Beginning David’s Story
I will enter into David’s story without covering King Saul’s ascension to the throne as Israel’s first king and his ultimate rejection by God (see 1 Samuel chapters 1 through 15).
Note that, although the Lord has rejected Saul, Saul still continues to reign for an extended period. Thus, God’s providential plan in this case occurs over time as opposed to suddenly. Here again, we are witness to God’s sovereign ends being implemented within the context of human will and action. Thus, we are being asked to hold two apparently contradictory concepts within our minds as David’s story unfolds:
- all of eternal import and first causes has been decided before the beginning of time
- we still are given the gift of exercising our wills to good or ill.
In my previous reflection on God’s Acts of Providence my emphasis was on, as stated, God’s acts. In this study of David’s life God’s providence will remain at the forefront. However, the emphasis will shift to human will and action.
The pacifistic, narcissistic and perfectionistic modes of thought that currently dominate our culture are aligned to deliver a people who are demoralized, pessimistic and irresponsible with regard to the challenges that press powerfully upon their civilization. Therefore the story of David, a mere man who yet rose to the awful challenges that continually pressed upon himself and his nation has particular relevance. David fulfilled his purpose not because he was passive, egotistic or perfect, but rather because, as he aggressively used all of his God-given capabilities, he also trusted in God’s promise and clung without ceasing to his hope in God’s grace.