“He died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth and honor.”
1 Ch 29:28
Seventy wasn’t really “a good old age” from a human point of view. “Life starts at seventy,” goes a popular saying. “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures,” we read from Psalm 90. So a seventy-year life span seems to be what we can count on. Of course some may hang on longer, but that’s not a given. By this calculation, I most likely only have seven years left, which is only one tenth of my life. If this is the case, why do I act as if it’s an accident that my eyes are starting to fade and my teeth are beginning to fall out one after another? I guess they are made to last about seventy years, and if I last longer than that, they will be replaced with man-made ones. In fact, my dentist just informed me that tooth implantation will be needed soon.
David seemed to have lived a lot longer than that, considering how much he accomplished with his life. He apparently packed the years with a lot of heroic activities, starting from the confrontation with Goliath to fighting against Saul’s army and the Philistines and, in the meantime, he was able to take many wives and start a rather large family. Besides his military campaign, the man still found time to make beautiful music and composed many beautiful psalms. Seventy years might not have been all that long; surely those years was quite an abundant.
When it comes to leading this life, we should take quality over quantity, so people say. Yet who determines the quality of our lives is subject to debate. David might have been a great man who lived a full and good life from his friends’ point of view, but his enemies might have strongly disagreed with such an assumption. Who is to give the final and definitive verdict of the man?
The verdict belonged to the Lord and we read: “He died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth and honor.” This final assessment of the man is something we are all craving for, isn’t it? Seventy years may be a little short compared to some, but “wealth and honor” surely is quite enticing. This comment on David’s life, however, does sound more human than divine, which should not be something we aim for in this life. David’s life obviously transcended all that.
The man reigned for forty years and he obviously enjoyed all the honor and privileges that came with the crown, and he was duly honored at his death. Yet such shouldn’t be how he is ultimately defined; the man should be defined by how he related to God, which should also be the way we are defined as well. It matters very little whether David was a pauper or a king, what really matters is he was a man after God’s own heart. That’s exactly how we will be defined as well.