In 2 Samuel 23:2-7, King David’s last oracle from God is recorded; the final words of the man after God’s own heart. What does a wise king, a man who has seen so terribly much, have to say at the final curtain of his life?
2 “The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me;
his word is on my tongue.
3 The God of Israel has spoken;
the Rock of Israel has said to me:
When one rules justly over men,
ruling in the fear of God,
4 he dawns on them like the morning light,
like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning,
like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.
5 “For does not my house stand so with God?
For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
ordered in all things and secure.
For will he not cause to prosper
all my help and my desire?
6 But worthless men are all like thorns that are thrown away,
for they cannot be taken with the hand;
7 but the man who touches them
arms himself with iron and the shaft of a spear,
and they are utterly consumed with fire.”
Quickly breaking it down, here’s a brief summation:
Vs. 2 – This is a great 1-sentence definition of “prophecy” in the Old Testament: God’s words on a man’s tongue.
Vs. 3a – David’s words are divine revelation, so listen up!
Vs. 3b-4 – The Universal Order of Rule: The ruler who fears the Lord is exalted by the Lord and esteemed by the people.
(The rule for all those who govern)
Vs. 5-6 – The Universal Order of Reality: God establishes and blesses the righteous, but God curses the wicked…
(The underlying reason for the rule)
Vs. 7 – The Universal Ordinance to Rulers: Stay away from the wicked or you’ll get burned.
(The implications of the rule and the underlying reality).
For some reason, at the end of his life, the only thing on David’s mind was living a righteous life and avoiding both wickedness and wicked men. This is after surviving a few thousand Philistines, a national manhunt, a betrayal and coup, a murderous and adulterous scandal, and a few other (thousand) events of note. After all the headlines were dusty, after all his enemies were dead or disinterested, after all the dust had settled, David only had one thing on his mind, kinda like his wise son who followed him:
“Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Write it down…in ink on your arm.
If you want to get a tattoo, don’t get something stupid, cliche, horribly dated, or temporarily cool/significant.
Get something written on your flesh that you will always need to remember.
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “The Arm-decorating Theologian” Unger