Faithfully yours - Let it go and move on
- Published on Sunday, April 2, 2017
By Neil Strohschein
The Neepawa Banner
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received came at one of the most turbulent times in my life. A trusted friend said something like this: “Neil, don’t let your past keep you in bondage. Let it go and move on.” That turned out to be far easier for my friend to say than it was for me to do.
So after finishing last week’s column, I spent some more time looking at the life of King David. I was specifically interested in learning how he was able to get out from under the cloud of guilt that had hung over him, rebuild his reputation and regain the trust of his people.
As I noted in last week’s column, the people of ancient Israel were in no hurry to reinstate David after his exile. Eventually they did; but even as they did, they were asking each other: “What will the king do the next time we have to go to war?” That question exposed the real issue in David’s life. He had grown complacent; and his complacency led to his downfall.
The historian of the day put it in terms everyone can understand. “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him…but David remained at Jerusalem.” (2 Samuel 11:1) Had David been where he was supposed to be, doing what he was supposed to do, the sins that nearly destroyed his kingdom might never have happened. David’s complacency led to dereliction of duty and the rest, as they say, is history.
So what happened after David was reinstated as king? The historian tells us: “The Philistines went to war again with Israel, and David went down together with his servants.” (2 Samuel 21:15) No dereliction of duty here. He was where he was supposed to be; doing what he was supposed to do; and God rewarded his efforts by giving his people victory in battle.
This would be the last time David got actively involved in a battle. By now, he was getting old and his people decided that he was more of a hindrance than a help on the battle field. So the next time they went to war, David stayed home—but this time, he did so with God’s permission and his people’s blessing. No complacency. No dereliction of duty. No repetition of past sins.
David’s example is one we all should follow. He refused to be defined by his past. He refused to allow past failures to keep him in bondage. Instead, he embraced his past, acknowledged his sins, accepted the consequences and learned from his mistakes. Then, when faced with a situation that was similar to the one he had mishandled, he knew what to do and he handled it correctly.
Today, whenever we speak about David, we speak about the person he was at the end of his life; the one the Biblical writers call “the man after God’s own heart.” We talk about a man who made colossal mistakes, but who learned from them and became a better man as a result. We remember the man who died with dignity and with his integrity fully restored.
His story continues to inspire and encourage people from all walks of life. If he can fail miserably, so can we. If he can find forgiveness, recover and rebuild his life, so can we. If God could make it happen for David, God can do the same for us.