2 Samuel 23:1-7: David’s Last Words
In death all our masks are stripped away. Any appearances of power are taken away as we impotently die; all apparent beauty disappears in rot; our deathbed tends to bring out of our hearts what we have been putting into it our whole lives and we are revealed. Some die full of fear and terror; others self-deceived think they have nothing to fear; but many a Christian has died what was called a good death. We don’t hear much about these anymore. In part this is because we die in old age homes away from family and friends, but also because of the medications we are on so that we die with ‘dignity.’ I do not grudge anyone pain relief, but we must not so drug ourselves in the face of death, the most important moment in our lives when we are about to go into our eternal destinies, that we are not in our right minds. I will always remember the example of Martin Holdt who opted out of morphine in order to be in his right mind to speak without hindrance to God and his family.
What are the last words you are going to speak before you die, what final statement will you prepare when you go? Some of Luther’s last words were, ‘We are beggars, this is true.’ This tells us about his view of man and his need of grace. Well today we come to David’s last words. There is another record of his last words to Solomon, but think of these as the final prepared formal statement that David makes, one he wanted to be recorded and reported by others. These are attached to David’s life song of 2 Sam. 22, and are a fitting final statement.
In this final statement David portrays himself as a receiver, a recipient of grace, inspiration and faithfulness. Remember that these words would have been spoken at a farily turbulent time in Israel’s history. We will learn in our studies of Solomon that Adonijah attempted to move in on the throne and Solomon had to be rushed into position as king. David the great king is dying, what will become of Israel, what will become of the promises, who will rule, what does the future hold. David’s final words are pastoral as they would have inspired the nation with the faith that gave him great confidence in the face of death.