Monday, September 19, 2011

famous last words

The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me: When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.
2 Samuel 23:3-4

These "last words" of David (probably the last recorded psalm of David) are filled with wonder at the power of God at work in his kingdom. David was amazed. He has been a man of warfare all his life. He has seen a lot of violence. Yet he has lived to be an old man despite all the struggles, the sins, and their consequences. He has been blessed in spite of it all.

In this short psalm he summarizes his experience as king by summarizing what God has done for him. He begins with the miracle of God's Word, claiming that God has used him to speak His Word (2 Samuel 23:2), a clear and rare personal reflection on the theology of inspiration and inscripturation. He then speaks of God's honoring Himself in David's rule. There was a unique relationship with God that David experienced as king. When he ruled "in the fear of God", his kingdom was a blessing to those he ruled.

David then reflects on the wonder of having God make a unique, uni-lateral covenant with him in which God promised an everlasting dynasty to David (2 Samuel 23:5). This was the most amazing part of David's life. He was chosen and his house was chosen by God... and this was the secret to his success. God had done everything for him to honor His covenant with David. David knew it all came from God's grace to him.

David ends his last psalm with an observation that contrasts living under God's care with livng a "worthless" life in disobedience or disregard of God (2 Samuel 23:6-7). The end of such living is waste and destruction. The righteous ultimately prosper in God's embrace while those who reject God are miserably destroyed. David knew that the peace with which his life was ending was God's final verdict on his life and his kingdom. He is happy to thrive in such blessing.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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