David: Portrait of a Son

If I wrote fiction, I’d base one of my characters on King David. He is one interesting dude. We all know him as the man after God’s own heart, but he was also someone who didn’t do anything half-way. And he did it all. He was both bad boy and the boy next door. He led a bunch a warriors called the Mighty Men (2 Sam 23:8,9). (Superheroes are biblical people!) This guy lived life to the fullest. David was as complex as his life was complicated.

In my devotions this week, after months of studying his life in Beth Moore’s Portraits of Devotion, we buried this amazing man.

There’s much of David’s story that I find tragic. Maybe because he didn’t do anything half-way, the tragedies seem even more heart-breaking. You’d think that a guy who walked this closely with God, wouldn’t stumble so badly. You’d think he’d have it together. He didn’t. His personal life had some serious gaffes. The kind that tear families apart. That bring about death, figuratively as well as literally. You’d think David would have wanted to hide from God or maybe God wouldn’t want much to do with David. That’s what you’d think.

It wasn’t that way at all. God doesn’t usually do things the way we’d think. In fact it was just the opposite. In reading the devotional, the picture that stood out to me was one of a father and his son. The love that girded that relationship even in the messy parts of David’s life.

IMG_1301If you’ve raised boys, you understand that on some levels they need to be tamed. There’s so much good stuff built into the DNA of boys but it needs to be shaped and channelled so it can be used mightily. I’m not talking about emasculating them. I’m talking about taming the wild into wild servanthood. This is part of a parent’s job.

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When God sets aside people to do great things in His kingdom, He usually sets them apart to tame them in a sense. It’s preparation for what’s ahead.  Moses lived in Midian for forty years after fleeing Egypt (Acts 7:29,30). Paul went to the desert after his conversion (Gal 1:17). David ran for his life, from Saul. David wasn’t just handed the throne He had been anointed for years earlier. He had to wait for it. And then He had to fight for it.

Waiting for something that’s been promised you, is one of the all-time pruning machines God uses, in my books. Waiting is excruciating. Waiting can bring out the worst in a person or the best. Sometimes it’s one then the other. Waiting can test your relationship with God. Waiting can make or break you depending on your attitude.

As a parent, making your child wait for something you want very much to give them, is also excruciating. I wonder if God feels that way too? David was God’s anointed to be king over His people. Do you think God couldn’t wait to give that to David? It’s a picture of a good dad, helping his son to grow up. God loved David so much that He taught him the lessons, some of them incredibly hard, that he needed to learn so he could step into a very big purpose, matured and ready.

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Throughout his life, David had God’s love and favour. Maybe because deep down, David’s heart was tightly bound to God’s own heart. When God dealt with David in his mess and sin, David repented. His heart was teachable and open. On several occasions David listened to advice from his appointed leaders even though he was king. He didn’t have to.  David’s love, respect and awe for His God is somewhat breathtaking. He exhibited a humble spirit before God. His position, his wealth, his success didn’t deter David from recognizing who was in control of His life. We could take a few lessons from him.

In the very depths of his heart, David was still the son looking to his Father for guidance, for love and to do His will. David never outgrew that. Even in his old age, David was still the son, adoring his Father.

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God honoured David for his faithfulness and love. He gave David His favour, then the favour of men. God loved David. Life was still hard. David still struggled but he wasn’t alone. He was beloved. That made the difference in the outcome of David’s life.  It is one of the thrilling things about David’s story; this love between God, the heavenly father and David, his adopted son. It gives us insight into the kind of connection we can have with God. Sometimes I think that David’s bond with God was a “one of a kind” deal. But it’s not. Maybe so much of David’s life is shared in scripture so that we will learn from it and get an idea of the kind of relationship we can have with God our Father. To start to understand and believe that’s why He created us. Maybe the story of David can inspire us to pursue that deep relationship with God. To not be satisfied with mediocre but to seek hard after the One who calls us beloved.

So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galations 4:7 ESV

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