Having faith doesn’t mean you always avoid problems. King David was perhaps the greatest king Israel ever had. He was brave. He was faithful. He was described as a “man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22) But his life was frequently marked by trials; and even misery.
Most people remember David for his amazing defeat of Goliath, the Philistine giant, on the battle field. Indeed, this conquest thrust David into the national spotlight and made him a hero in the land. But it made him odious in the sight of King Saul. David would spend many of the future years running for his life and living in caves to avoid the maniacal king who sought to kill him. At Saul’s request, David married the king’s daughter, thus becoming Saul’s son-in-law. But even this was done in order to ensnare David; and Saul’s daughter proved to be an unfaithful and unsupportive spouse.
Eventually, Saul is killed and David becomes king; in accordance with God’s ordination. But it wasn’t long before more trouble came about for him. This time, of his own doing. The Bible says, “In the spring time when kings go out to war, David sent Joab….” (2 Samuel 11:1) Instead of doing his duty as the king, he delegated to his general. This might have been acceptable if David has spent the free time meditating on Scripture, but instead he spent the time leering at another man’s wife. David had an affair with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, who was one of David’s most loyal soldiers.
At this point, David’s life spins out of control. Bathsheba is pregnant with the king’s illegitimate child. So he tries to get Uriah drunk and convince him to sleep with his wife to make it look like he was the father. But Uriah refuses. So David has him killed by sending orders for his general to put him on the front lines, then abandon him to the enemy. It seemed to be the perfect conspiracy. Except for one flaw. God knew what David did and God was not pleased.
God sends Nathan the Prophet to confront David and David truly is repentant. He is a man of God; but he has fallen greatly. Yet God shows him grace. David is granted eternal forgiveness, but he will have to live the rest of his life with temporal consequences. From this point on, his family is a mess. His sons are disloyal and try to seize the throne. Some of his kids are killed; others betray him. David dies decrepit at the age of 70. His early life was spent with brothers who did not seem to like him. His early adulthood was spent running for his life. And his later years were full of strife.
But David had faith and there were few like him in the annals of God’s history. He truly knew the Lord, but life was often hard. The same is true for us. Life is hard whether you know Christ or not. But if you know the Lord, you have the capacity to persevere and in the end, gain eternal life. Look to the Lord instead of your problems. He is greater. And He is worthy of your praise.
We can learn some important lessons from the life of David. First of all, faith does not come without its problems. Just because you have faith doesn’t mean life will be trouble-free. To the contrary you might encounter more problems, because you know and love the Lord. Many disciples were killed because of their allegiance to Jesus. Many others over the years have been persecuted, mocked, or tortured. Faith doesn’t eliminate all problems. But it does give us the power to persevere through them.
We can also learn from David that sin sometimes carries temporal consequences. And sometimes those consequences will last the rest of your time on earth. While we all might have a desire to trade places with David in his moments of glory; none of us would relish his downfall. He wept uncontrollably when his rotten son Absalom was killed. Even though Absalom tried to capture David’s throne and would have gladly killed his own father to get it; David loved him nonetheless. He grieved over his son; and none of us would care to trade places with him at that moment.
David had other problems as well. He made mistakes in ordering a census against God’s wishes; and he (and the nation) paid the price for his disobedience. While David went down in history as Israel’s greatest king, most of his life was ironically tumultuous. A man of war, he died in peace of natural causes. He shivered from sickness in his final days and he had the opportunity to see the end coming. He prepared his son Solomon to reign. He got his house in order as best he could. Then he died. The wild and crazy life of a man “after God’s own heart” who experienced unforeseen highs and breathtaking lows; shines forth as a lesson for us all. Life is sometimes ugly. But faith is beautiful. And David had faith. Today, David is with the Lord. Not because he was so great, but because God’s grace is. He saved David, just as he saves other sinners. David wasn’t great by nature. David was great because God made him great. David was king because God made him king. David was saved because God saved him. Turn from your sin in repentant faith, and trust in Christ alone for salvation. Get to know the King’s King or as the Bible calls Jesus, “the King of Kings.” There is none like Him. There is no other name by which we must be saved. Life is hard. Faith is precious. Jesus is everything. Rest in Him.