1 & 2 Samuel: Day 33

David’s Last Words

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Today's Text: 2 Samuel 23:1-39, 2 Samuel 24:1-25, Micah 1:2-3, John 2:19-22

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 23:1-39, 2 Samuel 24:1-25, Micah 1:2-3, John 2:19-22

They say that at the end of life, things will become clearer. Our priorities will crystallize and our discernment will sharpen. They say no one ever lies on their deathbed and says, “I should have spent more time at the office.” No one wishes they’d been less generous, less loving, less devoted to forgiveness and reconciliation. The secret, then, is to live now with the end in mind—to live now like we’ll wish we had then.

This is what they say. But what does the Bible say?

Scripture is filled with flawed humans who could have lived life better. Aside from Jesus, you’ll be hard pressed to find a person whose deathbed retrospective is free of wishes or regrets. Come to think of it, the idea of finding a “secret” to outsmarting our humanity is wholly absent in the 66 books of the Bible.

Instead of giving us life hacks, God’s Word gives us a promise: our life here on earth exists within our truer, eternal life with God through His Son.

When we reach the final chapters of 2 Samuel, at the end of David’s life, we don’t find him urging us to be our best selves. We find him composing a final poem—one last expression of what he knows to be true of God and his life with God. In it, David declares:

Is it not true my house is with God?
For he has established a permanent covenant with me,
ordered and secured in every detail.
Will he not bring about
My whole salvation and my every desire?
- 2 Samuel 23:5

David’s dying thoughts don’t hinge on what he has or has not done, but rather on what God has done and continues to do.

God made a covenant with David and He ordered every detail, in David’s life and beyond, to uphold that covenant. The second half of chapter 23 gives us a glimpse into those details—a brief and profound look into God’s provision, for David and for all people of the covenant, through the exploits of David’s “Mighty Men.”

This group of more than thirty men were named and known, both by the Lord and by David. Their devotion to God’s anointed king was no accident, and neither was the bravery and might they displayed on David’s behalf. One, named Eleazar, fought until he quite literally could not go on. Verse 10 says he “stood his ground and attacked the Philistines until his hand was tired and stuck to his sword.” Even so, Scripture makes it clear that God brought about the victory that day (1 Samuel 23:10). Another, called Benaiah, “went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion” (v.20). A trio of men known as “the Three” risked their lives just to bring a thirsty, homesick King David a drink of water from his hometown well (vv.15-16).

I circled their names in my study book—these warriors of the covenant who are known by name to the Lord and now to us so many generations later. It was the name at the end of the list that made my stomach lurch: Uriah the Hethite (v.39). The same Uriah who was married to Bathsheba. The same Uriah who was killed to cover up the king’s own sin. A mighty man snuffed out by a powerful one.

Our stories, like David’s, are complicated. They are filled with things we did and didn’t do, things other people did and didn’t do, and the consequences that followed. We have days when we look like heroes and days when our hearts look as murderous and unfaithful as David’s did with Uriah and Bathsheba. The story told in 1 and 2 Samuel offers us only one faithful Hero—the Lord.

God’s faithfulness is the context of David’s story and ours. His sovereignty reigns over every plot point; His mercy is mightier than our regrets. By faith in God’s Son, Jesus, we can stand at the end of our days and say with David, “My house is with God. He has established a permanent covenant with me, ordered and secured in every detail. He will bring about my whole salvation.”

All glory be to Him.

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  • I’ve been saved since I was a little girl, but I’ve never really completed 1st and 2nd Samuel before. I’m so glad I did. It was amazing to read the events that inspired some of the Psalms. Those Psalms mean so much more to me now, almost identical to how certain hymns have more meanings after knowing the author’s stories. To say this wasn’t a struggle at times would be a lie. I’m not much of a “guts and gore” girl, but I loved getting a deeper look at David. I knew about Bathsheba. I knew that even after adultery, God called him a man after His own heart, but I didn’t know that there was SO much more than that. It gives me hope for myself, that as I seek and pray after my mistakes that God sees ME. That He sees my heart. This was my first physical book I received in the mail and I am now hooked! I love that these studies are so Scripture based and any other commentary is fully secondary.

  • I have really enjoyed this entire study as well. I needed the reminder of David’s character and how reminded of myself I was. Sometimes I have felt so much pride and so much joy for all of God’s graces and so many times in life I have seen that I have taken advantage of these things and need to humble myself lest I let them bring me to the lowest of low plot points in life, and I have been there time and time again but God ALWAYS provides a light in the darkness. He has never failed me, and I know He won’t fail me even to my last days. “God’s mercy is mightier than our regrets”….such a fantastic thought to put in our pocket and carry with us throughout each and every single detail, through every little detail of our lives, which, yes, God has “ordered and secured for us”. Just to live every day walking in the way He would have us to is ultimately all we are tasked with, and there is no need to worry with any of the rest.

  • Heidi V.

    “God’s faithfulness is the context of David’s story and ours. His sovereignty reigns over every plot point; His mercy is mightier than our regrets. By faith in God’s Son, Jesus, we can stand at the end of our days and say with David, “My house is with God. He has established a permanent covenant with me, ordered and secured in every detail. He will bring about my whole salvation.”” I’ve been facing a lot of plot points these days, and forgetting that God’s faithfulness IS the context of my story. Lord, protect me from the enemy who tries to convince me that I can be King and save myself. Isn’t that what he’s been doing since the Garden? Separating us from God with our very own pride? Humble me Lord. Over and over. Do what you must to bring me back to your protective, loving and faithful embrace again and again.

  • kathryn macleod

    I found this a difficult study. leaving me wondering if after two years I should even stop? I found the darkness and the slaying and murders and violence difficult.I did not feel lifted up. I felt down. I have never delved into the study of the Old Testament. I have spent my life as a Christian and am finding there are many parts of the Bible I have never read. God may be calling me to continue..perhaps this was the lesson or the truth I was to learn.

    • Heidi V.

      A strong dose of the Old Testament can be hard. But its so so good. Keep going. Dig deeper. These books make us take a deep look into ourselves and truly see our need for Christ. The taste of the Gospel is only sweeter after a few bites of the OT. When I first started studying the OT it was if I finally understood what it meant to be a Christian and to have my own faith. Before that – it was just my family’s tradition. My heart goes out to you Kathryn. He will not leave you – Christ is the balm your soul needs.

      • kathryn macleod

        Thank you. I am really glad this one is over. I get the books delivered each month and I have for the past two years. I am really trying to get to know the Bible better and the study books are making me read parts I have never read. I find the OT tough…..the rapes,the polygamy,the violence even to children. I really struggle with feeling lifted up. I grew up in a very fundamentalist family- that came with tons of guilt and lots of things I am happy to drop as my own form of being a Christian takes place.

        • Sarah D.

          I remember hearing Louie Giglio promoting the Jesus Bible that he and author pastors created…what I loved was that he related that Jesus is in both the Old Testament and the New Testament…just a reminder that there is purpose in the Old Testament books, because they point to our need for Jesus and God’s faithfulness.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Kathryn, thanks so much for sharing and for reading along with us! We definitely understand there was quite a bit of darkness and heaviness represented in many of these stories. Our prayer today is that God would bring encouragement and understanding to us through the Scriptures, and that we would learn to see His character and mercy even in the midst of all these things. We are so glad to have you as a part of the SRT community, and hope you can join us as we begin The Sermon on the Mount on Monday! – Abby, The SRT Team

    • Kristen Clegs

      It helps me as I read this part of the Old Testament to remember that, at this time, God’s relationship with His people was through the Law. It was a temporary, conditional covenant just for Israel, the keeping of which would cause them to be so obviously different from the pagan nations around them in their reflection of their God’s holiness and righteousness. The point of the Law was to define sin and point Israel to the promised Fulfiller of the Law – the righteous Son of God – not to be a formula to salvation. The time of this covenant shows the severity and absoluteness of holiness, and that’s what we see so much of in the OT. God is still good and gracious; we do see justice mixed with mercy in the life of David and others, but Israel did not yet have the Messiah as the fulfillment of the divine balance of holiness and mercy. Until He came, they were the stewards of what holiness looked like, and the provers of how impossible it is for mere humans to attain it.

  • This was such an amazing study, SRT. Thank you for bringing excitement back into the Bible. I was so excited each morning to continue to story of David. Thank you for the meaning and the ease that you brought out of each chapter. Thank you ladies for your time spent in the Lord, and sharing this with us. What a phenomenal study.

  • Tochi Heredia

    One of the most life-changing Bible journeys I’ve had was last year’s SRT study “Mourning & Dancing.” It completely shifted the way I look at my life and the Bible.

    I’m one of those people that love to hear stories of people’s past and reminisce on my own experiences –I even scrapbook! So, I often look back and think about what I have/haven’t done, what I’ve gone through, whom I’ve met, what/whom I’ve lost… I can attest that the only constant in my life has always been the Lord.
    It’s safe to say that it’s never season of calm and happiness, after season of chaos and sadness, and so on. Life’s seasons are always intertwined and messy, usually difficult to discern which is which.

    This sometimes causes me to dread change, to try to remain in a safe place for fear of getting hurt. But I’ve realized that no place in this broken world is safe. Nothing that we can finally have (house/job/husband/friends) will provide us peaceful, restful bliss.
    The only safe place, the only rock, the only refuge is our God. Our never-changing Lord. The only peace we can get, while we wait for our eternal one, is the one given by His Spirit.

    My heart is full at the end of this study. I’m moved to do great things for God, to be still and wait, to accept whatever He sends my way. Because, though the circumstances change, our God remains the same ❤

  • One faithful hero….the Lord! Yes, thank you Jesus for being faithful throughout my life!

  • Karen From Virginia

    I enjoyed the raw reality of Redemption in David’s life. He is real. That authentic living before a holy God enabled David to know really know the Living God. Grateful for the Bible and the stories that aren’t sweet and wrapped in a bow. Thank you Jesus that you are faithful to us more than we are to you. You are worthy of our trust.

  • I feel like Summer in the comment above….my kid’s Sunday school version of David has reigned in my head. Kill Goliath, evade Saul, become king, sin with Bathsheba and suffer the consequences but blessed by God his whole reign. I’ve learned there was so much more to the story just as I’ve learned there’s so much more to my story.

    I love David! In 1 Samuel David was a humble servant before the Lord and said so many things in response to his circumstances that challenged me in my faith and trust of the Lord. I continue to go back to the passage about David and Goliath and ask myself today….”just who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” This is the David that taught me through the chapters of 1 Samuel that my God fights for me and He reigns victorious over my battles.

    BUT

    To be honest….I really don’t like King David. Throughout the pages of 2 Samuel I was continually disappointed and angry with a fallen, lustful, murderous, and broken human being. At the end of many chapters I just sat and thought, how could the Lord’s blessing be upon this man? THEN I made the connection…..I am king David. I am encouraged by the words of David as he faced his giants and the Lord gives me victory but I often fail to remember HIS strength and HIS will in my life and I take matters into my own hands. Just like King David.

    I feel like the Lord gave me two sides to the life of David and it’s revealing to me my own true sin struggle. The words of David continue to encourage me in facing my giants but the fallen nature of King David humbles me before my perfect Savior in repentance and brokenness asking for His new mercies and grace everyday. Because His blessing remains upon me even in my brokenness.

    • Gina

      Yes, I so agree with you. Great post! I love how the Word is not “cleaned up”. At every page turn I am reminded why I so desperately need a Savior. Hallelujah.

    • Lana

      I am king David. Wow. So true. Thank you for inspiring me to take an aerial view of the whole story. It seemed so much easier for David to rely and follow God when he had so little and life was simpler. God and family were all he had. But then God’s blessing rained down on him and relying on God became more difficult. I think it’s because he had the means to create and execute his own plans. He had the earthly resources to do whatever he wanted.

      Having earthly resources like money, power, and respect appear to be the high life. But man did it take David down more than a few times. And David was a good man! A man after God’s own heart! Funny how God could be protecting us from ourselves when we ask for earthly increase. It’s a great reminder to be thankful for where you are now, even if it feels like you can handle more. David lost several children to evil and greed. I wonder if he ever asked himself, “Was it even worth it?”

      David didn’t always want to surrender his entire life to God (like the womanizing for instance) and this created a lot of chaos in his life. Its also the part in the story when he become highly unlikeable. It’s my prayer that no matter how much God blesses us, that life and our relationship with God still feels simple. It’s my prayer that surrendering all becomes second nature to us – no matter how much God blesses us.

      One thing I do give David credit for was his ability to always come back to God with a pure heart. He stuck out the relationship and God loved him despite his imperfections.

      Thank you JessMC for sparking all this thought! Loved your commentary!

  • Kelly R Smith

    “This is what they say. But what does the Bible say?” Amanda, you do such a good job of pointing us to the Bible for our answers. Not just that–you gently remind us that the Bible (and its answers) is not about us but about God. My heart is realigned this morning. God’s faithfulness is the context of my story. “My house is with God.”

  • churchmouse

    Thank you SRT for faithfully pointing us to Jesus. As I close 1&2 Samuel, I see much of myself within it. Sometimes I’m killing giants in the name of the Lord and other days I have blood on my hands. Through it all, the God Who knows it all loves me still and remains faithful to His Word. Jesus never wipes His hands of me in disgust – He wraps them around me. He whispers His promises in my ear. And He delivers on every one. How often I need to remember this! When I feel like the enemy is closing in and I’m shivering in a dark cave, there comes the Light that shows me not only the way out but walks right beside me. He is my deliverer and my protector. I just need the reminder. Thank you.

  • This Bible study was great. Whenever I thought about David in the last, it was pretty much, “Beat Goliath, lived happily ever after.” This has helped me to put into perspective the up’s and down’s of not just David’s life, but also my own. Being a Christian doesn’t mean bad or scary things won’t happen to us anymore. Sometimes we are living on the mountain, no Goliath in sight. But other times, we find ourselves walking in the valley, trying to get out of the trouble we are in. It’s then we need to focus on the time we’ve spent on the mountain top. God is good all the time and we will see us through to the end.

  • Alison MacFarland

    I struggle very much with my body. I look at myself and never feel good enough. It’s hard because I know God cares deeply and has put so much faith in me, but I still hate the way I look. Nobody on their death bed wishes they were 10 pounds lighter, they want to be surrounded by loved ones. So today I took a pledge to love myself. I hope you will join me sisters on my road to self love because we all deserve happiness.

    • Thank you Alison! I too struggle. I need to be thankful for what I have….with my body. I struggle daily with knowing how I once was to what I am now. And I need to concentrate on what works for me! I needed this reminder today when I am wide awake at 4 if I should work out or sleep and I just have to realize it doesn’t matter. I want to love the Lord with all I am and love myself because He made me just how I am suppose to be!

    • Tina

      Walking, hand in hand with you beautiful, made in His image child of the Most High God. Remember, He knows every detail of YOU , and He absolutely without a doubt loves all of YOU. Praying His banner of love over you..
      Xxx

    • Kathy

      Psalm 45:11. “The king is enthralled with your beauty. Honor him for he is your Lord.”
      Praying for you!

    • At Peace

      Alison, it is so amazing that you posted this. I’ve, too, always felt bad about my body. I avert my eyes when I’m dressing in the morning so I don’t catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The other morning I felt a word from God. It has only happened a few times in my life. Not an audible word, but I felt He was speaking to me. He said that he wanted me to love my body. He made it and it is precious in His sight. I know that didn’t come from me because it is a thought I would never have! It was an entirely new concept to me. To not only take care of my body, but to love it, as it is. He created me, just as I am, and gave me this precious gift. I spend much time and effort wishing it was different. This has been an amazing experience for me and I’m trying each day to love my body. It is still a struggle for me, but I am trying each day to thank God for my body and to love it!

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