Friday, January 6, 2017

The Man After God's Own Heart--by Linden Malki

The turnover of the calendar is in one sense an arbitrary division of time, but we find it a good structure for our lives.  This season of a "new year" is one of the most dramatic that I can recall.  We're living through breathtaking political change, which some people are accepting better than others.  Our church is going through a generational change, which is exciting on both ends--to see Pastor Paul headed off for a new direction that has been growing in his heart for some years; the calling to "equip the saints for the work of ministry" was one of the first goals he had when he came to us 21 years ago.  We have been privileged to watch JumpStart grow from a dream to a reality that is taking over his life.

 I find the Bible fascinating reading because of the  personalities that come through.  People have not fundamentally changed as far back as we have records, though cultures and challenges do change. (The fact that we are incorrigible writers is part of it!)  One person that we have an amazing amount of biographical material on is David, the second King of Israel, who lived about 1000 BC.  We have not only the story of his life--an honest telling of good and not so good, but also of his spiritual life--his writings (he is credited for at least 73 of the Psalms, more than any other writer) where he gives us a window into his heart for God; his ability to listen to his advisers, face up to his shortcomings and sincerely repent and be restored.  

One of our first looks at David was when he faced a giant, with only his experience in defending his  father's flocks from predators and his well-used slingshot.  He became a warrior with a reputation--when the cheering crowds chanted that "Saul as killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands" it turned Saul from his patron to his bitter enemy. David was driven into hiding, and exile, but did not take the temptation to attack Saul himself.  After Saul was killed in battle, David came back and built a new Kingdom, based in a city that was not part of any tribal area. Jerusalem was one of the few unconquered cities left after Joshua; David took it by stealth with little damage, and built it into a major capitol. He wanted to make it a center of worship as well; he brought back the Ark of the Covenant which had been captured a generation earlier, and began planning a Temple. He took it with good grace when Nathan the prophet told him that it was not for him to build the Temple, but for his son.  His son Solomon was able to come in and build the Temple, one that lasted over 400 years, rebuilt for another 400 years, and a dream that still lives on.

Does this sound familiar? A man with a history of strength, the experience of opposition and exile, a dream given by God, and a legacy for his son to build.  God still works with people in surprising ways!

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