Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You Are The Man! Awwww..... Man!

It’s so human for us to see the character flaws of people all around us, and at times it’s so easy for us to point the finger at the other person, so as not to draw attention to ourselves. For me personally, I’m often quick to point out how others are “not minding God” only to be reminded of “when’s the last time I went to the hospital to visit the sick”, or take your pick. No, I admit that I am not perfect, and I apologize for criticizing others too.

David’s life had quickly become very complicated. He had slept with another man’s wife, who had consequently become pregnant. To cover it up, he had her honorable husband Uriah killed in battle so that he would never find out of the king’s treacherous dealings. As for the people finding out, I imagine that David quickly took Bathsheba as his wife – kind of “shotgun wedding” style to cover up the obvious of her being pregnant. Maybe David felt like he had all the bases covered and that he could try and melt back into mediocrity. No way. God would not give him peace while he was in sin. God wanted to wake him up and show him the error of his ways. God sent his prophet Nathan to talk to him.

Nathan started talking about this other worthless character, about how this rich man who had all he wanted, and lacked nothing, wanted more. Even though this rich man was blessed with abundance, desired what someone else had. The rich man took the only possession that this poor man had, a single lamb who this man raised from a baby, treating it as one of his own children. Even though the rich man had more than enough, he stole from the poor man, the only lamb he had to make a feast for a traveler. Back again to seeing the character flaws in others, God spoke through Nathan this story in a way that would convict David. In fact, in a way that David would convict himself. David was furious to hear this supposedly true story from Nathan and said, [2 Samuel 12:5] “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! [6] And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David those dreaded words, “You are the man!”

Nathan then went on to remind David all the good things that God had already done for him like, anointing him king over Israel, delivering him from the hands of King Saul who was out to kill him, giving David king Saul’s house and all his possessions after Saul killed himself in battle, and by giving David to be king over all of Israel, and then all of Judah. And finally, by reminding David that if that hadn’t been enough, God would have blessed him more, according to his will…. What a knuckle-head, right? I mean who in their right minds would have given up all of that for a fleeting moment with another man’s wife. But, I am only speaking sarcastically. A very big lesson to be learned is that God put this detailed story in here for a reason. Think about all the great things that David had done, and how many of them are only mentioned briefly…. Then think about this story and realize that it is spelled out in great detail and is put there as a warning for every man. We all must be careful on what we do, and where we are, and what consequences will follow.

David’s character had been tarnished. His sin had been exposed to him, and his kingdom, and the nations around him. How humbling this was for David. What happened after this shows the character of David that God loved. The repentant character, the humbled character, and the deeply wounded character that God desires when we sin. It’s quickly summed up in the story told in 2 Samuel by this verse, [2 Samuel 12:13] So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." But it’s not until you read over in Psalms 32 or Psalms 51 the true depths that David went through before finding God’s forgiveness.

In Psalms 32, David is praising God for his forgiveness, and for covering or hiding his sins. David admits in this Psalm, the struggle and guilt that he felt before his sins were confessed, before his sins were admitted. David says that he felt terrible, he was burdened with sin, and he was pressed and could not move because of his guilt. The moment he admitted his sins to God, God lifted his hand from him, and blessed him with his mercies.

In Psalms 51, David calls out for God’s mercy, loving-kindness, and tender mercies. David begs God to blot out, or cover over his transgressions so that God will not see them any longer. David begs God to wash him and cleanse him so that he will be found pure in his sight. David admits his sin to God. Even though David had affected the lives of Bathsheba, of Uriah, and of the child who died from Bathsheba, and even the punishment of sin which would be borne in his own household, David admits that to God and God alone has he sinned. David continues by asking God to bless him with joy and gladness so that he may rejoice. David asks for a clean heart and for a renewed and steadfast spirit within him. David asks God not to depart from him, not to take his Holy Spirit away from him. God finally uses David to teach us through the Holy Spirit what God desires most of all from us in these situations: [Psalms 51:16] “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart-- These, O God, You will not despise.”

Yes, I find myself to be like David in the fact that I am not perfect, though I have not sinned in this same way as this story is told. I certainly am a sinner who is forgiven. My prayer is that I will remember David’s character and if I am convicted of sin, when I have come to my senses that I too will pour out myself like David did, and be forgiven by God our creator.

I’m forgiven and you can be too.

Am I listening to what God is saying in His word?

1 comment:

  1. Paul, thank you for highlighting this story. I had never given much thought to the fact that so much detail is given in comparison to so many other stories.

    This story has always been painful to read. I want so much for David to do the opposite of everything he does in this story. It's like watching a movie knowing a character is walking into a trap, except this time, he built the trap for himself.

    But, what a story of repentance and forgiveness!