. His sins were laid out before the nation and his life compromised. What he had done in private was exposed in public. He had no secret he could hide. His life was torn open.
David was an adulterer and a murderer. He allowed Bathsheba’s beauty to blind him, and he sinned for that beauty and even set up her husband to be killed. David was seen as an assassin and a fraud. Later, he would live through the horror of his children’s pain; Absalom, Tamar, and Amnon were all affected. He lived through the rape, murder, and trencher of his own offspring. Absalom would try to overthrow David’s government, demean his family, and sexual assaulted his father’s concubines. Finally, after all this scandal, David would still agonize over Absalom’s death after the Battle of Wood of Ephraim.
Like many stories of the Old Testament, they are “sugarcoated” and homogenized to the point of folly and their meaning is lost. But it is important to know the real story so that we all can have a clear understanding of it meaning. David was a sinner and God forgave him, but it did not mean he did not suffer for his sins. He did and many times over for the rest of his life.
All of us need to focus on this account and understand its real meaning. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. It is part of the human condition and both the Old and New Testament stress the reality of life’s struggles. The Bible is not full of fairy tales and feel-good stories.
It is a book full of real-life struggles and sacrifices. It is an instruction manual on how to understand life and living. Plus, it is not an easygoing tale and Jesus was not some hippie mystic who wandered the earth preaching love without sacrifice. Jesus was a realist. A Man/God of action. He did not sugarcoat anything and was a straight shooter. His message was radical, and it changed the world. And not everyone loved him or his parables. Many had no problem with planning his death. No problem at all.
For those who have a warrior’s heart, especially first responders and members of the military, and who want to serve God, David’s example is a place to start. Understand that your desire to serve is the best starting place and no one is asking you to lose your passion, but your passions need to be focused on God. You can be a warrior, a poet, or a musician but, most of all, you must be a leader. What the Christian world needs now more than ever are leaders who are willing to stand up for what they believe.
It is not an easy task, but it is what the world needs today. But you are not alone. As David wrote in the 23rd Psalm:
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (KJV)
The promise of God’s comfort and protection is all we need. David’s plans and life, though not perfect, focused on God’s grace and mercy. And God’s grace and mercy are all you need to conquer the problems of the world and in your life. As Paul says in Romans 8:31b, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
So, let’s go into the world together and serve.