Today’s reading: 2 Sam 6-20, Ps 43
Today is one of the largest chunks we will read in the whole perfect 100 series. Fifteen chapters capture a significant portion of David’s time as king over Israel. For everyone who has heard snippets of David’s story before (and there are several familiar ones in these chapters), this lengthy assignment provides an opportunity to put those stories into a broader context.
Many of us, from the time we were small children, began learning the stories about David. . .or at least some of them. The ones we heard back then lifted David up as a model for good behavior–his courage, for example, in facing the giant Goliath. As kids, we didn’t hear about David’s escapade with Bathsheba or other less savory examples of his conduct.
Unfortunately, too many people never make it past the sanitized version of who king David is. When that happens, we are left with an incomplete, even false, account of this man–one that elevates David himself to near-godlike status. We miss the main focus of the story, attributing greatness to David rather than keeping the focus on the greatness of God.
Today’s reading helps fill out a more complete picture of Israel’s most famous king. Juxtaposed among the pages of 2 Samuel are the good, the bad, and the ugly episodes of David’s kingship. The writer does not censor the less than glowing examples of his life–unlike Sunday School lessons tend to do. We even see how the same trait–a tender heart–can be both blessing and pitfall for David: his compassion for Mephibosheth is noteworthy, but his unwillingness to discipline his son Amnon has disastrous consequences.
At the end of it all today, there is good news. In spite of numerous threats, some of which David has brought on himself, the kingdom of Israel has been restored. David is back in Jerusalem and all his officers are in place. God must not be finished with this king yet.