Read 1 Chronicles 29:10-20
Does anyone here doubt that king David died saved by God for eternal life? David did not run the race of life without some hard stumbles and falls. But David’s identifying characteristic is not one of unfaithfulness to God, even though David fell hard as we talked about last week. David’s life was marked by his love for God. Though sin distracted his attention from time to time, David’s love and loyalty to God shines through all the way to the end of his life and he finished well, did he not? Comparing David with Solomon, who finished well, and who didn’t? David starts at the bottom and rises to the top. Solomon begins at the top and falls away at the end. What can we learn from David’s life about finishing well?
- From childhood David learned to face struggles with faith and reliance on God. Did you notice, when we met David, he is the youngest of eight brothers. Way back in 1 Samuel 16 we learn this. Saul had turned away from God and God rejected Saul as king, so God sent Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint one if his sons, a man after God’s own heart. All seven of David’s older brothers pass before Samuel, but God does not choose any of them. Samuel has to ask Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse, David’s own dad, didn’t considered David a possibility. David was out tending the sheep so the older sons could be there for the anointing party. Lo and behold, God didn’t choose any of them, and they are left standing around until someone can go out and bring David in from the fields. God chose David, not one of his seven brothers, as king over Israel. Now, the next time we read of David with his brothers, it is when Goliath of Gath has everyone in Saul’s army terrified. David’s dad, Jesse, sent David with supplies to the battle lines to find out how things were going. David arrives just in time to hear Goliath shouting his challenge to the Israelites and see the army of Israel trembling in fear. David boldly asks, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God!” Then David starts asking around, “What will be done for the man who kills this guy?” David’s oldest brother, Eliab, overhears him and says: Why have you come down here? Who did you leave our sheep with? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you only came to watch the battle.”
David answers: Now what have I done? Can’t I even speak? Now, picture David’s relationship with his older brothers based on just what we have here. How would you describe it? Point? Goliath is not the first guy David had faced who was bigger than him.
Youngest of eight boys, you know David had his work cut out for him. What is Eliab’s assessment of David’s heart? Well, God saw something different. God saw a heart that was like His own. David’s youth was probably not easy. But David’s faith in God gave Him guidance and strength. All through his life, hardship seemed to drive David closer to God, rather than away from God. How do you handle pressure? Where do you go for strength? If you want to finish well, you must learn how to lean on God and trust Him.
- David built friendships and strong relationships with people of faith. Jonathan, Saul’s own son, was one of David’s best friends and a man of deep faith. 1 Samuel 23:16 tells that when David was fleeing from Saul, Jonathan went to him and helped him find strength in God. David married Abigail whose speech to David when they first met reveals her as a woman of faith. 1 Samuel 25:26-31. When David was king he chose Nathan the prophet as his personal spiritual guide. The Bible warns us many times about the importance of good spiritual friendships and the dangers of companionship with those who are not faithful. David’s son Solomon demonstrated great faith until his love for his many foreign wives led him away from God. Solomon suffered from a divided heart and this resulted in a divided kingdom. Are your strongest, closest relationships with faithful, spiritual people? Do you trust God’s word to be true about this? If we would finish well, we must be like David and develop strong spiritual friendships.
- David repented when God confronted his sin. We have at least two examples of this recorded for us in David’s life. First, is the sin with Bathsheba, when Nathan came and confronted David and pronounced both God’s forgiveness and yet consequences for David’s sin. David had a broken and contrite heart when he saw his condition and openly repented, even writing a Psalm of confession that all God’s people can read even today. Secondly, David counted the people of Israel and Judah, an act of disobedience that even Joab tried to redirect. David openly confessed and repented and sought God’s mercy. He did not defend himself or deny his guilt. David repented. How do you handle confrontation of your sins and weaknesses? To finish well, we must be willing to be corrected and repent of our sins.
- David humbled himself before God. He loved and trusted in God. When David was doing well, he did really well. He was wholeheartedly devoted to God, and recognized God’s hand in all of his life. David was seeking the kingdom of God and saw in the kingdom of Israel that it was actually not David’s kingdom, but God’s. Think of it, this man even wrote many scriptures and Peter in Acts 2 calls David a prophet. God exalted David as king, but God also humbled David when he disobeyed, and David responded faithfully in both. How do you respond to being exalted and humbled by God? Finishing well requires humility whether in times of exaltation or humiliation.
- David was a man of God’s word, prayer and praise. (Ok, that’s three not just one). He loved God, he loved the word of God and he loved to worship God in prayer and praise. A worshiping life prepares us to finish well.
- David dedicated all he had to God’s house and service. He was rich and he gave it all to God to build God’s house. David knew his children had all they needed. He didn’t need to pass on his wealth to them. Instead he passed on a priceless thing: an example of dedication to the Lord. What are we passing on to our children? What are we dedicating our possessions toward? Think about this: What did Jesus give up for you? How much did He sacrifice in order to save you? What did he dedicate toward that goal? He emptied himself, took on lowly flesh and blood, lived His life as a model of God’s grace and truth and then poured out His own life, sacrificed His own body and blood… He gave is all…. for you. If we would finish well, we must consider everything we have as His. Like the elders around the throne of God in Revelation, they fall down and cast their crowns before Him proclaiming that He is worthy. Finish well. Give your life to the only one who is truly worthy.