This year I have made it a point to spend much less time watching TV and to spend more time in God’s Word. It’s amazing how much time is freed up when the TV, computer, and phone screens are turned off. And you know what I’ve found? Reading the Bible never gets old. There is always something new that catches my attention, and the one thing that stands out is that “There is nothing new under the sun,” as the wise King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:9.
We might think that life is chaotic and distressing now, but there is really nothing new under the sun. The Bible records many painful and tragic stories. Wars, murders, betrayals, broken marriages, broken families, deception, greed; you name it, it’s all in there.
Just look at the story of King David in the Old Testament. I mean, that man had a rough life. Whatever you can think of, he experienced it: relationship issues with his father, with his brothers, with his many wives, with his father-in-law, with his children, and with his people. He fought with a lion and bear, he faced a giant, and he had quite a few adversaries. He lost his best friend, he got his good friend killed, and he buried a few of his children.
At first, he was a lowly shepherd, then he became a hero, then a fugitive, and then he became the king of Israel. He did have his great victories, but he failed so many times as a husband, as a father, as a friend, and as a king. And yet, God calls him a man after His own heart. It took me a while to understand why, but I realized that God looks at the heart and not at the man (or woman).
Despite his many faults, David had a sincere heart and loved to praise God with songs and poetry. He was honest with God and brought his raw emotions to Him, good or bad. He had great faith and a great desire to obey and please God. When he was convicted of his many shortcomings, he was eager to turn back to God, make things right, make up for his wrongdoings, and honor God. He knew that he could always rely on God, and when things got really bad, “David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6b)
I’m glad that the Bible is full of these types of stories that we can learn from. It is our handbook of life. It gives us wisdom, expands our knowledge, and it points us to Jesus. “The Bible truly is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.” (Psalm 119:105)
It gives me great comfort knowing that God is with us even when we fail and fall, “For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)
And what an encouragement it is knowing that “It is God who justifies.…Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:33, 35, 37-39)