Maria Roemhildt, Small Groups
In today’s readings, we reach the end of King David’s earthly life. David had been a faithful shepherd, skilled musician, military hero, loving father, and protector of his country. In his last words David describes himself as “anointed and exalted by the Most High, Israel’s songwriter, and spokesman of God.”
David didn’t write his songs (aka Psalms) from some lofty penthouse office protected from the realities of life, but as one who was greatly gifted and yet had deep challenges, pain and loss. In Psalms 4, 5, 6 & 11 David seeks refuge and relief, pleading to God, “How long?” “Answer me when I call,” “Listen to my cry for help.” Even this super-strong biblical hero grew weary of waiting, pain and illness, personal loss, betrayal, hiding in caves, and fleeing from enemies. Yet he never stopped pouring out his heart to God, praising God through song, giving thanks, telling the great things God had done, and seeking strength and refuge through God.
With his last words, David recounts God’s presence in his life and provides direction and encouragement to Solomon, his successor. David lovingly describes Godly leadership: “One who rules in the fear of the LORD and righteousness is like light of the morning at sunrise…like brightness after rain that brings life from the earth.”
I think of the light breaking through the clouds after a good Midwestern thunderstorm–a really big one, with towering cloud formations building throughout the day, where the force of the wall cloud blowing through and the sudden drop in temperature sent us taking shelter before amazing lightning strikes lit the entire sky and torrents of rain followed. During serious storms, darkness would overtake the afternoon and after the storm had passed we would emerge to survey the effects of the winds and rain. Amidst parting clouds and dripping water, the sun would emerge with a piercing brightness in which everything seemed fresher, greener and more alive. It was Light in the darkness– God’s image for leadership, whether from thrones, work offices, or mundane areas of our lives.
“The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble…for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you” Psalm 9:9-10.