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" Last Words of David "
- 2Samuel 23:1-7 -

"Now these are the last words of David. Thus says David the son of Jesse; thus says the man raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel: The Spirit of Jehovah has spoken by me, and His Word was on my tongue. The God of Israel has said, the Rock of Israel has spoken to me: He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, like the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after rain. Although my house is not so with the Mighty God, yet He has made with me a perpetual covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For all my salvation and all my desire, will He not make it grow? But the sons of worthlessness shall all be as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with the hand. But the man who touches them must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they shall be burned with fire to be burned in their place."

When we come to the end of our lives, what is it that summarizes our existence on this earth?

Ezekiel speaks of a sinner repenting and turning to God, that the latter state of that person is "righteous", that God does not remember his former iniquities. He receives life. (Ezk18:22) But if a righteous man turns, and becomes wicked, his former righteousness is forgotten, and he "shall die" (vs24); the "soul who sins shall die" (vs4); as we know that "the wages of sin is death". (Rom6:23a)

Jacob's life was full of turmoil. He conned his brother out of birthright and blessing, and had to run-for-his-life. Had struggles with his wives and father-in-law. Had insecurities and struggles in his existence amongst the pagans who lived around him. When he goes to Egypt and meets Pharaoh, he characterizes his own life: ".. few and evil have been the days of the years of my life.." (Gen47:9) And yet, when he comes to the end of his life, and is blessing his sons, giving instructions regarding his own burial, he has come to terms with his life. During his life he always felt he was being bereaved of the ones he truly loved: Rachel (Gen29:30) who died at a young age in childbirth; and Joseph, of whom when he thought he was dead he always spoke of dying with his "gray hair in sorrow" (Gen42:38) And yet notice that as he is blessing his sons (an act of preparation to die, putting his house in order), he speaks of his -wife- "Leah" the one who during the younger years had been the "hated" wife. (Gen49:31,29:31)

One of the thieves who was crucified next to Jesus, although his own life had been one of evil and sin, recognizes that he is on the cross for 'just' cause (Lk23:40), at the very end of his life turns to Jesus for salvation, and is promised a place in Paradise. (vs43)

How did Jacob come to peace? By "prevailing" before God. (Gen32:28, 49:26) "by faith". (Heb11:21) How did the thief come into God's "Kingdom"? By faith, and God's grace through Jesus Christ. He obviously had done no righteous works (Eph2:8-9); he was hanging on the cross condemned, dying; there was nothing he -could- do even if he had wanted to. But he turned and 'looked' to Jesus, just as the Israelites who had been bitten by the serpents due to their rebellion, turned and 'looked' at the bronze serpent hanging on the cross in the wilderness. As many as 'looked', lived. (Nu21:8-9)

Like the old song: "Look and live...look to Jesus now, and live.."

And so David is also at the end of his life. David, the one who was "after God's own heart". (1Sa2:35, 13:14) David's closing comments provide us with a look at David's own life, as well as at general wisdom and righteousness.

First of all, notice where David's authority as king came from. When being hounded by Saul he was continually restraining his men from killing Saul, because he would not "stretch" his "hand" against God's "anointed". But God saw to Saul's demise, and put David on the throne. He did not set about on a campaign to kill all his enemies, but waited for seven years, ruling over Judah from Hebron (2Sa2:11) until God brought about the hearts of those in power in Israel to unit the whole kingdom together to David. (ch3)

David was the "sweet psalmist of Israel". The largest percentage of the Psalms were written by David. The ordinances of worship in Solomon's temple were those established through David. (2Ch8:14)

But was not Moses of the tribe of Levi? Was not the temple service to be carried out by the -Levitical- priesthood? How was David put into that position? It came about from Eli's failure to bring up his sons in purity. God prophesied to Eli that He would raise up "..a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My soul. I will build him a lasting house, and he shall walk before My anointed for all time." (1Sa2:35) That was the beginnings of the prophecies about David, and beyond to Christ. A priesthood not of Levi, but through Judah. (Heb7:14)

And notice, just like with all God's prophets, David says, "The Spirit of Jehovah has spoken by me, and His Word was on my tongue" (vs2) A subscriber questioned once about David wearing the 'ephod' when the ark was brought to Jerusalem (2Sa6:14): Were not only the priests to wear the ephod? Indeed they were. But David was raised up as a 'father' of the earthly lineage of the Eternal Priesthood of Jesus... God "manifested in the flesh" (1Ti3:16) Not only was David a king of Israel; in a very real sense, he was also one of Israel's greatest prophets. The Holy Spirit spoke through David's mouth, the Word of God.

Something that David knew: Rulers need to be just...unlike Saul who had preceeded David. Their rule should be in "the fear of God". This is something Nebuchadnezzar learned, that "the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of men..." (Dan4:32) Babylon was certainly -not- a "christian" nation, but Nebuchadnezzar learned of God's authority over him. Just in the same way, America is not a "christian" nation; but it was at least founded under the banner of an acknowledgment of the Most High. I suspect one reason it has succeeded to such greatness is that it has, for many years, had this acknowledgment of God, where most of the other nations on earth have not, giving allegiance to their other gods of islam, hindu, buddhism, etc. And where so many other nations under dictatorships have suffered unfair cruelties, this nation "under God" has tended to be known for a more equitable and 'just' system of justice. (However, all these things have been deteriorating over the past many decades. But it is how the nation was founded.)

But incredibly, David says, "Although my house is not so with the Mighty God" (vs5) Why would he say such a thing?

Well, it all started when David lusted after the beautiful naked woman out bathing where he was watching. (2Sa11:2) Scripture doesn't tell us what Bathsheba's part may have been in it all, other than what it says. Did she know the king went to the housetop, so did she purposely 'allure' David? We are not told. However, the account doesn't tell us that she resisted David's advances; nor that he forced himself upon her. Thus, like the saying: It takes two to tango. And we know the story...to try to cover up the matter, David murders her husband in battle. Now, while we know of David's confession (Ps51) and God's forgiveness (2Sa12:13); nevertheless because of it, God promised trouble for David the rest of his life. (vs10-12)

This is seen in the incident where Amnon forces Tamar. (2Sa13) And then the whole business of Absalom killing Amnon because of his deed, and Absalom's revolt and attempted coup (the following chapters) where David is fleeing Jerusalem for his life. Not to mention, as it is time for Solomon to ascend to the throne, another son, Adonijah decides to attempt a coup for himself to the throne, (1Ki1)

As near as I can tell (without going into an explanation of it here), all those things happened nearer the end the David's reign. And so, as he is now uttering his "last words", these events of turmoil are more relatively 'fresh' on his mind, I'm sure. And I suspect that, while he had expressed gratefulness at forgiveness (Ps32:1-2), he is also now freshly remembering the consequences for his sins. Like that little boy who pounded nails into the board every time he did wrong, and pulled the nails out when forgiven...yet, the 'holes' remained. David has been experiencing his own 'holes'.

Thus, while David is called by God, the one "after God's own heart", yet David in introspection sighs as he looks back upon his life. Knowing a king is to be just, but seeing his own failures. And what does he conclude? Where does his great name come from?

Yet He (the Mighty God) has made with me a perpetual covenant, ordered in all things and secure. (vs5) David's greatness was not his own; it was God's. God called him from following the sheep and anointed him as king. (2Sa7:8) God arranged (ordered) everything. When David experienced all his military victories, it was at the word of God. David was continually seeking God's face (Ps27:8, 2Sa5:19,etc), and obeying God's directions. And as a result he was able to bequeath to Solomon a kingdom that was secure and at peace. (1Ki4:24-25)

But he also trusted God for his own Salvation. (vs5b) I realize the words are in separate sentences, but it is all one huge context. God was providing his "security", and he also speaks of his "salvation". God's "perpetual" covenant with him. This 'covenant' had to do with God's promise of the Messiah coming through David's 'seed'. (Jn7:42, Rom1:3, 2Ti2:8, Is9:7, 2Sa7:16) But the promise of God to David was of an enduring throne, kingdom and salvation. It was -God's- doing, not David's; because in David's own heart he knew it was not in him, in his own house. It was David who psalmed, "For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." (Ps103:14)

Thus, Paul also proclaims about our Salvation, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" And he concludes that -nothing- "..shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom8:35-39) Because our salvation is "..not of [ourselves], it is a gift of God. Not of works, that no one should boast" (Eph2:8-9)

Now, most of us probably look at David as having been a "giant" of a Believer... I mean, just -looook- at all his accomplishments! He subdued enemy kingdoms, established an entire nation in security, set up an entire set of worship rituals, and was the progenitor of Christ's flesh-and-blood lineage; and by comparison, we are all 'nothing'.

Well, actually, the standard for every Believer is no lower than David's. Every person who names the name of Christ should be just like David. As Paul also said, "Be imitators of me, just as I am also of Christ." (1Co11:1) Perhaps we each have different jobs to do, but in God's sight we should be like him. As Jesus said about John the Immerser, that there had been no greater prophet than he, and yet, "...he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." (Lk7:28b) God's standards of righteousness and holiness is the same for all, whether prophet, or just an 'ordinary joe'.

Every Christian Believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. (Eph1:13, Rom8:9) Everything the Believer does should be according to the "measure of faith" (Rom12:3) "led by the Spirit of God" (Rom8:14) How is any of this different than David?

It's like when the Air Force "Thunderbirds" are performing their aerobatic shows, the announcer informs the crowd that -all- Air Force fighter pilots are trained to do the very same maneuvers the Thunderbirds are doing. Same in the Christian life: it doesn't matter if a person is a preacher or a sanitation worker...we -all- are expected to adhere to the same standard of Godly holiness.

And when a Believer slips, and sins, "for there is no one who does not sin" (1Ki8:46, 1Jn1:8) as David asked forgiveness and cleansing "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (Ps51:7), so must we do, "confessing" our sins and receiving Christ's "cleansing from all unrighteousness" (1Jn1:9)

So, for how many of us; whoever of us does not remain alive till Christ comes to receive the Believers at the rapture, who do "not all sleep" (1Co15:51); will we be able to have similar "last words" as David's?

Oh but...David was so "great"! you say? Yes, but he committed adultery and murder. What worse deeds are there? Yes, David was great. But if you live a purer life than he did, for -all- his accomplishments, you are greater.

A Believer's "last words", like David, acknowledge -God's- Salvation, the Holy Spirit's indwelling, one's own failures and inadequacies, and a resting upon God's promises and security for salvation.

Until that day, we seek to "grow" to maturity. (vs5b, 1Co2:6, 14:20) But even our growth comes from God. David says, "..will -He- not make it grow?" (vs5b) We might plant and water, but "God makes it grow" (1Co3:6)

What do we do to that end? We lay aside the weights and entanglements of sin that "persistently harass us" and we "look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..." (Heb12:1-2)

The main reason David was so 'great' (a "man raised up on high") was because of his heart: "O how I love Your Law! It is my meditation all the day." (Ps119:97) And he understood well what Paul proclaimed: "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." (Rom11:36)

David: Man After God's Own Heart


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