If any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them.
Before I left on vacation, I’d planned to preach a series of sermons on King David. In case you missed it, we’ve been reading from the First and Second Books of Samuel from the first of June until now, and will continue to right up until mid August, a full eleven Sundays spending time with the prohet Samuel and King Saul and King David.
To refresh your memory, we began June 1st with the calling of the Samuel, and two Sundays later we met up with Samuel anointing David, just a boy, as the Lord’s chosen. The following Sunday, King Saul sent that same shepherd boy into battle against Goliath, as the story goes, a giant defeated by a child. We skipped over the Witch of Endor sending Saul into battle to face his deadly end but landed in his wake last Sunday to hear David mourning his death on his own way to the throne. And today we meet up with David in our first lesson: a thirty-year-old king, leaning into greater and greater, reigning from Jerusalem, now called the City of David.
In the words of Robert Alter, “The story of David is probably the greatest single narrative [from] antiquity of a human life evolving by slow stages through time, shaped and altered by the pressures of political life, public institutions, family, the impulses of body and spirit, the eventual sad decay of the flesh. [It] provides the most unflinching insight into the cruel processes of history and into human behavior warped by the pursuit of power.” 
Human life warped by power is an old story. No matter how strong or weak you are, the stories of Samuel and Saul and David ask you to examine what you’re up to in your own use of power. They are stories about what happens to us when we spend our lives pursuing power, making enemies, exploiting the helpless. While their temptations – the temptations of great men – may not be ours, we have our own way of making enemies and turning our backs on those who need us. All of this to say, while I planned to preach about David today, and will do in the coming weeks, today Jesus got in the way of my plans. And not for the first time. Somehow today’s gospel wove its way into the whole subject of power in an unexpected way. Read more