Updated: Jan 30
I watched a cable news show back around the 4th of July weekend, were a reporter was sent out to ask ordinary people easy American history questions: (for example) Who fought the Revolutionary War?, Who was the general who led the colonial military?, What year was the Declaration of Independence signed?
Although the reporter said most of the presented video of the “On the Street” segment was that filming the stupidest responses, he added that overall most everyone did poorly answering the questions.
One question that I remember was, “Who was the king of England in 1776?”
One woman guessed, “King Tut?”
She then added, “I don’t know many kings.”
A young lady interviewed on the show, who incorrectly answered several basic history questions, said, “I hated history in school. It is so boring!”
Many people feel the same way.
Perhaps that is why there is the adage: “Those Who Do Not Learn From Learn History Are Doomed To Repeat It.”
The fact that history repeats is not in question, as babies are born, the mature, they pair up an have babies of their own … so life continues because of repetition.
However, if most people fail to remember the mistakes of life … if most people do not stay awake in history class and enjoy learning what mistakes history teaches …
then most people doom themselves (and those living with them) to repeat colossal mistakes … time and time again.
Over the course of history, we find nations and empires rising and falling, just as human beings are born, then grow in size and strength, only to have them grow old and weak, before an end comes.
Nations and empires are not immortal because they are run by mortals, regardless of how strong, influential, and driven are the leaders of nations and empires: presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, czars, sultans, pharaohs, emperors, queens … and kings.
We see today the first flaw of King David … the greatest King of Israel. David could not control his lusts, those which are so easily accommodated by being in such a position of power. King David was mortal.
David made the same mistake as did King Saul … who thought God blessed him by making him a god on earth, able to do whatever pleased him … like use the ark without God’s permission.
David’s mistake was a model of history for Solomon to follow … like father, like son … so, Solomon did as he pleased and when he died Israel and Judah split.
Things did not get better … because things did not change, based on knowing the mistakes of the past. History repeated, time and time again, until both Israel and Judah were dead.
History believes Saul began the Kingdom of Israel in 1020 BC. In 586 BC, the Babylonians put to death the last holdout of that original kingdom.
That means Israel lasted 434 years as king-ruled entity. History says that is about average, with some of the most ancient dynasties (those in India and the Near East) lasting as long as 1,100 years. More modern empires have lasted as little as 15-80 years.
The “Classical Greek Civilization” (ending with Alexander the Great) lasted 350 years. The “Roman Republic” (ending with the assassination of Julius Caesar) lasted 450 years. The British Empire (ending with its surrender of Palestine in 1949) lasted 346 years.
Our nation has lasted, until now, 239 years … so in “Great Nations years” (calculated like “Dog years”) we are about to turn 60.
The downhill slide has begun, with retirement age (65) coming in less than 25 calendar years (2040).
Just in case you think our nation’s Constitution could make us capable of having one of those “Thousand Year Dynasties” … The Israelites lasted 396 years under Moses, Joshua and Judges, before they asked for a king, “To be like other nations.” Saul, David and Solomon added 120 years to that total (516 years), and the split nations eked out another 344 years, in all (860 years total), before death.
BUT … that was based on a COVENANT with God, not a pact with “the people.”
Now I am boring you with all this history because the link between a reading telling of the sins of King David and two of Jesus’ greatest miracles – feeding the 5,000 and walking on water – comes when you hear read, “When Jesus realized that that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”
Jesus knew a human king was not what the people of Galilee and Judea needed.
“Been there. Done that.”
That history lesson again. Jesus was not doomed to repeat failure.
It all goes back to the first time, when the Israelites went to Samuel about having a king lead them, when God told Samuel, “I am their king.”
God was the king of Jesus. Jesus knew every one of the 5,000 adult Jewish males he just fed with miracle food needed to have the same king within their hearts … God.
The last thing the Jews needed was another human being getting swept up in all the hoopla … all the finery of possessions and all the luxuries of power … all the responsibility of being “god on earth,” so all the priests of God’s god could sweet-talk a man into forgiving others who know what it feels like to be a man … because that is what destroys kingdoms.
It wasn’t long ago that we were reading of the miracle of little David defeating the mighty giant, Goliath.
We read the lesson of how David saw in the history of Saul and Jonathan’s deaths, moving him to wrote the song with the repeated lyric, “How the mighty have fallen!” He had that song written into a “Lest they forget” book.
Now we see how “in the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle … David remained in Jerusalem.”
He remained to be a “peeping Tom,” to be an adulterer, and become one who to connived a way to not be caught as a sinner, by Uriah, whose wife David had made pregnant.
In the Gospel reading from John, we read how Jesus went from one miracle to another, where his going up the mountain, to avoid being made king, allowed him that ability.
Without speaking to the crowd, Jesus said, in essence, “As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.”
That is what Uriah said to King David, when King David told Uriah, basically, “Go on down to your house and be the king of that castle and enjoy all the comforts of home, while others do all the dirty work.”
Uriah refused gifts, beds, and companionship, just as Jesus refused the thought of turning his focus on God to that of focus on the people … which always, in turn, becomes a focus of self.
Did you know the name Uriah means, “Light of the Lord.”
We recognize Jesus as the Light of the World. He said that, adding, “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
The Light of Jesus is the LORD, which shines through him, so we may see and not walk in darkness.
When Uriah said, “As you live, AND as your soul lives,” he spoke of the Holy Spirit of the LORD, which lit his path, which had lit David’s path, and which would light Jesus’ path, so that our paths could also be lit by the Holy Spirit.
We all have life. We all have blood pumping through our veins and oxygen filling our lungs. Our brains do not consciously focus on those bodily functions of life. God made our brains so God could function subconsciously – instinctively and naturally – because God gives us life.
Still, our souls have life when we consciously submit our will to serve the LORD. Our soul lives when we bring God into our hearts and let God not only lead our functions of life, but also lead our actions of life.
You see, David was instinctively aroused by watching the women of Jerusalem disrobe and bathe themselves in the purification pool that was conveniently visible from the rooftop of his palace.
It was spring time, when new life is astir – with the birds and bees and lesser animals all instinctively led to mate. Man, after all, is still an animal.
That is the battle kings go out to do in the spring … especially a king like David, who had said to Michal (his wife) after dancing half-naked before the procession of the ark, “I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.” The “battle” was staying faithful to God in his mind, and not bowing before the instincts of his primal nature.
Paul wrote to the Christians of Ephesus, saying, “I bow my knees before the Father. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit.”
“As you live, AND as your soul lives” means inner strength through the Holy Spirit, which is prayerfully sought and not a natural birthright, but a gift received from God, which is what Paul knew.
Paul then continued to state how his prayers were, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are rooted and grounded in love.” Through the love of God in your hearts, with the Christ mind ruling your conscious thoughts, you become fixed and constant in your devotion to God, so much so that selfish, instinctual and biological desires can be discerned from true actions that are based on love. One’s conscious actions are rooted in love … not lusts.
“As you live, AND as your soul lives, you will not do anything that God does not approve of.”
Paul then continued to add, “I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” This means the mind of Christ is the mind of God in the brain of a human, through the Holy Spirit.
You cannot forget the history lessons of life, when Jesus is wide-awake in your understanding center, giving you all the correct answers to the most difficult questions life has to offer.
Uriah had the power to comprehend. He knew how, “The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field.” Uriah comprehended all that while he saw David in his home, offering the luxury of a king to a commoner.
Regardless of whether or not Uriah comprehended what David had done with his wife, he comprehended that what David offered to him was a trap … a test … a temptation that only a saint would reject. That’s all Uriah needed to know.
The comprehension of Uriah was so saintly that he held in his hand his own death sentence, as he went back to join with Joab and his fellow soldiers. Yet, he was not even tempted to read the note. He faithfully went to his death … just as Jesus would do centuries later … just like a sacrificial lamb.
Both Uriah and Jesus served the same King, whose kingdom has not once failed … and never will.
David had served that King, but he fell prey to basic human urges and worldly temptations, those readily available to men of means.
God spoke to David about this, as we read in his Psalm 14:
“The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
“All are corrupt and commit abominable acts;
“there is none who does any good.”
There is only one heart each person knows. No one by God knows the heart of more than one mortal human. Therefore, there is only one citizen in the kingdom of self. The throne of God resides in every heart, but only fools force God the King from taking His seat, because it seems like too much work keeping one’s heart clean enough for God to remain present.
Everyone loves to be like King David … Master of One’s Own Domain.
The temptation is to be “king for a day” … as Satan told Jesus in the wilderness:
“The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”” (Matthew 4:8-9)
But, it is better to reject that role and ascend to a higher place, where it is just you and God.
Where you can live AND where your soul can live in honor of the only true King.
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