15th December 2022
Read (Hebrews 11v32)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
Having spoken about several men from the time of the judges, the Apostle now shifts his attention to a king. He doesn't rhyme off many kings, he mentions only one and records only his name - David. We could write endless devotions about David. His life is spelt out for us in great detail in God's Word but I'll not mention Saul, Jonathan, Goliath, Bathsheba or the Psalms and instead take you to the deathbed of Israel's great king.
The last words of any great figure are often of great interest to us and we especially enjoy words which convey some final act of bravery or wisdom. Here are David's final words "The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; his word is on my tongue. The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me: When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth. For does not my house stand so with God? For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure.For will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire? But worthless men are all like thorns that are thrown away, for they cannot be taken with the hand; but the man who touches them arms himself with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they are utterly consumed with fire.” (2 Samuel 23v2-5)
Perhaps these aren't the pithy memorable words you were expecting but nevertheless they are worth meditating upon. David was one of the very few figures in human history who God inspired by the Holy Spirit to physically write the Bible. David is described as "the sweet Psalmist of Israel" (Samuel 23v1) and he is correct when on his deathbed he declared "his word is on my tongue". What did God speak by the mouth of His servant David?
When a king rules over a nation justly and in the fear of God, the Lord shines on that nation like the morning light on a cloudless new day. The Lord blesses a nation like rain which makes the grass grow. Sadly those who came after David did not heed his words. The story of the kings of Israel and Judah is largely one of disobedience and decline. Proverbs 14v34 declares "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. " and unfortunately future generations in Israel would learn this lesson the hard way.
But David was a man of faith and despite making many sinful mistakes he finished his life resting on the covenant promises of God. David knew that the Lord had made with him an everlasting covenant. Hopefully you are familiar with that phrase but here is a wee reminder nevertheless. In eternity the Father chose a people for salvation, the Son promised to die for those people and the Spirit would come and lead those people to Christ - this is the covenant of redemption.
In the beginning God promised to be the God of Adam and Eve and their descendants on the condition of Adam's perfect obedience - this is the covenant of works. After the fall God promised that He would send a child to crush the works of the devil - this is the covenant of grace. Under the banner of the covenant of grace David was promised that his throne would not end and one of his descendants would have an everlasting reign. Christ is the child promised and Christ is the descendent who would come in the line of His ancestor David.
David had not yet seen the reality of Christ and he knew nothing of the events of our Lord's life but he still breathed his last thinking upon the majestic promises of God. As his life was ebbing away David commented that worthless men are like thorns - they are gathered only to be consumed in the fire. This is a startling image of the fate of the unrighteous man or woman. Isn't it interesting that these were the things on David's mind as he was finishing his earthly race?
We will all die and some of us might have the time to call family and friends and share with them our gathered earthly wisdom. What will you say? "My pin code is 1690", "I was the one who shot JFK", "After you leave school you'll never have to work out the area of a circle", "Sean Connery was the best James Bond"? Who knows. But I hope when my day comes that my mind will be clear enough to speak about the necessity of saving faith in Christ and the glory of the covenant of grace whereby we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
My brothers and sisters, we are not perfect people and nor was David but by the grace of God may He transform us from thorns to wheat and may we be counted among the great harvest of saved souls when Christ comes. May we think on this today and especially when our last day arrives.
Q24 How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet? Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by his Word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.