Biblical Celebrity: the Hazard of Fame Based Thinking

celebrityA year ago, if you had asked me what I will say to King David when I meet him face to face, I would have had trouble finding an answer. I expected to be really nervous! It’s because he’s so famous. He’s a King and he’s… well, he’s David. I also have no idea what I am going to say to Jonathan, or Moses, or Esther, or Paul… and I kind of want to hide from the prophets, because I feel so inadequate beside them. Can you relate to that?

My instinctive reaction prods me into assessing about how much the worldly values of celebrity culture have crept into how I perceive Biblical heroes. The sad answer is, the secular image of fame has influenced my thinking far too much. Celebrity fills a spiritual void in the secular world. It gives lost people aspirational role models, regardless of whether they are saints or sinners. Who doesn’t want to be comfortably wealthy, good looking, healthy, happily married and successful? In moderation, I could take it.

For that matter, as Christians, who doesn’t want to be like David? Don’t we want to slay giants, rule nations and live a spiritually successful life? Of course we do! I own kosher salt with David’s name on it, and many secular and Christian movies and books have been written, using David as a symbol of success. God did promise David fame, but it has gotten way out of hand. [Ref. 2 Samuel 7:9] As with secular celebrities, we get caught up in all the glamour, excitement and intrigue of David’s life, and we can easily, unconsciously make the fleshly mistake of treating him like a famous person, not like the servant of the Lord that he is.

Fame has nasty connotations. We all know who Oprah Winfrey is, but as much as we may relate to her and want to be like her, we know that we cannot be her. That is the unconscious lesson we apply when we look at any celebrity. “If only we could… but we can’t.” David is of such a calibre that we look at him in awe. We see him as an impossible person to equal, let alone beat. This can stop us from trying to follow his lead in spiritual areas and that should never happen. David should motivate us to imitate him through prayer, praise, studying the Word, submission to God, obedience, fasting and adoring the Lord. That is the pivotal core of every area of David’s success; he didn’t win because he was brave and strong, it was because he daily practiced those things, thus the Lord was able to use him.

Please stop there and read those last seven words again: “the Lord was able to use him.” There is the real problem that Biblical celebrity causes: when we look at David and all he achieved, we stop looking at the simplest of facts: that GOD did it THROUGH David. As David submitted to God he became God’s channel and all the success he had, really was God’s… and David readily, publicly, often admitted that. (See The Anti-King: David and Humility link below.) But our culture teaches us to look at the man and not the boring, routine factors that shaped him, so we lose this humble perspective.

Ephesians 1:19-21 proves we can be like David: “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead…” God’s power worked through David as it worked through Jesus and Paul and now, all of us. Think of how much more we could grow if we caught hold of that truth and stopped looking at the people in our Bible as elite celebrities that we cannot be like. We must focus on how they allowed God to work through them, as we CAN copy that successfully. If we imitate David’s spiritual habits, God can carry out His perfect Will through us, which is our ultimate goal. We need a God fixation, not a hero-seeking one. (Please also read The Habits That Built King David’s Faith, the link is below.)

David was a humble man. He would never want to be seen as a celebrity, as he delighted in placing his focus on the Lord. For our thinking to be swept away by the glory and glamour of kingship and success, is to to negate every precept that the Psalms teach us. David’s words through the Psalms always push us in the direction of the Lord as the answer, we need to go in that direction and stop being distracted by wanting to be a giant slayer, or a king ourselves. It makes me sad when I hear Christians say how much they want to rule and reign with Christ, over and above them telling me how much they love to pray or hear God’s voice. We’re aching for fame and big, visible success: the things that are most likely destroy us; and in wanting them, we ignore building our character and making ourselves usable by the Lord.

We need a reality check that pulls these worldly standards out of our heads! You have heard it before, Romans 12:2 “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (New Living Translation)

Anything the Lord does in your life won’t look like it did in David’s and it shouldn’t. God’s love for you is so great, He will give you what is going to fit, bless and build you and the people around you. You don’t need to battle Philistines, when you can conquer your own fears and hurts. You don’t need to liberate a nation, when you can bless people around you and move them towards Jesus. We’re not judged on not being like David, we’re judged on whether or not we did what the Lord asked US to do. So let’s get our heads out of the bright lights and go about our work with our eyes fixed on Jesus. It’s exactly what David would also advise you to do.

“Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in Him and He will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for Him…” Psalm 37:3-7a

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
– The Habits That Built King David’s Faith
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33033
– The Anti-King: David and Humility
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33025
– How to Kill Giants: Searching for the Deep Secrets Behind King David’s Success
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33547


Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

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I See Your Wonders and Stand Amazed

272168-cm-life-glasshouse-650-plugRecently we visited a small town in the hinterlands which sits at the highest altitude I think I have ever been at. It was a rainy day, which ordinarily would have ruined the trip, but amazingly, I found myself above and in cloud level and it became a day of delighted astonishment. Outside of a plane, this has never happened to me.

We sat at the edge of the mountain and watched the clouds move over the coast and up towards us, then we were in them and they were around us. It was patchy cloud. Looking beside where we sat, we could see a small patch of cloud that actually looked like a cloud, not mist or fog. Later, we had to walk through it to leave, then when we retrieved our car from the carpark under the restaurant, there was another cloud behind the car.

This was a concrete car park, open on one side. There was a cloud in it. Mind blown! A lady in the gift shop was telling us that at that altitude, if she doesn’t close the doors to her house, the clouds just waft in.

I look at Psalm 19 and always think of the night sky, but this trip had me looking at that Scripture through new eyes.

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.”

Whether it’s night or day, the wonders of the Lord prove His Presence and perfect Workmanship still.


Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

The Habits That Built King David’s Faith

I love the positive feedback I receive through the King David Project. Hearing how David has blessed other people’s lives, blesses me! One comment which comes up quite often is “I wish I was like David!” I understand, as I feel that way too.

David was one of the few people in the Old Testament to be filled with the Spirit of the Lord, so we are actually able to be like David, in all matters of faith. It’s good news and I reply to people with: “you can do it; it will take time, as David’s own faith took a long time to build, but it can be done, if you are willing to invest your time in a deep relationship with the Lord.”

If you look at the details in between the most often quoted verses in the Psalms, you find references to David’s mother being a strong role model and you’ll also find that David worshipped and obeyed the Lord, from the earliest age a child is able (Psalm 71:5). The Psalms constantly reflect the values and teachings of the Laws which were set down by God through Moses, and David is an observant Jew (Hebrew to be precise. References to David’s mother are Psalms 116:16 and 86:16 and his righteousness is stated in 1 Kings 15:5.)

As they appear in the Scriptures, in the order of frequency, here are the habits that made David a strong man of God:

 

New habits2

Most of these are self-explanatory, but what do I mean by awe and wonder? This, aside from prayer, is my personal favourite, as it’s a characteristic I share with David. Awe and wonder is when you see what the Lord is doing in your life, in the people around you and through nature, and you are captivated. It’s when everything speaks of the majesty and love of the Lord, and it builds you.

“I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendour
and your wonderful miracles.” Psalm 145:5

We are commanded by God to remember His deeds to keep our faith level high, as David knew from the Torah (which is the first five books of the Old Testament.) Deuteronomy 4:9 says: “But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.”

David does this in Psalm 66, which speaks of the Lord’s deliverance and care of Isra’el. In verse 6 he makes a direct reference to the nation’s history, as it was recorded in the Torah. (See also Psalm 103 as another example.)

“Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
Your enemies cringe before your mighty power.
Everything on earth will worship you;
they will sing your praises,
shouting your name in glorious songs.” Interlude
Come and see what our God has done,
what awesome miracles he performs for people!
He made a dry path through the Red Sea,
and his people went across on foot.
There we rejoiced in him.” Psalm 66:3-6

A beautiful example of awe and wonder as acts of faith and worship is seen in the popular Psalm 8.
“O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Your glory is higher than the heavens.
You have taught children and infants
to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies
and all who oppose you.
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers
the moon and the stars you set in place
what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?
Yet you made them only a little lower than God
and crowned theme with glory and honour.
You gave them charge of everything you made,
putting all things under their authority
the flocks and the herds
and all the wild animals,
the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
and everything that swims the ocean currents.
O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!”

Similar Psalms include number 29, 33, 65, 66, 103, 139 145 and 2 Samuel 22 and 23:1-7.

Another aspect of David’s success, came from his repeated requests to have God judge him, in order that he would stay on the right path. It’s a beneficial habit for all of us to adopt and one that, to my own detriment, I neglect.

46580920_s“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
and innocent of great sin.
May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:12-14

As David diligently sought God’s judgement and was very rarely judged, he was able to declare his righteousness before the Lord in defence, when he was threatened and persecuted. He often states his position when grappling with his (and Israel’s) need for deliverance. (e.g. Psalm 41:12 “You have preserved my life because I am innocent; you have brought me into your presence forever.” See also Psalm 139.)

I encourage you to follow David’s example. Meditate on what God has done for you; the wonders you see in creation and the testimonies of others that give you hope. Tell someone else, tell your children and enjoy living in awe and wonder.

“Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
let them proclaim your power.
I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendour
and your wonderful miracles.
Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue;
I will proclaim your greatness.
Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness;
they will sing with joy about your righteousness.” Psalm 145:4-7


Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.