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Prof cites King David as example for Christians in building a legacy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–The closing words from the life of King David provide Christians with an example in building a legacy worth remembering, stated Gary Smith, professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.
“What will people say about you when you die? What will the obituary say?” Smith asked, advocating the need to be more intentional in creating a legacy. In an Oct. 20 chapel address to students, staff, faculty and trustees, Smith drew from 1 Chronicles 28 to share David’s expression of the things which mattered most about his life.
“People might think of David as the one who killed Uriah and committed sin with Bathsheba,” Smith acknowledged. And even David wanted to be known as the king who built the temple of God, Smith said. “But God said, ‘No,'” Smith noted, giving to David’s son, Solomon, the task of carrying out that vision.
Knowing that his death was imminent, David drew together the people who cared for his property and flocks, his family, friends, officials and bureaucrats, Smith recounted. From verse 9, Smith pointed to the things David wanted them to remember about him and his life: a knowledge of the God of his fathers and awareness of God’s availability, as well as a life characterized by service and courage.
In the reference to Solomon’s need “to know the God of your fathers,” Smith interpreted the phase as an understanding based on an intimate relationship. “David believed that God was alive and powerful,” Smith said, “and that had changed his life.” From the experience of God helping him kill a lion and a bear, David found the confidence to defeat Goliath, declaring, “that all the earth may know there is a God in Israel.”
Smith asked, “What are we saying and doing in our lives that communicates to our friends, spouses, churches about our knowledge of who God is? What are our experiences with God that we can relate? Is there a real intimate relationship? Has God done something in your life? Will that be in your obituary?”
Smith also spoke of the necessity of serving God “with a whole heart and a willing mind,” noting David’s repeated use of the term servant to describe himself. “When you go to 1 Kings 8 as Solomon is dedicating the temple, he talks about the promises God made to his servant David,” Smith said, adding, “The son had learned what the father thought was important. Solomon then talks about himself as God’s servant.”
Smith further emphasized the importance of loving God with all your heart, soul and mind. “It was not halfhearted service that David is talking about.”
David also reminds Solomon of the Lord’s ability to search and understand every intent of the heart, Smith said. “David learned this the hard way,” Smith said, referring to the adulterous relationship with Bathsheba and subsequent attempt to avoid judgment.
“There are a lot of things in your life that you don’t want published on the front page of the newspaper any more than the president did. David says to Solomon, ‘Don’t follow my pattern of trying to hide things from God.'”
And yet, David also learned that God is available, Smith said, still citing verse 9 as evidence that God can be found by those who seek him, but rejected by those who forsake him. “Realize there are consequences to our actions. God is going to respond in one way or another based on how we respond,” Smith said, adding, “You can’t fool God.”
Courage is a final characteristic of the legacy David left with Solomon, Smith said, referring to verse 20 and recalling acts of courage throughout David’s life. “We need more people who do the courageous thing. Stand up and say, ‘I want to count. I want to make a difference.'”


EDITOR’S NOTE: Regarding the (BP) story, “Replica of Christ’s tomb reopened by northern Ky.-Cincinnati church,” dated 9/25/98, the following can be added as the next-to-the-last paragraph:
Visitors are advised to call Immanuel Baptist Church to schedule a tour at (606) 331-7136 or the home of church secretary Roxie Jacoby, (606)-261-1953.

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  • Tammi Ledbetter