“Timoteo, Idaho potatoes are good, but being loved by God, loving and being used by the the Lord is much better.”
These were nearly the last few words I heard from my Abuelito (Grandfather) prior to his passing. As Abuelito took turns sharing a few “last words” with each child and grandchild, it was evident that no matter the mountains and valleys he experienced in life, his heart’s desire, even in facing death, was to point to the One where true life is found.
As the church, we face an end of sorts, as well. This Sunday, now commonly referred to as Christ the King Sunday marks the end of the year in our church calendar. This is not the space to unpack this title, except that, it nevertheless marks us as the body of Christ. As people, we mark lots of things from birth to death. For example, the minutes and hours of our days, the rhythms of our seasons as well as, birthdays, anniversaries, special holidays, new jobs or new adventures. We mark our “firsts” like a first step, first kiss, first rejection and so on. We mark and are marked within time and this inevitably gives us a picture of who we’ve become over time. Yet, what will drive us – in those last hours – to speak to what may be our most prized marking in life? What do we want people to remember, if given a few last words to share?
This passage is literally marked as the Last Words of David. Research indicates that there are actually at least ten other “last words” of David found throughout the Hebrew scriptures. It’s not certain as to why we have the numerous accounts but it seems that David found, even in the face of death, a marking of life. That is, to help others remember that the King of Kings deserves all praise no matter the circumstances. Therefore, what might David’s poetic hymn of praise help the Church find to be of great marking as we live in the tension of yet another ending?
Vs 3 – 4 The Spirit of the Lord speaks through me, his word is upon my tongue. The God of Israel has spoken… One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God.
If familiar with the larger story of David, it may seem difficult to reconcile these words. However, what if we believed that the Spirit of the Lord could speak through us all? God has always been a God who seeks to reveal God’s self to us and even through us. This is evident in the first verses of Genesis. In the beginning God created… We see God revealing Godself as the beginning and one who creates. God continues to do this throughout time, and ultimately in flesh – Jesus the Christ and King.
King David may be poetically remembering that even in despite of his failings – and they were big – God has nevertheless used him as a conduit as King. Just maybe, this is the Spirit’s way? Maybe God longs to use humans who have a proper fear of God? That is, even in the mistakes and valleys of death, we keep remembering that God is Lord of Lords who still loves to use those created in the image of God as mouthpieces of justice, kindness and love.
Vs 5: Is not my house like this with God? For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. Will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire?
David confesses that God has made an everlasting covenant with him and his family. David recognizes that all of what he has: family, house, kingship, and even the gift of poetry and prophetic wisdom is because of God’s help. David seems to acknowledge that God initiated such a relationship and covenant, looking forward, we see David’s vision fulfilled in Jesus Christ the perfect King!
“Although David’s house had not flourished in an uninterrupted course of worldly prosperity and greatness, according to his hopes; although great crimes and calamities had beclouded his family history; some of the most promising branches of the royal tree had been cut down in his lifetime and many of his successors should suffer in like manner for their personal sins; although many reverses and revolutions may overtake his race and his kingdom, yet it was to him a subject of the highest joy and thankfulness that God will inviolably maintain His covenant with his family, until the advent of his greatest Son, the Messiah, who was the special object of his desire, and the author of his salvation.”
Just as God spoke through David and Jesus, He now speaks through us and offers an invitation to be an ongoing part of God’s everlasting covenant. Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21NRSV).
Therefore, as we are once again marked by the church year coming to an end while simultaneously stepping into anticipating a new advent, let us embrace our last words intentionally. Be open to being a conduit of grace and mercy. Don’t miss the opportunities to point to the One who continually blesses life, no matter what one does or does not possess. Intentionally speak justly into the injustices of our me-first predatory economy. Challenge others to live peacefully, even in the midst of facing death. Live joyfully and covenantally with Christ as King so you may be available as a mouthpiece of grace and love.
Let these last words of David be a reminder to us all that the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land is not only probable but possible. Live not as godless (vs 6) people without hope, but as hope-filled ones where God is at home in us – abiding – and we are at home in Him, helping others know that being loved by God, loving and being used by the Lord is much better than we could ever imagine.
 Commentary on the Whole Bible (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, 1871