I like to be right, and there can be something wrong about that.
When I was in seminary, we were taught that maybe the best way to think about the Bible’s King David was as if he were some sort of ancient Middle Eastern Robin Hood – more legend than fact – but a great story and a nice message. You know, take from the rich and give to the poor, face your giants, or “don’t worry, even people after God’s own heart get themselves into trouble.”
It looks like my professors were wrong.
The current edition of Christianity Today has an interesting article, How Archaeology Affirmed the Historic Stature of a Biblical King. The subtitle is “Once, the House of David seemed like a folk tale. Now, the rocks testify to its historic significance.” You can read the story, but the point is that there is there is good evidence of David being more than a legend and his kingdom extending far beyond Sherwood Forest.
My guess, however, is that the new archeological findings have not moved every scholar to considering more faithfully the one whose story begins “Once in Royal David’s City.” And my guess is that we’ll still get lots of bad sermons about facing our giants (and maybe a few about taking from the rich and giving to the poor).
Being right does not always pay the dividends we hope it will. Plus, it can make us really annoying to be around. Even so, I like being right.
The “major study” racket is booming business in our time. And the major studies pretty much prove I’m right. I’ll let you google these on your own, but the headlines include:
- Major Study Links 2-3 Cups of Coffee Per Day with Longer Life
- Marriage boosts survival chances of cancer patients, say scientists – study adds to weight of research
- What research says about two-parent families keeping kids out of jail and in school: Study says fathers and mothers at home impact whether kids go to college, end up in jail or live in poverty
- Study shows how attending worship can improve your physical and mental health
Coffee in the morning. Getting married. Having kids and staying married. Going to church. I’ve been right all along. So what’s wrong with that? The trouble with being right (maybe) is when you start legislating “right.” Don’t get me wrong. I am all for getting married and staying married. Attending worship has many more benefits than the studies show. And, of course, the day goes better with coffee in the morning. But forcing everyone to have a cup or two of coffee in the morning will work about as well as forcing everyone to use your preferred pronoun.
The thing about the one born in Royal David’s City is that he doesn’t legislate. He invites. He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28–30 (ESV)
Yes, my professors were wrong about David. And, unfortunately, some of them were wrong about Jesus. In the end, he’s the only thing worth being right about.