So, in the last month or so, in my Bible reading, I have covered all of the reign of King David, and most of the Psalms. You may recall that if Ruth or Rebecca had been a boy, we were going to use David as a middle name. I like the name anew, all over again now. David is such an amazing person, infact the only person in the Bible that is referred to as being a "man after God's own heart" which is about the best thing you could say of a person. He is a great king, warrior, and poet. Even more important, he continually honors God, and seeks to rule and judge according to His word. Even in his mistakes he is quick to admit wrong doing and seek mercy and forgiveness. In some of his greatest troubles, the loss of his and Bathsheba's first child and Absalom's rebellion, he worships God first. In many of the Psalms he wrote you can see that he is just a man like any other. He wants vengeance against his enemies, and complains about his lot, and struggles with depression, but he always acknowledges the power and majesty of God no matter what his circumstances are at the time.
Gary and I have been doing my Sunday reading on the way to Church. I mean when you have two hours or better, and you want to get your mind in the right frame for worship, you either listen to singing tapes all the way there or do some reading. Gary says 3 hours of singing straight, will about kill your range, so we've been doing more reading, and discussing. We hit on a few interesting things this month. David's parenting skills, and Joab his military commander.
Have you ever noticed that some of the most Godly individuals in the Bible have children that just don't measure up to say the least? Eli the priest had two horrible sons, and God judged him for it, through a message from Samuel. Samuel a priest and prophet had sons that didn't follow him in honorable service, but instead too bribes like Eli's sons had. Samson's parents were very devout, but he didn't honor God for the gift he had been given. Likewise, David's sons didn't turn out so well. The oldest raped his half sister, and then after David didn't do anything the third born murdered him. Absalom later lead a rebellion. Solomon seems to have turned out pretty well. But his many wives lead him astray. Gary and I talked about David's parenting skills awhile. Was it that he failed somehow in raising his kids? Was it all their own decisions? Was he too tough? Not tough enough? Was he so consumed with ruling a kingdom, fighting battles, and other callings from the Lord that he didn't spend enough time with them? The Bible doesn't say. I suppose that these questions largely come about because like every concerned parent on the planet, we ask ourselves the same thing. Are we too lenient do we spank to much, do they need more time on their own to adventure, or should I be more observant, are they getting enough time to play, enough chores to build responsibility Just when you have a good day and think you must be on the right track, they have a horrible day (in public) and you feel like you need to completely reinvent the wheel. You want to do everything possible for your kids, and do everything right, but you are never really sure. After all, you probably have a bigger impact on your children than you will on anyone else in the world, it's a big, awesome, terrible job. You are so afraid that you are going to screw them up for life. It's a good thing that kids are pretty resilient and can bounce back from almost anything.
I asked Gary why David didn't do anything to his son, do anything for his daughter. Gary turned it around on me and asked if I could stone Britt? I got his point. Gary speculated that being a man after God's own heart, also meant that he was more tender hearted than most. Not only was he a warrior king, as we often think, but a man with a gentle heart. Perhaps that's why he put up with Joab for so long. The guy was a great warrior, one of his original men when he was running from Saul (as was Bathsheba's husband, Uriah as a side note). However, he was manipulative, he encouraged David's son in raping his half sister, he murdered men that David might promote above him, and ultimately Solomon has to put him to death for conspiring with another brother to seize the throne. I wonder sometimes if instead of being soft hearted if we should deal with problems early rather than great havoc being wrecked by our failure to act.
David's reign of 40 years, gave me alot to think about. (And as a side note, it gave me the second time in the bible that "a mother in Isreal" is mentioned, something I've been doing alot of thinking on. Perhaps a subject I'll blog about later.)