At Gateway Church in Austin, Carlos Ortiz shared week two in a four part series Fast and Furious: Overcoming Anger and Impatience.
How many times have you wanted something and wanted it NOW? Impatience and anger are often just under the surface waiting for us to explode. But we don’t have to submit to that negative pressure. Through the power of God, we can develop the character to tame our Fast and Furious impulses.
Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
So we are in week 2 of our Fast and Furious series. We want to spend a few weeks taking a look at I and II Samuel, and highlight a few characters who gave us a few examples (some good/some not so good) of how to deal with anger and impatience.
Last week we dealt with the nation of Israel and how their impatience led to their first kingd, Saul, and how Saul struggled with rage and fear. His demise and dethroning by God, through the prophet Samuel, led to a new king being chosen, and that person is the character study we have for today. David was the second king of Israel, and as we talked about a few months ago, He has the distinction of being called the one after God’s own heart.
So before we get to the secret of David’s success let’s lay out some context for David. First let’s look at the scope of his characteristics:
- David was raised to be a shepherd (herd, care for, lead other shepherds)
- Youngest in his family (horrible pecking order for that time and place)
- Musician (played the harp, and was good enough to be hired to play in the king’s court)
- Good reputation
- Brave (fought bears, fought a giant)
- Well spoken
- Good looking (that doesn’t really matter, but the Bible chose to point it out)
- Favor from God
- Passionate Humility
I Samuel 16:17 – 18 – 17 So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.” 18 One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.”
Now let’s look at the stages of his life leading up to him being king
- Ignored by his father
- Set apart by the prophet
- Hero to a nation (on multiple occasions)
- Served the king in battle, and by being a calming figure
- Loved by the king’s family (Jonathan and Michal)
- Hunted down by his father in law
- Lived in enemy territory for years
- Literally had to fight for his life
- Taking over a throne that was in shambles
I Samuel 18:18-19 – But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my family or my clan in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?”
So here we have a man so full of talent and the promise of a bright future, and yet the reality of his life was nowhere how he must have imagined it. So how does this kid, who is growing into adulthood and facing his twenties, find the wherewithal to be righteous…to be found in line with God’s heart?
1. Grew with adversity
- David’s predecessor shrunk bank with adversity, he lost sight of who he was and what God had called him to be.
- BUT David…David became more in many ways:
- MORE resilient
- MORE favor with those closest to him
- MORE reliant on God (we don’t have many of the chapters in the book of Psalms without this fact)
- MORE in patience
- MORE of a family man
II Samuel 3:1 – The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.
“Nobody wants to show you the hours and hours of becoming. They’d rather show the highlight of what they’ve become.” – Angela Duckworth, Grit
2. Unashamed of his God
On multiple occasions David stood up for his faith. It was what propelled him to face the giant, Goliath, and it was his praise before God where he danced recklessly in front of his entire kingdom. His wife was embarrassed and told him he was not acting distinguished…and this is where we pick up in chapter 6.
II Samuel 6:21-22 – 21 David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.
For all of the talent, and all of the outward gifts David had, he found his source of strength in God.
3. Revenge was never an option
I Samuel 24 and 26 there are two stories of David being chased by King Saul, and he has two opportunities to take revenge, and maybe for good reason. We’ll focus on chapter 24 for a few minutes.
In a scene right out of a movie…David and his men of valor were hiding in a cave. Saul was in search of David and wanted to kill him. When low and behold, he enters the very same cave to relieve himself (for those of you who do not know what that means…he went into the cave to go to the restroom).
So now Saul is in a vulnerable state, and David cut off a space piece of his robe. His men wanted him to take revenge, but instead he rebuked his men (in the middle of his own battle he was still trying to set a standard for others).
Once Saul walked out of the cave, David followed him and the following dialogue ensued:
I Samuel 24:11-13 – 11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. 12 May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.
I Samuel 24:16 -19 – Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the Lord delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today.
My own father used to tell me, “son I’m doing what I do so that you will be better than me.” AND here we have Saul admitting that his son (in-law) has surpassed him in character.
So far this guy seems upstanding, as though nothing fazes him. But like any man, or any person, when we begin to let our guard down, when power gets to our head, believe our own hype, when other people are carrying the burden, we cast off restraint, and we find ourselves in unenviable positions.
As the story goes in II Samuel 11 – it was the time when Kings went to war, and instead of hitting his normal routine, he sent his right hand man to lead the effort. With idle time on his hands he found himself desiring the wife of another man. Instead of taking his thoughts captive and living out what is right…he took steps to take what was not his to own.
He pursued Bathsheba, wife of Uriah, and in time she found herself pregnant with David’s child. In a stereotypical cover up, he sent for Uriah to return from war so that he could be with his wife, and hopefully cover up his mistake. Instead, Uriah returned home but chose not to spend it with his wife because his soldiers couldn’t be with theirs. David then tried to get him drunk to get him to let down his guard and return home, but that plan didn’t work either. So, David orchestrated for Uriah to go back to the front lines, and he put gave him orders that would put him in a vulnerable position. In fact, the letter he wrote with his orders for Uriah’s new position, he sent to his right hand person (Joab) with Uriah.
Word returned that some of David’s own men, and Uriah had died, and his response was in II Samuel 11:“Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.”
How far had David fallen that he sent a man’s order to die, with the man himself? How calloused was David, that his sin would cause the death life of another man? How could he save the life of a man who wanted to kill him, and yet kill a man who was wanting to serve him?
The character traits David carried, were now exemplified in the life of Uriah.
Enter Nathan, a prophet that God had sent to David, and he tells David a quick story about a rich man and a poor man, and the rich man’s decision to not sacrifice his own animals to make a meal, and instead stole the only lamb the poor man had to make the meal.
When David heard the story he is filled with ANGER and wants to justice to be served. He wants the rich man to die, and for the poor man to be repaid four times over because he was not extended any pity.
Nathan then drops the bomb.
II Samuel 12:7-9 – 7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?
Can you imagine what David felt when he realized the double standard he allowed himself to live? He had become a walking contradiction, when he used to be focused and paying the price to do what is right.
David repented, owned his sin, acknowledged his evil ways, but soon after the child he and Bathsheba had, fell ill. David returned to his original disposition, he was broken, he wouldn’t eat, he cried out to the Lord. The secret to David’s success, even when he was found out to be doing wrong, was that he was…