I was thinking about King David this week. He led an amazing life. He is considered by most as the greatest King of Israel. The promised messiah was to come from his linage. In the Bible he is a big deal. He is a big deal in the Jewish story. There are few statues in Israel, but there is one of him in the middle of Jerusalem, a kingly looking person with a harp in hand cast in bronze.
We might think he was defined by the heroic moment when he faced the giant Goliath. With courage, faith, a sling and a smooth stone he killed the giant that had been challenging the armies of Israel for days. This victory would set the stage for his becoming king a few years later, that and the day Samuel anointed him king as he stood by his fathers flock, the same flock he had watched so often as he wrote and sang so many of the Psalms.
But I don’t think that is what defined him in the end. David had some amazing ups, picked to be King by God, killing Goliath, winning battle after battle against the philistines, building a nation and laying the groundwork for the Temple to be built after his death.
I think his greatest moments were his recovery from his downs. Downs are often what destroy the story that God wants to write in and with our lives. His sin with Bathsheba, setting up the death of his general and friend Uriah so he could have the generals wife, then trying to cover it up for a season, this could have easily destroyed him. But somehow he was able to find restoration. The Bible says how, “He was a man after God’s own heart”. He deeply understood God’s love for him, and David loved God just as deeply. He could have been destroyed when his son Absolom led a rebellion against him and was killed by one of his generals in the process. But his broken heart did not call him to abandon God, instead it called him to go to God. He could have lost it as he aged and found himself unable to do what he had done and be who he had been, but in those moments he continued to celebrate the one constant in his life, his relationship with God and the value of it.
David’s words: “I am blessed above all people that my sins are forgiven”. He was a king, he lived in a palace, he was wealthy, he was famous, he was idolized by a nation, but in the end the simple gift of God’s grace in his life was what he celebrated, appreciated, and held closest to his heart.
“I am blessed above all that my sins are forgiven, I belong to God, God is with me, and one day I will be with God.”
I pray this prayer often throughout most days. It reminds me what I really value and what is really heroic; experiencing, celebrating, and knowing the Grace of God in Christ.
The story of the christian life is not written around the great victories, but around the great failures,the disappointments, the big mistakes, even the sins ; for this is when we really know who we are and who God is, and it is here we find salvation, the salvation marked by the cross of Christ.