In his last words, David calls himself the anointed and sweet psalmist of Israel. What a progression he has made from the lowly shepherd boy to acknowledging himself as the anointed king and leader of Israel!
What is most significant about this last song is his reiteration of the Davidic Covenant of 2 Samuel 7:8-16 in 23:5:
The Scarlet Thread of Redemption
Truly is not my house so with God?
For He has made an everlasting covenant with me,
Ordered in all things, and secured;
For all my salvation and all my desire,
Will He not indeed make it grow?
This covenant would result in someone from David's line being the everlasting King, and His name is JESUS! Jesus is all our salvation and all our desire. Praise be to HIM!
The chapter concludes with a list of David's 37 "mighty men." These were men who showed courage in battle as well as wisdom in leadership. By the way, the "thirty" mentioned contains 37 names because it mentions some warriors known to be dead (Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, whom David had slain is among them). They were all very different but had one thing in common: loyalty to their leader, David. Also, notice that there is one notable omission in this list: Joab!
REFLECTION (written in 2008)
The mighty men of David were really just ordinary men who were motivated to greatness by their leader, David. David was an effective leader when he was connected to his Leader, God!
In high school most people liked me (excepting the jealous ones) even though I did not necessarily like myself all that much. By the end of my senior year, my room was filled with flowers from all the awards that I had racked up in the academic, social, and athletic realms. In the midst of the "award season" of senior year, the mom of my friend, Julie, said to her, "If there is anyone you should look up to and model your life after, it should be Carol." I was flattered, and this was a temporary fix (like a drug) to the deep craving that I had for love and acceptance.
The morning after this lovely compliment, I got a distressed call from Julie telling me that her mom had fallen asleep at the wheel of her Volkswagen bug, crashed into a pole, and died instantly. Her flower-filled memorial service was set in stark contrast to the flowers in my bedroom, many of which had begun to turn brown with pedals making a mess all over my floor.
Julie's mother's death caused me to ask myself many questions: "So, I win all these awards, but the glory of those awards fade away, just like these flowers. What is life all about anyway if we all eventually die? Why am I here on earth; and if I am someone Julie should look up to and model her life after, who am I looking up to and modeling my life after?"
These verses in James express my position:
But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. (James 1:9-11)I was like that "rich man" in the midst of my pursuit for my own glory because I had achieved everything I had set out to do in high school; but even with all of this, I was really bankrupt in my soul!
Julie's mom's death hit me hard, and my life began to unravel. Sure, I was achieving both academically and athletically in college, but I was very depressed. Yes, I had been a believer in Jesus since I was ten years old, but I did not really know how to follow Him. I needed someone to lead the way.
Then came Cheryl Potter.
Cheryl was a mild-tempered, humble coworker who was not very "rich" in the world's eyes but had EVERYTHING I wanted. We worked alone in the business office of the Fallbrook Hospital on the 3 - 10 p.m. shift. Things would get crazy and stressful when emergencies would come in, and Cheryl always worked diligently and calmly and with love for everyone. Cheryl followed Jesus, and I wanted to follow Cheryl so I could follow Jesus too. The rest is history.
The last time I talked to Cheryl was in the winter of 2005. She was fighting breast cancer, and all my emails had bounced. I was afraid to pick up the phone because of what I might not hear on the other end. I thought that if she had died, she lived her life for something that really mattered: the glory of God. I do not doubt that she left a legacy of "mighty women" behind her, all because she led by following Jesus. Cheryl was really someone to look up to and model her life after.
So, this post has taken all day because I got brave and located an old number for Cheryl and made the dreaded call wondering if she would be on the other end of the line.
And she was! Still Cheryl and cancer-free for three years! Alive and vacuuming! She had just said good-bye to a woman (and her two dogs) who had lived with her for three weeks while the woman was between homes. She was a brand new believer in Jesus. Cheryl was still leading other "mighty women" toward what is really important in life by pointing them toward Jesus.
May I someday live to fill her shoes.
The leaders we follow will affect our lives. Who are you following? Are they following the Lord?
Also, who is following you and where are you taking them? I pray you are following the ultimate Leader of us all: JESUS!
Lord, we will follow where You lead us. Lord, we pray for Godly leaders in our lives who follow You. Help us to be Godly leaders to others also. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.