4.09.2009

david: the man after god's own heart


In my reading, I have been in 1st and now 2nd Samuel. I forgot how great these books are. Most of it, as you know recounts the life and times of David. There are three things you notice about David: (1) he was courageous, (2) he cried a lot, and (3) he had a profound - almost ridiculous - respect for authority.

His respect for authority began with his respect for God's authority. David believed that God is the one who puts authorities in their places. Consequently, to set your hand against the Lord's anointed is to set your hand against God. How did this translate? In spite of being anointed king, assured that he was the man to replace Saul, and the fact that Saul had actually taken to hunting him down with the intent to kill; David would neither defend himself nor take Saul’s life. When some young Amalekite came and—thinking he was bringing David good news—told him that Saul was dead and that he helped, David promptly executed him because he had the audacity to lift his hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed. (Then he cried.) Later, after he was firmly established as the king, he sought out the only surviving relative of Saul, not to harm him, but to bring him into his house and treat him as his own son.

When I read these stories about David—the man after God’s own heart—and consider today’s situation where rebellion against authority is almost a virtue, I cannot help but thinking we are going to get it. Let’s face it; our own nation was birthed out of the Enlightenment’s rejection of authority. It is in our DNA. In our churches, young 20 to 30-somethings are fed up with their authorities, leaving, and planting their own churches the way they want them. I think that this is going to come back to bite us someday.

The other day, I was listening to a lecture on Albert Einstein. The lecture was meant to highlight the fact that Einstein’s real genius was not his intelligence but his creativity. What I found interesting was that in his later years, he became a fierce defender of the then current consensus. In other words, he was defending the established theories against the new up-and-comers, of which he once was. When asked why, he said that it was God’s punishment for his early rebellion against authority to put him in authority. Someday, the pattern will repeat when all of today’s rebels become the establishment’s defenders of their then tired approaches, while the next generation of young 20 to 30-somethings tries to knock them off for being out-of-date and out-of-touch. Then we can all give a hearty laugh.

"I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid.” G.K. Chesterton

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