By the time we get to 2 Samuel 9, we find King David at the top of his reign. David’s life has not been easy, but he seems to have come through just fine. His father may not have thought much of him, but the Prophet Samuel did. Eventually, the forgotten shepherd boy is the warrior, song-writer, musician, loyal friend, compassionate leader and handsome king in the making we all wish we could be. By 30 years old, he’s living his best life. He unites the kingdom and expands Israel’s borders; and he brings the ark of the covenant (the greatest symbol of Israel’s invisible, yet powerful God) to Jerusalem. David has the favor of the people and the blessing of the Lord.
We have also seen glimpses of David on some bad days. If you haven’t noticed, the guy lies ALL THE TIME! His anger gets out of hand every now and then. And personally, I am concerned with all the ways David begins to act like “all the other kings among the nations” instead a prince who knows that God is the true King. But David has the favor of all of the people and the blessing of the Lord — shouldn’t we overlook some character flaws? Doesn’t popularity and prosperity say more about a person than how they actually act in the world?
You already know the answer to that question and so does David. What we will witness in the coming chapters is what happens when David’s lack of character diminishes his popularity and ruins his prosperity. It’ll be easy to distance ourselves from David as we read about more lying and deceit, adultery and murder, fleeing (once again) for his life and the breakdown of his family. We’ll say to ourselves, “I could never do something like that.” It’s probably true that most of us would not find ourselves committing the same crimes against God and other humans. But we all have character flaws. We all need to face some of the consequences for the hurt we cause and be called live differently in the world. We all have a shadow side that, left unchecked, could cost us everything we’ve worked for and everyone we love. There are very few happy scenes left in this story; and we need to read and learn from every single one of them.
One last point: it is true that David had major character flaws. It’s also true that God loved him nonetheless. God’s love for David does not protect him from the consequences of his actions; but it will be that love that will hold him as learns from his mistakes. The same is true for us: nothing, not even character flaws and consequences, will separate us from God’s love. Let’s pay attention to David’s story and learn our own lessons.