As David looks back over his life, he reflects on his legacy as a king. There is no doubt that David was a strong and beloved ruler. There were many times when he ruled justly and followed God’s lead. His military success united the kingdom, secured Jerusalem as the capital city, and expanded Israel’s territory. The psalms he wrote have brought solace, joy, and gratitude into the hearts of many over the millennia.
The scriptures also tell us of a man who treats people as disposable, who manipulates situations to his benefit, and who is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants. We can’t blame him, at the end of his life, for wanting to focus on the good that he has done, glossing over the messiness. It seems natural to hope that the good we’ve done outweighs the bad.
Imagine composing your last words poetically, as David does in this reading. Would you only focus on the good you have done and the ways you have honored God with your life? Or would you include the times you missed the mark? If someone else were to compose a tribute to your life, what would you want them to say?
Today, offer a prayer of thanksgiving for leaders who, “rule over people justly, ruling in the fear of God, [who are] like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land”.