7 September 2012

2 Samuel 23:1-7

"The spirit of the Lord speaks through me, his word is upon my tongue." (v. 2)


I suspect the last words of Dave (ie me) will be quite different to the last words of David. It is not likely that you will find me feeling confident enough to say "The spirit of the Lord speaks through me" on my deathbed or anywhere else. Given the very visible failings of David my first feelings are of wonder at his arrogance.

Yet recently I have been challenged by Jurgen Moltmann's book The Spirit of Life: A universal affirmation. We studied this as a circuit and part of it that I found very exciting was the way Moltmann shows how in so much of Scripture the Holy Spirit is understood to be dwelling in God's people. I suggest that too often we focus on the 'exciting' gifts of the Holy Spirit and ignore the Spirit bringing life to all, dwelling in all.

I find I can look at these last words of David differently when I understand the Holy Spirit in all, bringing us life, working for healing and reconciliation in us, leading us towards eternal life and suffering with us. (Moltmann develops this by considering the Holy Spirit suffering with Jesus on the cross, staying in him through his death and then bringing him to new life on Easter Day.)

With this in mind I find something new when I look again at these last words of David. Instead of being irritated or intimidated by his confidence, I am reassured by what this reveals of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Despite David's failings God has not abandoned him, the Holy Spirit has not shut up shop and left, indeed right up to and through his death the Holy Spirit is at work in David.

If the Holy Spirit does not give up on an adulterous murderer like David then probably I should have more confidence that the Holy Spirit will not give up on me and so still dwells in me and, if I allow, speaks through me.

To Ponder

  • How do you feel about the idea that the Holy Spirit speaks through you as well as through David? Does it excite you, terrify you, seem impossible or what?
  • If you look back, are there times when you have felt the Holy Spirit speaking through you? What was going on at the time?
  • Can you think of any people you have known or read about that you would describe as having the Holy Spirit talking through them? How do you feel that fits with this passage?

Bible notes author

The Revd Dave Warnock

Dave Warnock is a Methodist minister in the Leicester North Circuit based in Syston, Leicester. He is passionate about lots of things (including Scripture, discipleship, gender/sexual equality, pacifism and cycling) and loves being part of the Methodist people.