David is one of the most beloved characters in the Bible and that is as it should be, since his name in Hebrew is “beloved.” While David is a heroic character, his life began in a rather lackluster way: he was the youngest child in a family of shepherds.
When the prophet Samuel came to anoint David as the next king of Israel, David did not know he was suppose to be at the meeting. Samuel looked over seven of David’s older brothers. God chose none of them.
Finally, the prophet asked if there were any other sons, and there was, but he was only a boy and he was in the field taking care of sheep. Once David arrived, Samuel anointed him with oil.
This practice of anointing grew out of the practice of anointing a priest on his new appointment. Samuel continued this practice as a way to appoint kings. A more important association: to be anointed with oil became a way of participating with God in anointing the new king with God’s Holy Spirit (See 1 Samuel 16:13).
God’s Spirit empowered David his whole life, but God’s presence did not exempt him from the hard realities of living. David would spend his early years as the anointed king running from his previous mentor and current king Saul. Once David became king, it would take him years to consolidate his kingdom. David’s life was full of challenges with the women he loved, the children he had, and political enemies both within and without.
Out of these lived realities come many of the most moving psalms in the Bible.
Yet none of these ongoing challenges could separate David from the love of God. However, his own action nearly did. One day, when he should have been leading, he saw her. He called for her. He slept with her. He killed her husband to cover his own sin. It felt as if God had left him.
During this time he wrote, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”
There are certainly times in our life when we need to pray for the same.