1 Chronicles 11:1-3 (Part 2) – Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming!

Posted: February 20, 2020 in 99-Uncategorized

1 Chronicles 11:1-3 (Part 2 of 2)

David Anointed King

When I read today’s passage, I was reminded of David’s struggles throughout 1 Samuel as he was waiting to be king. He was so faithful to King Saul. Even when he had chances to eliminate Saul when he was defenseless, David did not do it. He did not because God had not given him any indication that eliminating Saul was the appropriate thing to do. So, for 20 years, he either served Saul directly or was a rebel on the run being sought by the king and his forces. It must’ve been tough for David to serve and serve and serve and wonder how long it would take to achieve the dream that God was to give him. Since the Bible is glimpses of history just as any history book, we do not see every minute of every day during these 20 years. We only see the important events of the time period that is the subject of a passage, chapter or book. Thus, I bet that David had some bad days. Even a few of those were recorded during his 20 year struggle. But I bet there were others where he was just like any of us – he probably had pity parties, where he was depressed and whiny about why all this was happening to him. If he breathed breaths of life, David was like us. So, I am certain that there were unrecorded bad days he had with being the anointed king, but he was not the king, but yet he was being pursued like a dog because he was to be the next king. I think I would have some bad days with that! Wouldn’t you?

Even after David became the anointed king of Israel, which was God’s plan, he did not arrive in a heavenly place where all things we lollipops and lifesavers and they all sat around the campfire holding hands and singing songs. David had mighty struggles after he became king. Many of the documented struggles were rooted in his own sinful actions but others were struggles caused by the sins of others. His kingship was just like any of our lives, full of struggles, but yet occasional highlights that made it all worth it. David knew he was in the office that God wanted him to be in as king. So, even when the struggles came (and again some of them were of his own causing), he never quit being king. He sought God fervently and sometimes repentantly when his sins caused the problems. He always kept plugging away. He remained faithful to God throughout his reign as king. Sometimes, I am sure it was a struggle to see that God had him in the office that God wanted him in. I am sure there were days when he just wanted to walk away. But he kept doing as Dory from “Finding Nemo” would say, “just keep swimming, just keeping swimming, just keep swimming.”

David’s struggles before and after becoming king are instructional for us as believers. I know that it is instructional for me. God called me to the ministry as early as 2010/11. Yet, there was seminary from 2011-2014 which provided its own struggles of juggling a full-time secular job as a divisional chief financial director, heavy involvement in leadership at my home church (LifeSong Church, Lyman, SC) and taking a full course load. Then, after graduation, there was the waiting for a full-time position in ministry. It was comparable to David being on the run – he knew he was called to be king but he was on the run and waiting. Then, the first job came in early, early 2018 in Illinois. There were struggles there with the finance director/staff pastor position actual duties vs. the vision I had for the position but there were also great lessons learned about ministering to people in the church regardless of what your official job title is. Then, in mid-2019, it was to here in Lamar.

Here, is where the calling has come to full fruition. I felt and still feel that this is what God called me to, to be a full-time pastor. So, in my mind, everything’s gonna be hunky-dory from here on out, right. We are all going to sit around the campfire and sing campfire songs. But, that’s just not the reality of church, regardless of size, location, etc. As long as congregants are people and preachers are people, there will be struggles. Here, there have been struggles without a doubt. And they each have been discouraging in their own way to me. However, my brother, who has been a pastor since he came out of seminary 30-something years ago, told me so wry advice. He said you are going to have at least three crises per year in church. That’s just the way it is. Some are small. Some are significant. But there’s gonna be at least three a year. It’s how you manage them and respond to them that is the thing. You can’t avoid having conflict as a pastor, it’s just the way it is. It’s all in how you respond. He reminded me of the advice that our dad, a pastor for 55 years, used to give his mentees (the South Carolina United Methodist Church pairs experienced pastors with groups of newer pastors in a mentorship program). That advice was “Don’t quit til next Wednesday!” It was one of those things like “free soft drinks tomorrow” signs that you see at restaurants. Tomorrow never comes. Next Wednesday never comes because when you get to it, it is this Wednesday.

Thus, whatever struggles come in my calling as a pastor and as the pastor of this church, specifically, does not mean that the perception of the calling was wrong or that the calling has soured. It just means that there’s struggle in life. It’s a given. Thus, in the struggles, you learn what you can learn for the future and then throw away any of the stuff that is not in line with having a deeper relationship with God. You keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.

That’s what I thought of this morning as I read through 1 Chronicles 11:1-3 about the anointing of David as King. After a long struggle in which he was faithful to God, he was finally king. Let’s read this passage with that idea in mind:

Chapter 11

1 Then all Israel gathered together to David at Hebron and said, “See, we are your bone and flesh. 2 For some time now, even while Saul was king, it was you who commanded the army of Israel. The Lord your God said to you: It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over my people Israel.” 3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord. And they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the Lord by Samuel.

In this passage, we see that when David was finally anointed king over all Israel, more than 20 years had passed since Samuel had anointed him (see 1 Samuel 16:1-13). God’s promises are worth waiting for, even when his timetable doesn’t match our expectations. Further, even when He fulfills His promises to us, it does not mean that you will not have conflict and strife. When God plants us in his fulfilled promises, we must understand that there will be struggles even then and we must not see it as that maybe we were wrong about the promise being fulfilled or that the promise has soured somehow. We must be patient for God to fulfill his promises and we must be faithful and keep plugging away even when things don’t seem to be going our way.

Help me, Lord, to continue plugging away at your calling on my life. Help me to see struggle as simply part of the ball game and not be shocked by it. Help me to learn from struggle. Help me to implement any lessons learned for the future. Help me to remain faithful to you in the mountaintop experiences that will come as well and help me to be faithful in the valleys of struggle. Help me to keep swimming, just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.

Amen and Amen.

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