The Truth About Biblical Heroes And Their Proper Perspective

The Bible is full of biblical characters that accomplished great things for Yehovah and some tend to lift up these people to a stature that even the characters themselves would be uncomfortable with. They would be the first to tell us that they had no power in themselves to accomplish these works and that it was the Lord who worked through them. The Bible also brings out their flaws and this is done to show that God can use anyone, no matter what flaws they have. From Noah to Paul, we have flawed people doing great works for the Lord. One of the greatest “heroes” in the Bible is David. From a teenager to his death as king of Israel, David is a name that is well known by children and adults alike, and his exploits are legendary. But David was a man of many flaws, and he probably would wish that some of those flaws remained private. So, let’s look at David a little closer when he was living among the Philistines right before the death of Saul. If God can use David, he can use us as well.

In 1 Sam 27 David flees to the Philistines because he is afraid of Saul and knows he will never reconcile with him. He moves his army and relatives and friends and their families out of the land to Gath and aligns himself to King Achish. He is welcomed and he stays in Gath at first, but requests a place of his own, so the king gives him Ziklag. This city was taken from Israel so it had Hebrews there. Achish is one of five Philistine kings, and the other four kings are suspicious of David. Ziklag is in the country so Achish will not know what he is up to.

Once trusted by Achish, David began to attack nearby tribes to make a living. They learned about Philistine military tactics which will help later on. David raided the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites. David was ruthless and killed everyone. Now the Geshurites were allies with the Amalekites and David felt it was justified to kill them along with the Amalekites. It does not say that David was under God’s direction here with the Geshurites and the Girzites, but he did have a mandate about the Amalekites.

David is working both sides here. He is attacking the enemies of Israel which will make him a “hero” with Judah, but those who he is attacking were not friends with the Philistines, so they thought it was allowable. Achish got some of the booty and David is gaining the trust of the Philistines and making them wealthier. All the while, David is being “secretive” about all this. The king does not tell David who to raid because he will have to ask David in 1 Sam 27.10. David does not report the details to Achish, and dead men tell no tales (27.11).

David’s purpose for these killings had little to do with God’s general command to destroy Amalek, although it was part of it. Achish only knows about the treasure David decided to tell him about. David probably kept some of it back, including weapons. Also, the Philistines were not pitiless pagans and they probably would not have approved of David’s tactics. But David did not want any witnesses, especially when he was being ambiguous. Since he thought David was operating in the Negev of Judah (27.10) he figured David was hated by his own people and that he had “burned all his bridges.”

This topic about David’s actions here is avoided by many. It can get uncomfortable discussing what David is doing. However, biblical heroes are flawed people by nature, like all of us. Sometimes these flaws actually help them become heroes. David is a type of the Messiah, but that doesn’t mean he was the exact representation of the Messiah in all things, and this applies to any biblical hero. He is just a flawed man in the hands of a great God who picks him as a king. That is an important concept to remember. David failed many times. He was tempted; he could be moral; he could lie; be faithful; commit injustices, was courageous; fearful; committed murder and do anything to survive; he was over indulgent with his children. Now David is joining forces with Israel’s enemy for protection and he was ready to fight his own people in 1 Sam 29.1-11. Unless God intervenes, David may have stayed there because at this point David had no plans to go back to Israel, he will be forced to. David had a heart for God, but he also wanted to survive. He loved beautiful women, no matter what their legal marital status was. He would right moral wrongs and take a life if he needed to and not bat an eye. You will also see David was a bit impulsive, yet God loved him.

And that is encouraging for us because we all have a little “David” in us, and God loves us, too. This should give all of us a deep feeling of hope for our future. We have all had moments that we would not want anyone else to know about. God reveals these flaws in our “biblical heroes” so that we can see ourselves and see how God deals with the repentant attitudes some of them had. But we all have a little ‘Saul” in us, too. Saul went down the wrong road and went against God and did not repent. David went down the wrong road but repented and wanted God’s forgiveness. We should not lift up any biblical personality as a “hero” but realize they were flawed people in the hands of a great God. Moses spent the first forty years of his life showing what a great man he was. Then God showed him for the next forty years what a nothing he was. Then for the last forty years of his life, God showed him what a flawed man could do in the hands of a mighty God. Only Yeshua the Messiah is perfect and worthy to be called a biblical hero, and we should keep our eyes on him.

So, in short, the Bible reveals the shortcomings of the major characters because they are only pictures of the Messiah in some of the things that happened to them, and so that people in later generations would not think they were the Messiah and that he already came.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Festivals of the Lord, The Tanak, Tying into the New Testament

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