North Carolina Newspapers

    I
INTRODUCTION
With the passing years of David’s rule
over Israel, David gradually developed a
pattern of life that became more self
indulged, more accustomed to luxury, and
less dedicated to the serious qoncerns of
_life. At one time he had been a simple
shepherd boy, most earnest and faithful,
even risking his life to protect his family’s
flocks from predatory animals. He had
been willing to face the giant Goliath in his
rough shepherd garb, trusting in God’s
, care. He had trusted the Lord through days
and years of wilderness as he was hunted
relentlessly by Saul’s armed men. He had
retained in his life a refreshing candor and
trust.
LESSON BACKGROUND
It was not unusual for tension and distrust
to exist between different segments of the
Hebrew kingdom. We remember'that after
Saul’s death the more northerly areas
seemed to follow Ishbosheth, Saul’s son,
while the area to the south gave David
refuge and accepted him as king. For seven
- and a half years David reigned at He
brom. Soon after consolidating his reign, he *
conquered Jerusalem and made it his
capital city. Here he reigned for 33 years, (2
Samuel 5:4, 5).
Yet these 33~yeare~wdfe rT&r without"
internal problems. Among David’s many
sons, one was especially handsome and
gifted - Absalom. He had a sister, Tamar,
but she was only a half-sister to Ammon,
who was the son of another of David’s
wives. Ammon raped Tamar, which so
infuriated Absalom that, after some time,
he secured an opportunity and murdered
Ammon in revenge. Then he fled. Later, by
the intercession of Joab, a half-hearted
reconcilation was made between David and.
Absalom. This whole story is told in 2
Samuel 13, 14.
(2 Samuel 15:2-4) Absalom would get up
early in the morning and go and stand by
the road at the city gate. Whenever
someone came there with a dispute that he
wanted the king to settle, Absalom would
call him over and ask him where he was
from. And after the man had told him what
4Hbe he was from, Absalom would say,
“Look, the law is on your side, but there is
J»o representative of the king to hear your
^ase.” And he would add, “How I wish I
were a judge! Then anyone who had a
dispute or a claim could come to me, and I
would give him justice.”
Courting the people s favor, Absalom
made a special effort to intercept those who
came to Jerusalem with grievances for
which they sought loyal intervention or
adjudication. Subtly he insinuated that
their affairs were not being properly
handled by the current administration. He
had no authority to judge in these mat
ters, but tried to give the impression that he
would be sympathetic and helpful if only he
had the chance. It is always easier to win
many hearts if one doesn’t have to give
sentences. When this is done some people
are going to be disappointed, because
everyone cannot win. For the one charged
with making decisions between disagreeing
parties, universal popularity is impossible.
In 1 Corinthians 10:6 we read that events
during the journev of the Hebrew people
from Egypt to Canaan were “our exam
ples.” After several more episodes are
mentioned we are again reminded, “Now
all these things happened unto them for
ensamples:and they are written for our
admonition,” (V. 11),
11 is quite evident that the unrest and
distress in David’s family and David’s
kingdom were the result of the spiritual
decline that occurred in David’s life. His
early simple trust and steadfast reliance on
God were blurred by the unrestrained
indulgence of his sexual desires and his
#bntinued prosperity and power. The beau
tiful faith he expressed in the 23rd Psalm
became more eroded, and even the con
tribution evidenced in Psalm 51 could not
cancel out the continued effects of his folly.
• One thing we must not forget in our
thought about David’s spiritual condition
and o* own. God had promised to be with
David and He continued to care for him. In
Absalom’s rebellion we note that David
prayed to God f6r help in frustrating the
plans of Ahithopel in the support of Ab
salom (2 Samuel 15:31). David still re
tained a trust in God in spite of the way he
often forgot Him. We read a most comfort
ing passage in 2 Timothy 2:13, "If we are
faithless, he will remain faithful for he
cannot disown himself.” Whatever our
unsteadiness, God will remain steady in His
love for us; whatever our wandering, He is
1a Aaasa •
uicTT vO win" nomf TO.
SUPPORT
our wsmwi
Mrs. Ocie Perry Harrison
.An administrative assistant
After 30 Years Of Service
Mrs. Harrison Retires
When Oeie Perry Har
rison retires as Adminis
trative Assistant to the
President at Johnson C.
Smith University on June
30, she will leave behind 30
years of service to seven
different JCSU administra
tive leaders.
Mrs. Harrison, a grad
uate of J.C. Smith, first
came to work for the Beat
ties Ford Road School in
1954 as secretary to Dr
Hardy Liston Sr. The en
rollment then totaled 600
students, including the
Theological Seminary.
* ‘The president’s office at
that time up until 1970 was
a one-horse show,” ob
served Mrs. Harrison.
“Presidents then did
everything »from making
out the payroll, paying the
bills, hiring and monitor
ing the faculty, working
with architects on build
ing plans to registering
studehts. It was a time
when I personally knew
every fatuity, staff and
student body member on
campus.”
Before her three de
cades of service would'
pass, Mrs. Harrison wit
nessed both the joys and
hard-won victories and the
heartbreak of losses that
accompany the top admin
istrative office of the 117
year old institution.
“One of the most ex
citing days came in 1963
when we received a phone
call from Dr. Gordan
Sweet, executive secretary
for the Southern Associa
tion of Colleges and
Schools,” recalled Mrs.
Harrison. “Dr. Sweet an
nounced that J. C. Smith
was being fully accredited,
whereas before the school
was accredited under se
parate standards for black
institutions.”
“One of the most emo
tional times came during
the 1967-68 school year
when the Theological Se
minary moved to Atlanta to
join the Interdenomina
tional Theological Center,"
she pointed out. Declining
enrollment in the campus
Theological Seminary
prompted the move along
with the likelihood of ac
creditation in the larger
Atlanta center.
“Dr. Thompkins, dean of
the Seminary, received an
outpouring of sentiment
throughout the entire Ca
tawba Presbytery as the
school produced a great
number of the ministers
active in the area,” re
flected Mrs. Harrison.
Another sad moment was
the death of Dr. Liston on
Homecoming Day in 1956.
“The news was kept
quiet until the festivities
were over,” she noted. An
administrative council ran
the institution for 10 weeks
until Dr. James Ward Sea
brook became acting pre
sident. The following year
Dr. Rufus Patterson Perry
was selected to head the
private institution.
“Dr. Perry's was a busy
administration,” reflected
Mrs. Harrison. “He was
able to supplement sup
port from the Board of
National Missions with
money from new federal
programs that allowed
Johnson C. Smith Univer
sity to expand.”
Seven new buildings
went up in Dr. Perry’s
tenure. The enrollment
doubled while the school's
endowment grew. Just as
the future appeared limit
less, disaster struck.
The recession of 1967-68
created a financial crisis
for the federal government
that would directly affect
J. C. Smith. Several cam
pus buildings were half
constructed when the De
partment of Housing and
Urban Development cut
drastically back on loans
already approved for
JCSU.
“It was a time that
speculation grew that
Smith would be forced to
cease operations," stated
Mrs. Harrison. “Salaries
were frozen, funds for
other programs had to be
diverted. But it was also a
time that strength grew
from adversity.”
Dr. Lionel H. Newsom
assumed leadership when
Dr. Perry retired in 1968
The trustees rallied to save
the school with a success
ful capital campaign in
1972. Dr. Newsom left
shortly after for the pre
sidency at Central State
(Ohio).
Ocie Harrison has
served in a number of
roles, including 23 years as
recording secretary to the
Board of Trustees, Direc
tor of the Affirmative Ac
tion program and admin
istrative assistant in per
sonnel.
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