The Political Threats to David’s Reign

screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-4-41-29-pmKings are more frequently surrounded by those who want power or favours, than genuine friends; and it can hard to find genuine supporters who aren’t in your camp to reap some benefit. David was no exception.

CGP Grey sums up how precarious David’s position was in his video, *“The Rules for Rulers.” In order for any king to maintain power, he must have loyal supporters who he has adequately rewarded, (e.g. financially, in terms of status and by granting property,) otherwise anyone who can offer them a greater reward can amass enough support to overthrow them. This is why the unrighteous Joab, who had murdered Abner, was allowed to lead David’s army after securing Jerusalem for David. He was a key and had to be rewarded rather than discarded, no matter how unsuitable he was. [Ref. 1 Samuel 3 and 1 Chronicles 11] An underpaid and under-appreciated army general could easily look the other way in an organised revolt, if promised a better deal from someone else. In 1 Kings 1, Joab did jump ship when he thought David was near to death, in order to ingratiate himself to the expected new king, Adonijah, and keep his status safe. That proved how shallow his loyalty really was.

There is plenty of evidence of dirty politics going on around David’s palace, even though his court was made up mainly of members of his immediate and extended family in order to quell disputes. Aside from **Absalom’s rebellion, here are some of the key issues which David’s reign faced, which are reflected in the Psalms. (This is not an exhaustive list. There is the revolt of Sheba in 2 Samuel 20 which appears to have been prompted by his favouritism towards his own tribe, which is mentioned in 2 Samuel 19:41-43; hatred shown by Shimei in 2 Samuel 16:5-14 and the problems of a new king who didn’t trust David which led to a war in 2 Samuel 10.)
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Usurp Threats

The Psalms speak repeatedly of David being in danger as his position is coveted by others wanting power. This never stopped throughout his lifetime and had to be part of the reason why David held an illegal census in 2 Samuel 24. Being deeply fearful of being usurped and murdered was one of David’s greatest fears and it was one which always left him extremely stressed. While David was a very strong, capable man, everyone has their achilles heel and this seems to be David’s, which is understandable. If he’d been killed, the perpetrator would also have killed his entire family and many of his supporters, so there was a lot of responsibility on him.

From the time that Saul tried to arrest David in his home, to the time when David handed the throne of Isra’el over to Solomon, the danger never ended. That period covers over fifty years.

“And now, [Lord] in my old age, don’t set me aside.
Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing.
For my enemies are whispering against me.
They are plotting together to kill me.
They say, “God has abandoned him.
Let’s go and get him,
for no one will help him now.” Psalm 71:9-11
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Bribery Attempts

“Hear me, Lord, my plea is just;
listen to my cry.
Hear my prayer—
it does not rise from deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come from You;
may Your eyes see what is right.
Though You probe my heart,
though You examine me at night and test me,
You will find that I have planned no evil;
my mouth has not transgressed.
Though people tried to bribe me,
I have kept myself from the ways of the violent
through what Your lips have commanded.
My steps have held to Your paths;
my feet have not stumbled.
I call on You, my God, for You will answer me;
turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of Your great love,
You who save by Your right hand
those who take refuge in You from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
hide me in the shadow of Your wings
from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
from my mortal enemies who surround me.” Psalm 17:1-9

A king who rules under the law of the Lord will fall foul of ungodly men, and this would have been a constant challenge to David. Pulling them into line would put David’s life at risk again, as they would want him removed to save their position and increase their power. There are a number of verses which speak of corruption among Isra’el’s leaders.

“Justice—do you rulers know the meaning of the word?
Do you judge the people fairly?
No! You plot injustice in your hearts.
You spread violence throughout the land.” Psalm 58:1-2
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Theft Allegations

“Save me, O God,
for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
I can’t find a foothold.
I am in deep water,
and the floods overwhelm me.
I am exhausted from crying for help;
my throat is parched.
My eyes are swollen with weeping,
waiting for my God to help me.
Those who hate me without cause
outnumber the hairs on my head.
Many enemies try to destroy me with lies,
demanding that I give back what I didn’t steal.” Psalm 69:1-4

I have no idea what incident this referred to, but David’s words speak clearly enough. If you want to  replace a king, create a scandal which will discredit him enough to lose his popularity with the people. Think about how much rumour and malice occurs in the short reign of a modern politician. How much more garbage can go down over a forty year reign? There must be far more to David’s story than has been recorded.
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David’s Reactions: The Census

All these factors could have contributed to why David ordered an illegal Census in 1 Chronicles 21, so he knew how many able bodied men could be called into service. The events leading up to the Census aren’t clear. 2 Samuel 24 talk about a drought, and before that, there was the revolt of Sheba which some scholars attribute David’s decision to take a census to. In 1 Chronicles 21 the preceding event is the war with the Ammonites which had been a very hard won victory, but which had appeared back in 2 Samuel 10. The cause may be something which just isn’t mentioned in our Bibles at all.

2 Samuel 24:1 says, “Once again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he caused David to harm them by taking a census. “Go and count the people of Israel and Judah,” the LORD told him.” and 1 Chronicles 21:1 says, “Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel.” It seems like God, Satan and David were all unhappy with Israel, but it was David’s choice to resist temptation and do the right thing. This was the only area where he acted like Saul and gave into fear and anger.
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David’s Reactions: The Psalms

As always David turns to his greatest weapon to deal with these problems: prayer and praise. Over time, he seemed to have worked out how to deal with these stresses better. In Psalm 39:1-5 he speaks of learning to hold his tongue and in Psalm 37 he encourages us by saying:

“Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and He will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
Be still in the presence of the Lord,
and wait patiently for Him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes.
Stop being angry!
Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed,
but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.” Psalm 37:5-9

yhryhrHe also determined to deliberately stay away from bad influences. Psalm 101:2-7

“I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
when will you come to me?
I will conduct the affairs of my house
with a *blameless heart.  (*integrity, perfect)
I will not look with approval
on anything that is vile.   (evil, wicked, base)
I hate what *faithless people do;  (*those who fall away or turn away  from God)
I will have no part in it. (won’t cleave to)
The *perverse of heart shall be far from me; (*devious, perverted, evil, fraudulent)
I will have nothing to do with what is evil.
Whoever slanders their neighbour in secret,
I will put to silence;
whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart,
I will not tolerate.
My eyes will be on the faithful in the land,
that they may dwell with me;
the one whose walk is blameless
will minister to me.
No one who practices deceit
will dwell in my house;
no one who speaks falsely
will stand in my presence.”

David has the final word on how to handle the chaos in this Psalm:

“I wait quietly before God,
for my victory comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken.”  Psalm 62:1-2 (Cross reference Psalm 131:2)
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Notes

*The Rules for Rulers https://youtu.be/rStL7niR7gs  Based on “The Dictators Handbook” by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita & Alastair Smith  “Why Bad Behaviour is Almost Always Good Politics.” The second video in the series Death and Dynasties is also helpful for understanding David’s position. https://youtu.be/ig_qpNfXHIU

**Absalom: 2 Samuel chapters 13-18 recount Absalom’s story. For an explanation of Absalom’s mental status (sociopathic), please read this article: http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32723


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Creative Commons License
The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

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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Succession, Sin and Subjugation: An Observation on the Eternal Consequences of Rejecting Theocratic Rule

From looking at the stories of various monarchs throughout history I have discovered that:

If you [the subjects,] repeatedly treat an ordinary person as a rock star, he will eventually begin to act with an inflated sense of entitlement.

If you repeatedly bow to someone with reverence, give them everything they ask for, fear challenging their will and esteem them on a much higher level than any person deserves or needs, you will produce a royal with an inflated ego, capable of abusing their position…

…and it will partially be your fault that they have done so.

ggIn the Netflix series “The Crown,” when Elisabeth’s father, King George VI dies, Elisabeth visits Buckingham Palace to *grieve her father and is confronted by the awful spectre of her mother and sister bowing to her as the new Monarch. She was utterly horrified, but forced to take it. It is one of the loneliest scenes I’ve ever watched in a drama and sadly, it is based on the truth. The British Royal family arrive, eat, and even open their Christmas presents – as a family – in a specific pecking order, with the Queen at the top. It is set etiquette which has been around for many generations and to us, it’s inhuman; but what must it be like for them? Would you like to live like that, with no freedom to reject etiquette and be yourself? The family pressure on Elisabeth to conform, let alone the political and cultural pressure, was not crushing, it was more like a slow, violent series of personality and independence-smashing shocks. I sincerely hope this dramatical portrayal of what she went through is wildly inaccurate, but it shows the institution of royalty from a perspective that is a strong contrast to the next monarch mentioned.

uguigiugKing David’s grandson, Rehoboam, is an example of the worst kind of monarch who was drunk with power rather than suffocated by it. He is everything that Samuel had warned the people about, and that generation of Israelites who demanded a king are directly responsible for this outcome which affected their great-grandchildren, (and technically responsible for later generations going into captivity, as they had set up a system which allowed godless kings to destroy Isra’el’s covenant with YHWH, their God. There is a big lesson there, in being careful what decisions you make.)

“Then King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counselled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?”
The older counsellors replied, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favourable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.”
But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?”
The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’” 1 Kings 12

Making decisions that effect others is really easy when you live in privileged isolation, as you have no real idea of what you’ve done; you just feel the kick your ego gives you.

The distinction between a king and a commoner is massive and God never designed His Kingdom to be structured this way. The earlier Mesopotamian move towards placing kings in power condemned many generations of young men, in many cultures, to sinful, abnormal lives. They were given privileges that an egalitarian society would never permit, and paved the way to endless generations of men who perpetrates social injustices, as mankind’s psyche was not built to accommodate such excesses and certainly not without sufficient equals to balance the sanity equation. This is part of why I don’t believe Isra’el ever should have had kings.

Whenever you step outside of God’s plan for His people, you will generate massive sin. YHWH, “I AM,” the one true God of Isra’el, was the only One who was ever meant to be in a position of power over Isra’el, speaking through His prophets to the people and acting for the good of the community via His Levitical priesthood. When Isra’el rejected that system for worldly reasons, they opened themselves up to consequences which impacted every prince and king to come.

Gustave Doré - Doré's English Bible. Public Domain.

Solomon by Gustave Doré – Doré’s English Bible. Public Domain.

“Finally, all the elders of Isra’el met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel. “Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.” Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the LORD for guidance. “Do everything they say to you,” the LORD replied, “for it is me they are rejecting, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.”

So Samuel passed on the LORD’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king. “This is how a king will reign over you,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment. The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use. He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the LORD will not help you.”
But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us [not God] and lead us into battle.” 1 Samuel 8:4-20

Society behaves very oddly towards monarchs. The image of the court, crown, castle, princesses, princes, chivalry, and wealth are romanticised and spoken of longingly in many, many fairy tales and works of fiction, while in reality, we hate the dictatorship and social inequality that being ruled brings. It is very easy to be a royal basher, but over time I have tried hard to find the humanity in people we don’t really see as human and understand their story, which was how I wound up watching The Crown. That series made me realise that behind the emotionless face of Queen Elisabeth is a woman who has been through an awful lot and for all the wealth and fame, she has so little freedom. It also makes me think about what David sacrificed to be King, and it causes me to wonder more about the generations that came after him and why so many were godless (aside from the obvious answer being greed.)

If we could go back in time and stop that first king in Mesopotamia from being crowned, we’d have to go to many places in many points in time, and stop the equivalent from happening. Mankind understandably wants security and good leadership, but the price that has been paid in power battles, wars, destroyed lives and peasant’s poverty is grossly appalling. If only we’d look only to the Lord as leader… life would be so much better and history would have been far more interesting.
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Please also read, Did God Want a King for Isra’el? http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32570


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The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

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.

Kintsugi and Kings: Using the Blessing You’ve Been Given

kintugi

Image by Haragayato, Wikimedia Commons

The greatest contrast between King David and King Saul, is the way they responded to the Presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. It’s not simply that David had more faith in God, or was more obedient; David strode out in front because when given access to God’s Spirit, he grabbed that blessing with both hands, hung onto the Holy Spirit for dear life and made the most of the blessing he’d been given.

Only a handful of people in the Old Testament were granted the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Knowing this has had me scratching my head wondering what was up with Saul? We all invest in our relationship with God differently, however, if the Presence of God was so rare in Saul and David’s time, why didn’t Saul grab hold of His empowerment, as David did, and run with it? Why didn’t he bother to develop his relationship with God in such a desperate time?

Many men have resisted the prompting of the Lord with devout stubbornness beyond logical reasoning. Saul was known for acting out of fear and desperation, from the earliest accounts of him hiding behind the baggage carts, wanting to avoid being made King. I believe that fear was the main reason why he didn’t build and benefit from his link to the Lord. Later, the pride that came with the position of Kingship and the successes could have added to that problem. Saul was willing to fall into despair rather than overcome. He didn’t reach out to the Lord for what He needed, so God was never allowed to help and guide him. He became a cracked, broken pot which had to be discarded, rather than lovingly repaired.

There is a Japanese method for repairing broken pottery called kintsugi. One blogger aptly called it, “the art of embracing damage.” This is pretty much what David did, instead of crumbling when he felt broken, then recoiling in fear, David surveyed the damage and allowed God’s Spirit to beautifully repair him. He didn’t give up as the challenges that faced him were too hard, and the dangers too great: he prayed, praised and fasted his way through. David allowed the Lord to pick up the pieces, and he never stopped doing this.

A short, simple definition of kintsugi can be found on Wikipedia:
“Kintsugi (金継ぎ?, きんつぎ, “golden joinery”), also known as Kintsukuroi (金繕い?, きんつくろい, “golden repair”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise… As a philosophy, kintsugi can be seen to have similarities to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. Japanese aesthetics values marks of wear by the use of an object. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage.”

Pottery from the excavation directed by Montagu Brownlow Parker at Mount Ophel, Jerusalem

Pottery from the excavation directed by Montagu Brownlow Parker at Mount Ophel, Jerusalem.

When allowed, God is the greatest kingsugi Master. He will repair even hairline cracks with the most beautiful materials and intricate craftsmanship; and unless we deliberately chip away at His repair, it will hold. He did this with David so many times and we can still see and are encouraged by the delicate streams of gold which run through David’s life.

Whenever trouble overwhelmed David, he went to God for the answer and built more strength into his relationship with God each time he did this. When God didn’t answer immediately, David never stopped hammering on His door until he got the response he needed, no matter what. He did not resort to killing to make himself feel secure. He did not go against his moral or spiritual beliefs to deal with his enemies: he knew he had the Spirit of the Lord and he actively built that relationship and because that link became strong, it was able to hold him up, even when he was so sick he should have died.

There is a very simple lesson in this: when God gives you an opportunity to rely on His Spirit, use it! Build on that relationship, use His power and guidance and give it everything you’ve got!


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Creative Commons License
The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

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.

Luke Skywalker and King David: The Secret of Winning Wars Against Evil

48113929_sI have been a Star Wars fan since the first movie came out in 1977. I recently bought The Force Awakens, and as nostalgia kicked in, I started to see similarities between Luke Skywalker and the young man, David. Both of their lives were taken up the battle of good against evil and looking deeper into the Star Wars culture, I found more parallels than are immediately obvious.

It’s simply not enough to be able to pick up a sword and fight a war. Conquering darkness occurs on so many levels and many of them live beneath the surface in emotions, memories and thoughts. Any winning fight is fuelled by positive emotions and empowered by higher spiritual beliefs.

Both Luke and David came from menial jobs in backwater towns, which had a poor reputation. While David had a more mature attitude and had been taught about his God since early childhood, both men were quickly propelled into positions of power, with the outcome affecting millions of people. In reading Wookipedia.com, I found this quote which places Luke and David on very similar footing.

“It has been said that anyone who knows the ways of the Force can set her, or himself up as a King on any world where only she or he knows the ways of the Force. Any Jedi could do this. But the Jedi, fools that they are, adhere to a religion in which the Force is used only in the service of others.”   Palpatine, in “The Weakness of Inferiors”

If you chose to, you could liken Goliath and the Philistine armies, to Darth Vader and the Empire; however, the similarity I saw between Luke and David was on a personal level. We see a lot of Star Wars’ plot focussing on Luke battling with his impatience, his anger, his fear, and his mixed feelings about his father. When you examine how he reacts to situations which arise and challenge his leadership, David battles the same anger and fear issues as Luke. [David’s journey is recorded in1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, 1 Kings and the Psalms]

David’s anger is a character trait which is shown while he is on the run from Saul. He and his men have been providing security for a man named Nabal, and when the rich, arrogant Nabal makes no effort to pay them, David is ready to run him through with his sword. However, like Luke, he does listen, then heed the wise counsel given by Abigail. Both Luke and David show a willingness to learn in their youth, which is what will ultimately keep them on the right side of evil. [Ref. 1 Samuel 25]

Israel_Enters_the_Promised_LandThere are several other instances where David loses his temper. One occurred when the Ark of the Covenant is being bought into Jerusalem, and the cart it is being carried on slips. An innocent man is killed because he touched the Ark and David explodes. “David was angry because the Lord’s anger had burst out against Uzzah. He named that place Perez-uzzah (“which means to burst out against Uzzah”), as it is still called today. David was now afraid of the Lord…” 2 Samuel 6:8-9a (See footnote on the Ark.)

Patience and calm were pivotal traits that Luke and David had to learn. Without them, both men would have too much potential to do great harm. David did learn the lesson and encouraged others to learn it too.
“Stop being angry!
Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper:
it only leads to harm.”
Psalm 37:8

Whether you win or lose a battle depends very much on how you do things, both internally and externally. If you have a short fuse, the overflow of emotion will cloud your choices, as if did for Luke when he knew that Han and Leia were in danger on Bespin. If you rush in, like Luke, you lose the battle and you can lose more than that… like a hand.

Anger also directly affects men on the battle field. Fencers (sports), tell us that sword fights are nothing like the Hollywood portrayal of them. A real Jedi versus Sith, or Israelite versus Philistine fight would be over in seconds and who would win? The combatant who kept calm. The second a combatant loses their temper and allows emotion to take over, they stop effectively processing what is happening, and become easy to defeat. There is no glamour and glory in war. A man may be able to earn himself a reputation as a skilled warrior, but it’s an ugly business. Attacking out of fear and hate only make it more putrid, as the loss of a soul to the wrong source of power is the greatest loss any battle can generate.

Fear is the other emotional battle which both men had to strive to conquer. Fear is a natural, protective emotion which is not inherently bad. We need fear to make us question the wisdom of our actions and protect us from danger. The problems set in when, as occurred with Saul, fear makes us paranoid and we take unnecessary risks, become bitter and go to insane lengths to make ourselves safe.

In the first three Star Wars movies we see Luke battle with fear as he learns to be a Jedi. At the end of the seventh movie, as Rey begins to beg Luke for help, his fearful reluctance is obvious. You can never completely conquer fear, and if you were to do so, you would do yourself, and others, great harm.

David is plotted against many times during his life, you often see him write about fear in the Psalms.
“I have heard the many rumours about me,
and I am surrounded by terror.
My enemies conspire against me,
plotting to take my life.
But I am trusting you, O LORD,
saying, “You are my God!”
My future is in your hands.
Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.”
Psalm 31:13-15

There is nothing weak or unmanly in admitting fear. What matters in the end is how he chose to deal with it. David turned to the Lord for assistance and deliverance.

You could take the good versus evil fight further with David, and consider how his lust over Bathsheba took him to a dark place where evil gained control. If Luke Skywalker’s life is ever shown in more detail, he’s bound to have faced a similar challenge too.

David’s life story is about what happens when God gets hold of an ordinary life. Luke’s story is centred on the heroism of just one man. None of us can ever be Luke Skywalker, and while he is an interesting character, he has nothing but a fictional philosophy to offer us which will be forgotten long after David is still remembered; but we can all follow in the footsteps of David, and be spiritually victorious by developing a relationship with God that will change ourselves and other people. David’s success is accessible to all of us. Learning about his life points us directly to the Lord, the One who can truly help us overcome all our fears and win all our battles.

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Wookiepedia References:

Further Reading:

Footnote on the Ark of the Covenant:
Trying to find the correct manner in which to transport the Ark is not an easy task. It’s not that David didn’t do his homework. I have tried to find the same information and went around in circles for hours, as every other procedure for caring for the Ark was spelled out except that one! [Ref: Exodus chapters 25-31 and then chapters 35-40]


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 of the photos in this post 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 Challenge of Unrestrained Power

36762152_sSir John Acton is often quoted as saying, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” When people refer to this quote, they frequently take on the first part of that quote and forget the second, “almost always.” Whether it be King, President, Prime Minister or Chancellor, the title of any leader conjures within us, mixed feelings about the necessary leadership and the risk of a potential abuse of power. We have learnt not to trust these people: the hard way.

So is there any leader out there who can withstand the pull of power?

In looking at King David’s life, I have expressed the belief that no human psyche is built to withstand absolute power. Our sinful natures simply won’t allow it. In not being responsible to anyone (other than God, should the leader choose to acknowledge Him), coupled with wealth and an obedient populace, there is too much temptation to run off the rails and drown in egocentricity. The end result is always that the people suffer and the cause is lost.

I do still believe that for a majority of cases. However, if a leader is dominated by integrity, ethics and spirituality, they result can indeed be excellent and there are three people in the Bible who demonstrate that. (Four if you count Jesus, but as He is part of the Godhead, I have left Him out.)
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1. King David (Daviyd Melek)
King David was not an absolutely perfect leader. He broke the law with BathSheba and he sinned by holding an improper Census. However, he was a righteous man despite that, and his spirituality helped build the nation of Isra’el. He toiled to bring a spiritually wandering nation back on track, by focussing on God and overthrowing the enemies of Isra’el which had remained since Joshua’s time.

“… you were not to make any covenants with the people living in this land; instead you were to destroy their altars. But you disobeyed My Command… So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.” [Judges 2:2-3]

When David came into power, there were seven areas in Isra’el where the tribes had failed to remove the original Cananite residents, as commanded. That left the people wide open to attack and as the above Scripture says, temptation to turn away from the Lord and serve foreign gods. [Ref. Judges 1:19-36 and Joshua 24] The Judges were raised up to protect the people, but despite the covenant promise the nation had made, Isra’el still wouldn’t give up their idols. Something had to be done.

So when Saul lost power, the Lord took advantage of the people’s demand to have a king, and installed one after His own Heart who would clear out the Cananites, keep the people safe from other bordering enemy nations such as Philistia and most importantly, would place the focus of worship back on God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. [Ref: Acts 13:22-24] David’s work in that area is why we have so many Psalms. They were shared publicly to build the nation’s faith, not as an expression of his creative passion.

Until Isra’el had been set free of the enemies within and beyond her borders, the people weren’t able to thrive emotionally, spiritually or economically. David’s obedience to God’s call on his life, resolved that problem and gave the people a new freedom to enjoy a fuller, richer life.

The very reason why David was successful was because he was acting with God’s goals for His people in mind. David wasn’t there to make his own dreams come true, he was invested in the Lord’s. Plus he did it with so much dedication to the Lord, that the judgement of his son, Solomon, was held at bay for a time “for the sake of My servant David.” [1 Kings 11:34] David often appears in books written after his time as the servant of the Lord. This is what makes the difference. The heart of a servant. He didn’t ask or strive for wealth, popularity or the blessings of the Davidic Covenant, the Lord gave him those things as a reward for service.

“And David realised that the Lord had confirmed him as king over Isra’el and had blessed his kingdom for the sake of His people Isra’el.” [2 Samuel 5:12]In sociology there are two types of power:

1. Socialised power, where absolute power is used for the benefit of others without reward seeking, guided by strong moral underpinnings; and
2. Personalised power, where reward is sought and expected, and the leader’s goals, ego and desires are the central focus.

REBLOGS WELCOMEDDavid experienced both types of power. He was rewarded with wealth and wives and the wives became a problem; but he never lost focus on WHO had put him on the throne and WHY. He knew the history of Isra’el and the laws set down through Moses. “For David had done what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and had obeyed the Lord’s commands throughout his life, except in the affair concerning Uriah the Hittite.” [1 Kings 15:5]

So if he was that righteous, how did he get into trouble with BathSheba? When people are in leadership, there is a dynamic termed “exception making.” The thought processes behind it run something along the lines of, “I do so much for the good of the people and I work so hard. Surely I can bend the rules a little, just this once? It won’t hurt anyone.” If the rules are continually bent and twisted, it leads to an intoxication with power that moves the holder from socialised power to personalised power.

Thankfully, the Lord send the prophet Nathan to correct David over Uriah’s murder, when David hadn’t responded to his conscience. David wasn’t too self-immersed to listen and he returned to the correct position of socialised power. That saved him from that absolute corruption which is seen in many of his sons and descendants.
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2. Moses, the Man of God [Ref. Exodus through to Deuteronomy]
Moses is the perfect example of a leader who was never corrupted by power. Maimonides calls him “the most perfect human being.” He wasn’t a king, but functioned in pretty much the same role for Isra’el. While leading the fledgling nation of Isra’el out of Egypt and through the wilderness he:
– set laws,
– settled disputes,
– had a great say in financial /asset control,
– was a shepherd over the nation and God’s voice to the people and
– when Isra’el rebelled, God offered him and his sons the covenant He’d made with Abraham, instead of giving it to Jacob’s seed. (Moses refused.)

Moses did not corrupt or usurp God’s authority as he was humble and an obedient servant, like David. He would never have made the mistake of attempting to become a king. His heart was clearly for God and the people, not his own status and gain. Moses had God’s vision for Isra’el and like David, Moses succeeded in everything he did and had the favour of the people, except for when their hearts were set on rebellion.
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yhudah3. King Josiah (Yoshiyyah or Yoshiyyahu Melek)
Josiah, King of Judah and David’s great, great (etc.) grandson is the last outstanding example of excellent leadership. These verses explain his success.

“During the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David.” [2 Chronicles 34:3]

“He did what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.” [2 Kings 22:2]

“So Josiah removed all detestable idols from the entire land of Israel and required everyone to worship the LORD their God. And throughout the rest of his lifetime, they did not turn away from the LORD, the God of their ancestors.” [2 Chronicles 34:33]

and

“Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.” [2 Kings 23:25]

Josiah’s full story covers chapters 22 and 23 and 2 Chronicles 34 and 35. Please read it to learn the extent of what he did for the nation. He is an impressive figure who would have made his grandfather very proud and had many of David’s attributes.

As I started with a quotation, I’d like to finish with one which I have always felt, fits David. This is from the poem, After the Storm, by Boris Pasternak, the Jewish author of Doctor Zhivago (1890-1960).
“It is not revolutions and upheavals
That clear the road to new and better days,
But revelations, lavishness and torments
Of someone’s soul, inspired and ablaze.”

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For more information on the topic of kings, please see Did God Want a King for Israel? here on my Faithwriters page: http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32570 and

Was King David a Megalomaniac?
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32067

How Gentle Kings Become Killers
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32773


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Was David A Megalomaniac? Compared to Dictators… No

Please be aware that this is a long documentary and that the content is deeply disturbing. It always feels very weird to say that about anything related to David. I have included this video because it clearly demonstrates the kind of insane, psychopathic behaviour that dictators display, which is in stark contrast to David.

For more information on this, please see this article on David’s actions in line with Biblical standards and Godly character.