David’s a funny role model in many ways. There are aspects of his character that I’d love my two boys to grow up emulating. But there are other facets that I hope they don’t even discover for a while longer…
Bob Carlisle sang:
We fall down, we get up, we fall down, we get up, we fall down, we get up
And the saints are just the sinners who fall down and get up.
And I was reminded of that as I looked through 2 Samuel. It’s the story of David going through low after low after low and getting up every time. It opens with David learning of the death of his friend, Jonathan. He mourns his death, as well as the death of King Saul (despite the fact that Saul’s not exactly been his best buddy of late…). He grieves, he writes a song, and he turns to God to seek the next step. Though knocked sideways by the news of Saul and Jonathan’s deaths, he gets up and gets on with living for God.
David is crowned king(s!) and wins lots of wars. The sadness of not being allowed to build a temple for God is offset by the promise that David’s throne will last forever.
Then there’s his sin. Sin rears its ugly head all too often in all our lives. The sin of extra-marital sex followed by murder is the bloated fly in the ointment of David’s life. David himself is horrified by it when challenged by the prophet. And not only does he, like us, suffer the weight of knowing he’s failed miserably to live for God, he also pays for it. Dearly. He loses his son. Knocked down, he gets up again.
It’s not the only time he’ll lose a son, either. And again, he gets up. He perseveres. He’s just a sinner who falls down and gets up.
And what of us?
Perseverance has not lost any of its power today, but it has perhaps lost some of its attraction. We can find ourselves bombarded with encouragement to give up and move on to something else. Few things are seen as permanent – rather, we’re encouraged to see things as transitory. Technology itself moves at such a pace, and sets the scene for a lifestyle characterised not by perseverance but by chopping and changing. This can seep into our relationships with each other and the way we deal with difficult situations in our lives. Perhaps sometimes we need to persevere a little more. This applies both to the online realm, and to our lives beyond the online. Maybe, like David, we encounter circumstances beyond our control that make us grieve, as he did for Saul and Jonathan. We can ask God for His strength to persevere. Perseverance is not something that David did without God’s help. We need only to look to the Psalms for clear evidence of that. Or maybe it’s our own actions, our own words, our own sin, that have caused us to fall. We need to repent, yes, but that’s not all.