I Samuel 23:5 may be the saddest verse in the Bible. With all that David had done to build his family name, strengthen his country and bring honor to God, his legacy would be tarnished by the children he left behind. With all his greatness and strength he could not save his own family. What would David had traded to be able for these words never to be written? Perhaps the sword that was used to behead Goliath or perhaps the fine robes he was given to wear. While David’s grandeur is unquestionable his habitual inability to forsee the future and live accordingly would be his demise. First it was the sin with Bathsheba followed by the murder of Uriah. Next it was the mishandling of Tamar’s rape leading to the murder of Amnon. David was a master of living in the moment. He gave a credibility and strength to Israel that they have yet to regain but in all of it he did them the greatest damage by not preparing the next generation to fill his shoes.
While David may deserve his share of the blame I must stop to caution you that he is not the primary culprit in this crime. His children who knew the love their father had for the Lord and his desire to serve Him with his life should have led them to follow the God of their father. They enjoyed the perks and benefits of being children of the king without accepting the responsibility and obligations that come with it. Just as a child that comes from a broken home with alcoholics for parents has no excuse not to serve God, the children of David are certainly without excuse to not carry on and enhance the reputation and honor of their family name.
At the end of his life David knew the fate of his children. In II Samuel 23:5-7 David refers to his own children as sons of Belial. He continues on by predicting their destruction and demise. How sad for David to come to the end of his life, see his body of work and yet the only thing he wants to talk about is his greatest regret: the destruction of his children. May we as children add to our family reputation not tarnish it but more importantly may we as Christians be constantly mindful of the family name we carry and the Christ who saved us.