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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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Life is seasonal. Our existence isn’t locked into a single set of experiences, circumstances, responsibilities, or emotions. Things are constantly changing!
Regardless of our age, race, gender, income, or any other variable, we’re all governed by the shifting seasons of life. We laugh, we cry, we’re angered, we forgive, we celebrate, and we mourn. We go to school, we graduate, we get hired, we get fired, we get hired again, and we retire. We’re children, we’re teenagers, we’re young adults, we’re middle-aged, and we’re eventually seniors. We court, we marry, we have kids, we raise kids, we watch them grow and move out, and we see them go through the same cycle.
You get the idea. Life doesn’t stand still for very long. It’s a winding road with a series of segueing turns and dips. And if your life is anything like mine, you rarely see the next one coming!
But despite the seasonal nature of life, there is one great constant that never changes . . . the Lord! No matter how many transitions we may experience, no matter how far we may fall, no matter how unprepared or overwhelmed we may feel in light of life’s many unexpected twists, God is greater than them all. His unchanging and unfailing nature is the rudder that guides us through the shifting seas of change.
God wants us to know that change is coming, but that it’s going to be O.K. because He is always alongside us. What’s more, he wants us to trust in this, and He’s given us a powerful picture of this through the life of David.
No life, with its various seasons, is laid out for us to see and study quite like David’s. We witness his ascension from total obscurity, his time of intense testing and trial, his rise to the height of power and prestige, his plummet into the pit of despair and depression, and the restoration of his body, soul, and spirit.
Yet through it all, we also see the Lord leading, empowering, favoring, chastening, and even carrying him through all that he went through. As much as we can say that David was a man of all seasons, his God was equally so!
Over the next few months, we’re going to examine many of the peaks and valleys of David’s life. We’ll see him as a son, a shepherd, a soldier, a scavenger, a sovereign, a sinner, and a servant. But beyond this, we’ll see the abiding presence of the One who sustained him and who stands ready to sustain us through every season of our lives.
Where we’ll be
David’s life is primarily recorded for us in the Old Testament books of 1 and 2 Samuel. Our studies will primarily be drawn from these two books.
Originally, these two books were compiled as one volume in the Hebrew Scriptures. It was nearly 600 years after they were originally written that they were divided into two separate books. Basically, 1 Samuel covers the time from David’s introduction as a young teenager up to him becoming the King of Israel; while 2 Samuel covers the period of David’s reign up to his death.
Although these books bear the name “Samuel,” David is really the principle character in both of them. The reason they were named after Samuel is because he is the dominant character at the start of this narrative (remember they were both originally one book). But in terms of total content, it’s not inaccurate to think of these books in terms of being 1 and 2 David.
When this is happening
David roughly lived around 1000 B.C. (about 3,000 years ago). His existence came at a pivotal time in Israel’s history and it’s helpful to have an understanding of the historical backdrop.
As a nation, Israel was in a very difficult and dark place. About 400 years prior, Joshua had led the Israelites into the Promised Land and they began to settle and establish themselves there. However, they were surrounded by many nations that indulged in pagan practices, infecting Israel with idolatry.
For the next few centuries, God’s people experienced a reoccurring cycle of compromise, invasion, enslavement, contrition, petition, and deliverance. The Lord would see His people fall into sin, allow them to be oppressed by their enemies, wait for them to repent and cry out for His help, then raise up a leader known as a Judge to lead them to victory over their oppressors. Samson and Gideon served in this way. The point is that Israel was very unstable both politically and (more importantly) spiritually.
Eventually, Israel decided they wanted to establish stability by having a king rule over them, just like the rest of the nations around them. Ideally, God didn’t want a man to rule over His people, but He gave Israel what they wanted and told Samuel to anoint Saul as the first King of Israel.
Outwardly, Saul seemed to check all of the boxes that you’d want in a leader. He was tall, handsome, and inspired people to follow him. Unfortunately, Saul lacked the internal qualities of godliness necessary to lead God’s people. Under Saul’s influence, Israel began to drift further and further from the Lord. This was the spiritual void that David stepped into, and we’ll see how strategic this timing was!
What to expect
In addition to seeing God’s faithfulness throughout the different seasons of David’s life, there are going to be some other important themes that will emerge. Specifically, the basis of God’s calling will be an important feature. We’re going to see how the Lord does not work the way our world typically works. He operates in ways that are contrary to the conventions of society. David’s life is a shining testimony to this.
Another vital lesson will center on the powerful effects of sin on the human heart. Nobody is immune from the temptations of sin, or its consequences when we yield to it. As much as David stands as a spiritual example for us, we’re going to see sin scar and stain him. It’s a negative example that we can’t miss.
Finally, the providence of God will be woven throughout David’s life story. We will see that when the Lord declares something, it’s going to happen. It doesn’t matter how unlikely or against all odds something may seem, all that matters are God’s promises!
It’s our deepest hope that through this study of David’s life, you’ll see yourself and relate to what he went through. Even more importantly, we pray you’ll see how involved and loving God is throughout every possible phase of life.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.