The Last Word of David

2 Samuel 23:1-7

These are the last words of David:

‘The inspired utterance of David son of Jesse,
    the utterance of the man exalted by the Most High,
the man anointed by the God of Jacob,
    the hero of Israel’s songs:

‘The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me;
    his word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke,
    the Rock of Israel said to me:
“When one rules over people in righteousness,
    when he rules in the fear of God,
he is like the light of morning at sunrise
    on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain
    that brings grass from the earth.”

‘If my house were not right with God,
    surely he would not have made with me an everlasting covenant,
    arranged and secured in every part;
surely he would not bring to fruition my salvation
    and grant me my every desire.
But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns,
    which are not gathered with the hand.
Whoever touches thorns
    uses a tool of iron or the shaft of a spear;
    they are burned up where they lie.’

I have never really pondered these ‘last words of King David’. They are chosen for today – this last day of the year in church timing. That makes sense. Famous last words for the last day.

There are other ‘last words of David that tell his son, Solomon, about ow to rule, words to those who will guide the young Solomon. They are a call to Solomon and the ruling elite to build the temple as agreed etc.

But these words seem to be the ‘last, last words of David’. They are words about what David’s life and work has all been about; what’s been most important.

They are like last words spoken here at funerals, as friends, family and church speak about a person who has reached the completion of their life in Jesus, except, of course, it is not the person speaking!

They are last words you may have been blessed to hear from someone loved as they ‘fell asleep’ in the Lord.

They are last words of a very important person, like Bert Newton to the entertainment community, or Russell Ebert to the SA footy community.

Whatever the case, these famous last words of the greatest king the nation ever knew show a special thing. The first words in these last words are about God’s word.

There are actually other ‘last words of King David scattered through 1st and 2nd Kings and Chronicles: about ten of them! (1 Kings 2:2-4; 1 Kings 2:5-9; 1 Chronicles 22:7-16; 1 Chronicles 22:17-19; 1 Chronicles 23:27; 1 Chronicles 28:2-10; 1 Chronicles 28:20-12; 1 Chronicles 29:1-5; and 1 Chronicles 29:10-19).

‘The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me;
    his word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke,
    the Rock of Israel said to me …

“Spirit, speaking, solid rock” …  God’s Word in me, through me, for me and for those around me.

THE most important, most foundational, most shaping thing of our lives in the end is not our words but God’s words being spoken in us ad through us.

Is that what the little line between your birth date and date of death types on the front cover of your funeral service order or head stone contains if you are a citizen of the King of king’s kingdom –

Born – “God spoke” – died?

We don’t often hear that kind of word in last words. What seems most important so often is our words about our life; our achievements, our status, our good deeds, our hard work, our contribution to a cause or the family or the community – all good things, no doubt, but we don’t hear that the most important things about my life or his life or her life is that God spoke to people through the person.

In the billions of words we hear in the world, with all of its beliefs and ideas we never hear that God’s word is the cause and goal of life.

It is either humans or the environment or winning the game or making the money or achieving the name or the look or the feeling a certain way that is raised up as THE thing – or on the other hand, none of them is the spoken because there is no ‘thing’ and nothing is important or true or solid or needed …

David says that if your house is not right with God; secured and arranged in him, then you will like a maze of thorny weed growth in your garden that eventually gets baked brittle by the sun and comes to nothing.

But, now and again I have heard last words spoken about God’s word as THE thing that life is all about …

One day, in a hospital room with a pastor of God’s people coming to his end, I took the opportunity to ask the man what his four decades serving God’s people in various locations was really all about, or what was the most important thing about his calling as a pastor – the things he was most proud of and thankful for. The old Pastor said something similar to David. “I gave them the gospel”.

Just like last words from a person you love that you got to hear, these words are now seared into my heart. My most important task, goal, purpose… is to give other people the gospel.

When my time here is finished, I would be chuffed to hear that the main thing about me, love it or hate it, is that “God spoke his Word through him”.

As for wealth to pass on to the kids, or the preservation of family traditions or heirlooms of varying sort, or my being remembered in a statue or on an honour board or whatever else, these are not mentioned by David, or my old pastor.

‘The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me;
    his word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke,
    the Rock of Israel said to me …

And this Rock of Israel, the Lord, continued to speak, even more powerfully and fully through ‘The Son of David’, Jesus.

He is the living, breathing, human and divine Word in the flesh, on the cross, out of the tomb, now gathering, calling and lighting up dark human minds right here on this ground. We are here because he is still speaking his good news.

As we heard from Jesus last week, every stone of our human achievements will eventually be rubble, but the word of the Lord will stand forever (Mark 13:8).

As Bishop David proclaimed last week, whatever we do with this life, this mission, this building and all the other resources God gives us from his treasure chest of gifts, use them for the gospel, use them for the speaking and hearing of the Word – particularly to people ‘out there’ more than ‘in here’.

And what if we do? What if we who are also ‘anointed by the God of Jacob’, as David knew he was, speak the Spirit’s words with our very lives, day in day out through all the time we are allowed to rule with Jesus our King until he brings us all to the Last Day – the Day of completion; the day when all things are fulfilled in him?

‘The Spirit of the Lord spoke through us;
    his word was on our tongues.
3 The God of Israel spoke,
    the Rock of Israel said things to us …

“When you ruled people with Jesus, the Son of David,

in his grace and truth (righteousness),
with all honour and respect for Me,
you were the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain

that brings grass from the earth, for many”.

May we speak God’s famous words with every word until the last word.