What Do We See?
This week we read David’s last words in 1 Samuel 23:1-7. Actually, there are ten “last words of David” recorded in the Bible, each contributing to the story in its own way.
If these words are interpreted as what David is saying about himself, it seems he had a very large ego! He is introduced as the anointed of God and God’s favorite. David goes on to say of himself that “the spirit of the Lord speaks through me” (v. 2), and he is “One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God” (v. 3). These are grandiose self-acclamations for someone who had an affair, and rather than “fess up” to what he’d done, David sent her husband to the frontlines so he would be killed in battle. This makes the text sound like his chance to spin his legacy so that it seems more positive than it was.
There is another way to view this passage. Perhaps in completing the narrative about David, others have placed these words on his lips to describe what they hoped their king could be and what they believed God could do through their kingdom. It is not a statement about what was. It evinces a sense of who God is calling them to be.
The truth is that sometimes we need to see people through the lens of who they can be, not viewing them solely by what they’ve done. We tend to do this naturally with those we love. We view them with generous eyes that allow us to see the possibilities within them. It’s not that we forget past decisions and acts, but we don’t confine their futures to them.