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2023 Lenten Preaching Series 4: To Be Better Creatures in a World Severely Challenged

Sometimes the Bible seems very complicated even for those who have studied it. But even after all these years, we continue to proclaim it and listen to it and try and take into ourselves the eternal messages it offers us.

This week we may ask:

· Why do the Books of Samuel describe so many political rivalries, the failure of a king, the accession of his successor?

· Why does it look at the same reality from so many different and sometimes contradictory angles?

· Where is the Word of God amid all this?

One of the answers to these questions is that the biblical authors re-read the history of their people while looking for God’s presence in it. In this re-reading, they wanted to understand how God, despite appearances, was guiding his people or, conversely, how he was not behind this or that human project, for which only hardened hearts and deafness to the divine call were responsible.

A re-reading of history in faith allowed them to understand some events differently. The transition from tribal life to the monarchy occupies an important place in this story, with mixed views on the monarchy. This is where King David comes to the fore.

The Books of Samuel want to stress that David became king by the will of God. The ultimate explanation of his success is not his political or military skill. Rumors had circulated that perhaps he came to power by shedding innocent blood or by ruthlessness. These texts give the lie to such statements. David has not usurped the crown; it was given to him. The text tells us:

Not as man sees does God see,

because man sees the appearance

but the LORD looks into the heart.

David was a shepherd of sheep, but because of his good heart, David was chosen by God to be king. He was anointed king by the prophet Samuel in place of King Saul, who no longer obeyed God. But David did not become king until many years later when Saul died.

David was chosen because of his good heart. How is your heart? What lies underneath all that we can see about you? About one another?