How David Dealt with Loneliness.
Before we go on, I feel we need to consider a "Secret that's not a Secret!" Let's go to David's history before he was a shepherd boy, even his birth story. Everyone has one of these and most of us are excited about our birth stories. Where were we born? What were the circumstances of our birth? Like did my mother make it to the hospital, how close was I to being born in the car? Etc.
With David's birth story, we are actually considering some "skeletons in the closet" so to speak!
Now, David is such a hero and revered person it pains me to be the one to tell you this. But it clarifies a lot of things! And it also goes along with God's way of choosing the right people for his purposes. That is he doesn't chose the people we humans would chose, but he chooses people who love Him and live lives of obedience to him, regardless of what kind of birth story they might have.
David himself lets us in on his own birth story. It's all recorded by him in his own journals called the Psalms. For him it was an embarrassing story that lead to rejection, sorrow, pain and loneliness. So for that reason it's kind of spread out in the Psalms and refereed to in different places, we have to just fill in the dots.
Let's go back to the that important event when Samuel was coming to Bethlehem and Jesse's house to anoint God's chosen one to be the next king.
In 1 Sam. 16:1-13 we have the whole story. In verse 4, Samuel arrives and speaks to the elders of Bethlehem. These are the men who sit at the gate of the city, doing justice, settling disputes, etc. But when they saw it was the revered prophet Samuel coming, they were frightened and trembled at his coming. "Do you come in peace?" they asked. They were worried someone had done something bad and that he had come to judge them for some sin they had done.
Well, it was not about that, but the prophet did invited them all to join him at a sacrifice he was going to have with Jesse and his sons at Jessie's house. So just to be clear, the folk who were to attend this event were only the town elders and Jesse with his seven sons. There was no mention of David at all. Obviously, he was not invited. My question is why? Why was he not invited?
When preachers preach, the answer is because he was the youngest. Well, that is true, he was the youngest but there was another over-riding reason.
Let's explore this over-riding reason and look at our first journal entry, Psalm 51:5 here David is repenting of his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and writes this...
"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me." (NKJV)
What is he saying? We have to take the verse simply as it reads, meaning his own mother conceived him in an act of sin just like what he'd had with Bathsheba. His mother had also committed adultery with none other than Jesse his father and David himself had been the result!
So now we have a new understanding of David's situation. These seven brothers were actually his "half brothers"! So when the prophet asked for Jesse's sons to be there, they would not have included David since apparently everyone knew he was not a true son of Jesse.
Now lets look at Psalm 69:8 where David writes this: "I have become a stranger to my brothers, And an alien to my mother’s children;" (NKJV)
Meaning he was estranged from Jesse's seven sons and also from his mother's other children. So both sides had rejected him.
What do we make of this? We have to think that his mother was either a prostitute with other children or the wife of another man with other children. In either case both the additional children rejected David and in the second option, the husband also rejected David.
In the end it was only Jesse left who was "forced" then to raise David his illegitimate son.
This then also explains why his "half brothers" treated him with such disrespect and anger in every aspect of family life. They hated him. That's why all this bullying going on, forcing him to be the guy doing the worst job in that society, being a shepherd. That's also why his half brothers were so rough and angry with him when David brought them food from home as they were serving in Saul's army just before David killed Goliath.
Now it also becomes clear that this birth story had become public knowledge, with disastrous results. Again David records this in Psalm 69:10-12 .
10 When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting,
That became my reproach.
11 I also made sackcloth my garment;
I became a by-word to them.
12 Those who sit in the gate speak against me,
And I am the song of the drunkards." (NKJV)
Remember ... "Those who sit in the gate" These were the elders who came to the anointing and knew the whole story. They also did not suggest David should be there! Plus they talk about his birth story in public putting him down as a product of sin. Then he comments how even the drunkards make up drunken mocking songs about him! Whoever knew about story was making fun of him!
Notice in verse 10 how he wept and fasted. Sick to his stomach with shame and rejection and loneliness.
No one cared that he was an innocent by-product of his mother's and Jessie's adultery. It was not his sin nor his fault!
I'm sorry to have to be the one to share this aspect of David's life and history. But, now we can all better understand the depth of his estrangement not only from his family but also from the local people, his own community. I cannot even imagine what that might have felt like for him. No wonder he was more comfortable staying with the sheep than with any human company both in his home and his town.
No one can live like that for long and survive.
Next time we will go on to happier matters, and look at how he dealt with his extreme loneliness.
that walks into your life
when the world has walked out.”
― Shannon l. Alder
By Dean Smith.
Smith holds a bachelor’s degree from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif.; a Master of Divinity from Western Seminary in Portland, Ore.; and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. Smith has ministered for 30 years and presently serves as an adjunct professor in pastoral ministry and spiritual formation at Western Seminary in the Bay Area. In addition, Smith serves as president of Highway Media, a non-profit company dedicated to helping the church tell stories, start conversations about the Gospel and seek truth.