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The Real King David

Best-selling author Mark Rutland shares the the complicated and conflicted story of the man after God’s own heart. Read Transcript


(upbeat piano music)

- [Announcer] New YorkTimes best-selling author,

pastor, speaker, andformer college president,

Dr. Mark Rutland, believes that it's time

to tell the whole story of King David,

not just the Sunday school version.

- So, this guy points hisfinger in the king's face,

and says, "You're the man!

"I denounce you!

"Adultery and murder!"

And David shocks the whole nation.

David says, "You're right, I did it."

God give us leaders that are able to say,

"All right, I did it."

(audience applauding)

- [Announcer] In his newbook, David the Great,

Dr. Rutland peels backthe controversial layers

of King David's life and shares the key

that made him a man after God's own heart.

- Dr. Mark Rutland joins us now.

David the Great, that is howmost of us think of David.

We've heard the stories of his valor

and his courage so many times

that, when we actually contemplate

some of the choices hemade later in his life,

it's hard to put those things together.

- David is one of the mostcomplicated human beings

in Scripture, but he is acomplex, multifaceted genius,

in seemingly mutually exclusive genres.

- [Terry] Yes. (laughs)

- Because he's a genius, really.

It's hard to say, buthe's a genius at killing.

- Yeah.- I did a research one time

on all of the people that had been killed,

either by David personally orthrough his extended agencies.

- Mm-hmm.- And, when I got

into the tens of thousands,I just dropped it.

- Yeah.- Then, he turns right around,

and he writes poetrythat is still being read

and loved, 3,000 years later.- Yeah.

- He was a businessman, he wasa CEO, he was a politician,

he was a general, and he wasexcellent, in all those fields.

- [Terry] Mm-hmm.

- And still deeply, deeplyflawed, in many ways as well.

- Mark, why is it important for us

to look at thedeeply-flawed side of David?

- Well, it's importantfor a couple of reasons.

That's a really good question.

One is, reality is better than image.

- [Terry] Yeah.

- It's just importantfor us to know the truth.

The Bible is not squeamish about it.

And it's religiosity, theSunday school sanitization

of David that's made us squeamish

about it, but the Bible is straight out.

- Yeah.

- The second reason is, ifwe don't look at the flaws

of David and the failures of David,

we don't really have any reason to look

at the immeasurable grace of God.

- Yeah, that's really what it shows.

In the piece that we justaired, we saw you speaking,

and you talked about the confrontation

of David, or to David, by the prophet.

How did David respond to that?

- Yeah, and we forget, David,

this is not a republic.- Yeah.

- David is really an Oriental emperor.

- [Terry] The head honcho, yeah. (laughs)

- All he has to do is snap his fingers,

and somebody would takethat prophet's head off.

He makes this denunciation in public.

- [Terry] Mm-hmm.

- Probably, it would've been Joab.

Joab is David's kinsman,and he's his top hitman.

When I lectured in universities,

I used to tell the kids,"If David was Wyatt Earp,

"then Joab was Doc Holliday."

- (laughs) Yeah.- This guy would

bust a cap in you for a quarter,

and there was no reason thathe would hesitate to kill him.

And David says, "I did it."

- Yeah.- He confesses the whole thing

and repents, and Nathan tellshim the baby's gonna die.

- Yeah.- So, Uriah is dead,

the husband of Bathsheba.

The baby dies.

Whenever we sin--- Yes.

- Nobody sins in a vacuum.

- Yeah.

- We unleash some level of destruction.

- And no choice is madewithout a consequence.

- There's consequence to it.- Yeah.

- And David's consequences are serious.

By the way, everybody knows the story

of David and Bathsheba,

but that's not David'smost destructive sin.

His most destructive sin is a census.

He is forbidden to take this census.

He does it anyway, and, as a punishment,

God unleashes a plague on Egypt.

Two people died, becauseof his sin with Bathsheba.

Because of the census,

70,000 died.- Wow.

- 70,000.

But, then, here's David at his worst,

here's David at his best.

He appears before God and he says,

"These people haven'tdone anything, kill me."

- [Terry] Yeah.

- And God tells him to goand buy the threshing floor

of Ornan, you remember?- Mm-hmm.

- He buys that threshing floor,

sacrifices, and God lifts the plague.

But that's not even the end of the story.

When Solomon builds thetemple, where does he build it?

The threshing floor of Ornan

becomes the altar of sacrifice.

So, from death and destruction and sin,

to grace and redemption and worship.

- There's always so much symbolin what God does, you know.

And he leaves a symbol.

In how many places were altars built,

where things happened, whereGod and his person, collided?

Talk a little bit aboutDavid when he was younger.

You know, there was sucha strain, in his life.

Here's an anointing given to him,

a calling forth of whathe's gonna be in the future,

and it doesn't happen,and it doesn't happen.

And it's not just waiting.

He's hunted down, during this time,

and yet he hangs on to that.

There's a tenacity in his character

that we can also learn from.

- Yes, that's the wonderfully admirable

period of David's life,

or one of the wonderfullyadmirable periods.

David receives this anointing,at the hands of Samuel.

- Yes.- When he is a mere lad.

- Yeah.- Just a, just a wee boy.

And one could make the case

that God stole David's childhood.

- [Terry] Yeah.

- He's the quintessential childhood star.

He has this anointing,then the death of Goliath.

And David because aninternational celebrity,

loved or hated by people,not only in his own country,

but remember in Philistia,and the Amorites

and the Ammonites, they'reall afraid of David.

And, then, it looks like the path

to the throne is open before him.

He marries Saul's daughter.

It looks like it's rightthere, then it's all gone.

And now he's alone in the wilderness.

He has nothing, no one.

His parents have to goand hide out in Moab.

They're not even allowedto stay in Bethlehem,

because the cops are casing his house.

So, they go to Moab and hang out,

and David is alone in the Cave of Adullam.

Then, for not just monthsor years, decades--

- [Terry] Yeah.

- That dream, that wordfrom God hangs out there,

and David seems to bemoving further and further

and further away from it,

until it's accomplished.- Yeah.

So, in his story, there'sthis tremendous lesson

on waiting for God's timing.

And then, later on, as he makes some

of these poor choices wewere talking about earlier,

and sins against the God of his fathers,

the God who had called himto the role he called him to,

there's such hope.

Because, in people's livesmany times, you know, we think,

"Oh, I've failed God,"or "I've done this," or,

it's a, you know, one of the sins

that people just are shocked by,

and we think we're done, butthere's always hope in God.

There's always restoration.

- Yeah, and I think one of the words

that people who have failed or fallen

or sinned struggle withis disqualification.

- [Terry] Yes.

- They feel, we do, we feel disqualified.

This has, this has ended it.- Mm-hmm.

- And, if anyone, anything,

David's throne could'vebeen taken from him.

- Yes, yes!- His life, his future,

his destiny, his fame,his name, all of that.

If anything could've disqualified anyone,

surely it was adultery,conspiracy, and murder.

And, out of that, David wrote Psalm 51.

And Psalm 51, really, thepsalm itself is magnificent.

He deals with blood sacrifice.

He deals with the fatherhood of God,

and repentance, and,not only that, he deals

with the sanctifyingpower of the Holy Spirit.

"Take not thy holy spiritfrom me," but renew a right.

So, a thousand years

before Paul the Apostleexplores Trinitarian theology,

David is dealing with it in Psalm 51.

Not only that, he writesthe superscription,

so that we won't guess what it's about.

"A Psalm of David, when hewent in unto Bathsheba."

- Wow.- So, in other words,

he says, as long as the people of God

read the word of God, I wantthem to know what I did,

and I want them to knowhow God forgave me.

- Wow.

It's rich, there is so much to know.

Mark's book is the place to go.

It's called David the Great:

Deconstructing the ManAfter God's Own Heart,

and you can pick it upwherever books are sold.

Wonderful work.

Thank you so much.- Thank you.

- Great to have you here.

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