Two of the most well known things about David are his victory over Goliath and his sin with Bathsheba. When we consider his triumph, we wonder how we as a congregation can have our own great victories. When we consider his sin, we sometimes think we could never fall into such extreme wickedness, but may indeed later find ourselves in divisions, heresies, laziness, and sins that are no better. There is a temptation to only see the endings of great Bible stories and to miss how things came to be. If we do that, we will find ourselves failing to reach the desired end and being surprised when we have ended up in the sinful one. Let us consider two lesser-known statements from both events in David’s life, for as they stand in contrast to each other, they teach us it is not only the fancy ending that is important, but also the humble beginning.
The 1st statement comes from 1Sa 17:48, which states, “David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.” Here we find an aggressiveness, a determination, a confidence in Yahweh’s ability to prevail that defines all that David does in 1Sa 17. It is this trust in the Lord, and this courageous zeal to accomplish His will, that resulted in David’s success.
In our 1st statement, little David, trusting in the Lord, bravely hastens toward a massive warrior. In our 2nd, of all the things mighty King David could do during “the time when kings go out to battle,” 2Sa 11:2 tells us, “late one afternoon, David arose from his couch and walked on the roof of the king’s house.” Here we find no fervor for the Lord, no zeal to accomplish His will. In fact, we do not even find someone who trusts in the Lord enough to care a thing about what he ought to be doing. All we find is someone whose greatest deed of the day is getting up off of his couch late in the afternoon. It is this seemingly harmless selfishness and complacency that led to the rampant evil we all condemn.
Perhaps, the reason we sometimes do not find ourselves achieving the great victories of David but rather find ourselves in danger of dwindling and failing, is because from the outset and throughout the process, our attitude is wrong. Perhaps, we are ambivalent, rather than determined; comfortable, rather than zealous; doubtful, rather than trusting. We must have the trust and zeal of David to have the victory God gave him.
Let each and every one of us approach the work here at [Insert your congregation here] with a zeal for the Lord’s will and a trust in the Lord’s ability to deliver. Let it never be said that at [Insert your congregation here] our greatest work was that “late one Wednesday afternoon we sat down on our padded pews.” It is time for us to go out to battle. Let us run quickly against whatever giants stand opposed to our Lord. Let us equip ourselves through study, and go out and share the good news and love of Jesus with our friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, enemies, and strangers. Only then will we have the great victories of David and avoid his great sins.