9/12/13 Correction: The Caleb who had concubines was the son of Hezron, son of Perez, son of Judah, and not Caleb, son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite. Same name, different person. My apologies to Caleb the son of Jephunneh! Post revised to refer solely to King David who apparently had enough concubines that they aren’t even named (cf. 1 Chron. 3:9)
From what we know about the Ancient Near East (cf. Nuzi) concubinage was a specific, legal status that was public—a kind of sub-wife position. Being a concubine was not to be a private ‘mistress’ at all.
I can imagine someone decrying the worldliness of David, articulating the doctrine of marriage from Gen. 1-2 which Jesus himself would later teach, and then separating from these individuals as disobedient to God’s will and plan, compromisers with worldliness.
Would such a person be wrong? No, they would be right. Concubinage was (and is) contrary to God’s will, assimilated from the sinful world, and it brought with it all the consequences of violating God’s will. But the “problem” (for the person who recognizes that concubinage is contrary to God’s will) is that God worked with David anyway. In spite of their blindness to the sins of worldliness in their lives, their hearts were wholly set to please God in view of the light He had given them (1 Kings 15:3).
I think this should tell me that God will work with people as long as they are wholly set to follow Him. The fact that they are compromised by worldliness, unconsciously, will not mean that God cannot or will not use them. The wrong conclusion to draw from this is that God doesn’t really care about what we do as long as we follow Him.
The lesson for me is that my heart must be wholly set to follow God. I must walk in all the light that He has given me. Others aren’t responsible for my light. I am. When I meet or observe modern Davids, I should keep in mind that the fact God is using them does not mean God approves of the areas of their lives where they are living in violation of His word. It just means that God will bless and use anyone whose heart is wholly set to follow Him to the best of their knowledge.
Father, help me to be such a person!