For a number of years I’ve lugged around A. W. Pink’s “Life of David” (available online here, but perhaps out of print). I’ve borne its 700-plus pages across the country several times, but that was okay: I’ve looked forward to reading it. “It will be worth the weight (pun intended) once I have a chance to enjoy it,” I assured myself. Well, we’re studying David on Wednesday nights, so that time has arrived. Finally, I get to work through this gem of a book from this gem of a man!
Sigh. How disappointing.
Pink takes every possible opportunity to spiritualize David’s life into a direct prophecy of Christ. Here’s an example, coming from I Samuel 17 and Jesse’s sending David to his brothers at the battlefield:
“‘And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son, unto Saul’ (v. 20). What a beautiful typical picture is here presented to us. It was the dire need of poor Saul which moved Jesse to send forth his anointed son: so it was a world lying in sin unto which the Father sent His Beloved. Behold David richly laden with presents for the king: Jesse sent him forth not with weapons of warfare in his hands, but with the tokens of his good will. So the Father sent forth His Son “not to condemn the world” (John 3:17), but on an errand of grace and mercy unto it.”
Wow. That’s a stretch. Despite the protestations of my friends, I’ve found myself writing “Oh no!” or “Yikes!” or even “You’ve got to be kidding!” in the book’s margins more than once. Today’s reading took the cake, however. My margin comment? “Terrible!” The statement that spawned it? This comment about heroic and selfless Jonathan:
“These verses record the final meeting on earth between David and the weak, vacillating Jonathan. Attached to David as he was by a strong natural affection, yet he lacked grace to throw in his lot with the hunted fugitive. He refused to join with his father in persecuting David, yet the pull of the palace and the court was too strong to be resisted. He stands as a solemn example of the spiritual compromiser, of the man who is naturally attracted to Christ, but lacks a supernatural knowledge of Him which leads to full surrender to him. That he ‘strengthened David’s hand in God’ no more evidenced him to be a regenerate man, than do the words of Saul in verse 21. Instead of his words in verse 17 coming true, he fell by the sword of the Philistines on Gilboa.” (vol. 1, ch. 13, p. 104)
Jonathan was “weak and vacillating”? He was “a solemn example of a spiritual compromiser”? An example of one who doesn’t know Christ and is unregenerate?
“Terrible.” What a disappointment, especially because the book is so heavy.
O well. At least it looks nice on my shelf.