Life insists on self-examination. Every now and again life forces us to ask questions of ourselves. Sooner or later everyone arrives at those moments of cogitation – What am I doing with my life? Where exactly is my life going? Am I fulfilled? Am I satisfied with my progress in life? Do I have true friends? Is this relationship going anywhere? There are a thousand and four of these questions life forces us to attend to depending on our circumstances. They will be asked over the course of a lifetime, especially as we approach certain milestones in age. One of the biggest questions in the room is, is it worth serving God? It becomes a very pertinent question in the face of trials and difficulties. Is it worth serving God?
We know of course what the religious answer will be. It is a self-obligatory yes, partly borne out of a sense of worship and reverence for God. But it’s also a palliative of the soul. We get to soothe ourselves, console ourselves. Our soul hangs on tenaciously to the fact that God loves us. But to answer the question objectively we need external evidence from outside our lives. We need to look at the life of someone who served God, had an intimate relationship with God. The terms are simple – we look at the data before the person signed a management contract with God, and then we look at the end of the person’s life. It’s a fair assessment system. David alluded to this methodology when he wrote, “Once I was young, and now I’m old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.” Psalm 37:25 NLT. It’s factually debatable but you can’t argue with David’s experience. He’s talking about his personal knowledge. But it’s a study template for our question. It’s essentially a “before and after” equation.
There are a few case studies available to us from scriptures. I’ll choose Jacob and David because we have access to substantial portions of their biographies. And they meet the “before and after” test. Jacob and David are similar in some ways though the facts of their lives wildly differ.
We know life happens to everyone – life is full of trials. In between “before and after” therefore is a lot of troubles. And so implicit to our study is the crucial ability of God to convert the facts of our life and make everything work together for our good. He never promised there won’t be trials by the way. Whoever teaches that is teaching funky theology. In fact, God assured us there’ll be troubles. John 16:33. But he promised everything will work out fine. Romans 8:28.
Take Jacob. Even the deceit his father-in-law sprung on him ended up being coopted by God’s plan. Laban, his father-in-law is as crooked as they come. He switched the bride in the honeymoon suite. Jacob was clueless. He had been looking forward to sex with his girlfriend for seven years. That was the last thing he was expecting. He ended up sleeping with his sister-in-law. Well, sort of. To marry his girlfriend he was forced into polygamy. Yet the two women, with help from two concubines gave birth to the twelve tribes of Israel. The twelve tribes constitute the structural framework of Israel.
God is somehow able to coopt the circumstances of our lives to deliver on his vision for us. Those circumstances include our trials, our difficulties, our failures, disappointments, backgrounds, betrayals. God plays the end game. And his vison for us is rather stubborn. It stubbornly coopts the data in our lives. As adverse circumstances emerge in the real world the algorithm goes anticipatory, reconfigures, creating another path to our future. Remember that statement God made through Uncle Jerry – “I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11. Game theory is at play.
Let’s look at the end of David’s life. The poor boy had become a billionaire. During the fundraising ceremony for the building of the temple David alone contributed 112 tons of gold. A ton of gold is about 1,000 kilograms. In today’s money a kilogram of gold is about $46.5 million, meaning David donated $5.2 billion worth of gold. Every other person donated 188 tons. He gave nearly as much as everybody put together. He also donated 262 tons of refined silver. One ton of silver is worth a million dollars in today’s money, which means David donated another $262 million. The entire nation donated 375 tons of silver. In total David donated $5.46 billion dollars towards the building of the temple, in today’s money. That’s a lot of money in any currency.
How does a guy from the rugged hills of Judea end up so rich! The guy was from the other side of town. That’s not saying everyone who serves God will end up a billionaire. We’re looking at David’s “before and after.” On earth. It’s a phenomenal feat of destiny. Which explains why David was so emotional at the fundraising event for the building of the temple – “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you gave us!” 1 Chronicles 29:11-14. That prayer correlates with the prayer of Pastor Sam’s mum, Hannah. Mrs. Elkanah was Prophet Samuel’s mum. She might as well have been talking about David when she prayed, He (God) lifts the poor from the dust, and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, placing them in seats of honor. For the earth is the Lord’s…” 1 Samuel 2:8.
David is a major source of encouragement to us. In David we see that God can lift us beyond the circumstances of our birth, beyond any human projections. David reminds us it’s the end that matters. Our struggles are intermediate phenomena, they’re not final history.
In David we see the love of God overwhelm mistakes. The data of our mistakes and foolishnesses are digital input of grace. David committed a terrible sin with Bathsheba. Perhaps the closest in modern times is Bill Clinton with Monica Lewinsky, and it’s nowhere near. Not remotely. God punished David, but the same God put Bathsheba’s son on the throne after David. God had moved past the issue. He actually sent a name during Solomon’s naming ceremony. Jedidah. It means “Beloved.”
It’s sometimes hard for us to accept God has moved past an issue. Yet God moves past issues. “He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love towards those who fear him. As far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins.” Psalm 103:9-12 MSG. You need to get past your past. God already did.
This is the last installment in the series, David: Profiles In Courage. I hope you enjoyed the series.
I want you to give your life to Christ. Pray this prayer: “Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Father please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.”
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org.Life insists on self-examination. Every now and again life forces us to ask questions of ourselves. Sooner or later everyone arrives at those moments of cogitation – What am I doing with my life? #Illuminare Click To Tweet Is it worth serving God? #Illuminare Click To Tweet God is somehow able to coopt the circumstances of our lives to deliver on his vision for us. God plays the end game. #Illuminare Click To Tweet God can lift us beyond the circumstances of our birth, beyond any human projections. #Illuminare Click To Tweet David reminds us it’s the end that matters. Our struggles are intermediate phenomena, they’re not final history. #Illuminare Click To Tweet The love of God overwhelms mistakes. The data of our mistakes and foolishnesses are digital input of grace. #Illuminare Click To Tweet You need to get past your past. God already did. #Illuminare Click To Tweet