God’s Word for You
Acts 13:36-37 A little shudder
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, June 2, 2020
36 For after David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he died, he was buried with his fathers, and his body decayed. 37 But the one God raised up did not see decay.
When I read that “David had served God’s purpose,” I shudder a little. Does that mean that we are just tools in God’s service, like a hammer or a screwdriver that’s useful for a while and then gets replaced when it’s worn out? Our opinion of God is what’s going to help us understand what’s going on here. We really are tools that God uses, and because of the damage sin does, we wear out just like an old hammer or screwdriver. But it’s wonderful to be used in God’s service. When I was a young man, I had dreams of teaching English. I wanted to teach young people in High School or maybe in college the works of William Shakespeare. But God had a different plan for me, and that dream of mine was something I willingly and happily gave up when there came a chance to study to be a pastor instead (there’s more to that story, but sometimes a sketch is enough).
What happened with David is that he was used by God for a pretty important purpose. Whereas Saul had united Israel under one king, David expanded the kingdom and powers of the king all in the service of the true God. David was a sinful man just as we are, and he made mistakes. He fell into various sins, both public and private, but he repented of those sins. When God corrected him, David didn’t make excuses. He hung his head and said, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
When David grew old, his body was worn out by many decades of hard service and many years of living outdoors in all weather. He got so that he could no longer keep warm even in bed (1 Kings 1:1). When he was just 69 or 70 (not all that old by our standards) the ancient David died, a worn-out tool of God lovingly laid to rest. Like the rest of us, David’s body saw decay in his royal tomb in Jerusalem. Most of us shudder a little at the thought of our dead bodies in their graves. Who wouldn’t? But Jesus’ body didn’t stay in the tomb. Jesus’ body rose from the dead, and our bodies will do the same. Decayed or not, ashes or not, we will be restored to beautiful and glorious perfection. We will be raised up because Christ was raised; we will shed our decay because he never decayed. We will live because he lives. Until then, rejoice that you are a tool that God uses in his glorious service.
Pastor Timothy Smith