Preaching The David Story -- By: David G. Firth
STR 2:1 (Summer 2011) p. 1
Preaching The David Story
St. John’s College Nottingham
Anyone looking for an exciting story around which to compile a series of messages could do much worse than consider the story of David. In so many ways, it is a story that has it all. Here is someone who rises from relatively obscurity, who overcomes the jealous attention of the previous king, to become the one whose rule unites all Israel, north and south. He is the resourceful but trusting shepherd who is also a natural soldier, a leader recognised by all. At the same time he is astute enough to know how to deal with the political structures of his time. But unlike most romances, it does not end with David riding off into the sunset with all settled and arranged. Instead, after reading of his accession we have the long and twisted account of his fall through his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba and the revolts led by Absalom and Sheba. Although it seems that David cannot survive Absalom’s rebellion, it is Absalom who is defeated and David reclaims his throne, though it is never as secure as before. Indeed, David’s final years are marked by weakness as his sons plot to succeed him. Moreover, various members of his court join different factions until Solomon is finally secured on the throne. There are twists and turns, a host of characters, and dangers thrown up at many points.
Seen in these terms, we might almost imagine that David is an ancient adventurer who invariably has some element of his personal resourcefulness on which to draw to overcome his adversaries. Whether consciously or not, such a reading of David has found its way into popular culture. Anyone who has seen Raiders of the Lost Ark should recognise the parallels between the scene where Jones faces a huge swordsman it seems he cannot overcome until he laconically pulls out his gun and David’s defeat of Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. Indeed, this is but one example of how David’s story has worked its way into popular culture to such an extent that many will not recognise, though preachers alert to such possibilities may well make good use of them. At the same time, as anyone who has done their exegetical homework on 1 Samuel 17 should know, David’s defeat of Goliath is much more about knowing how and where God is working than simply how the small man overcomes the big one. ‘A David and Goliath’ story may mean that in the popular parlance, but ironically it is not the main point of the biblical story which highlights David’s faith in
STR 2:1 (Summer 2011) p. 2
Yahweh’s promise to Israel. The story ’s climax is not so much Goliath’s defeat as the fact that his defeat vind...
Click here to subscribe