FROM THE PASTOR’S HEART
David was bestowed with many gifts, of which people would be full of envy, but would find hard to emulate. When David repented thoroughly of his sins, it was a turning point in his life. At the same time, he set a great example for us to follow and learn from. When David realised that God would strike with illness the child borne out of his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, he “pleaded with God”, fasted and spent seven nights lying on the ground dressed in sackcloth the ground until the child died. David submitted himself to God’s lordship. On the other hand, Hezekiah had always “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Kings 18:3). When he became ill to the point of death, he was unwilling to accept the fact, and put forth his arguments on the basis of his devotion to God and his achievements (2 Kings 20:2-3). God heard his prayer, healed him and added 15 years to his life. Afterwards, his focus began to shift from God to himself, and his spiritual life spiralled downhill. Indirectly, he had a part to play in the eventual destruction of Judah. What a great pity!
Did David have the bargaining power to plead with God? Yes, he did. Besides committing adultery with Bathsheba and plotting the murder of Uriah, David’s list of achievements was more illustrious than Hezekiah’s (see Pastor’s Heart 9 July). After he had sinned and repented, David had come to the important realisation that, to be chosen for God’s purposes and to be His servant is all by God’s grace. God has good intentions in all His plans, and David submitted himself to God’s will, choosing to “plead with God” with a posture of humility and putting God as his priority.
As I reflect upon the lives of these two kings, there are good lessons for us to learn here:
- Never use our service to God and our accomplishments to bargain with Him. The ability to serve God is a blessing in itself, be thankful!
- No matter what our encounters may be, God’s good intentions can always be found in them, be obedient to Him!
- When we shift our focus from God to ourselves or other people, it will be the start of our distancing apart from Him.
(Scripture references: 2 Samuel 12, 2 Kings 20 and the past two Pastor’s Heart messages.)
Rev Herman Kan