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Something Beautiful: Sin, Setbacks, and A Man After God’s Own Heart

March 31, 2010 Leave a comment

I found a story that feels a lot like my heart in someone else’s life. For that reason, it feels beautiful.

Why did God pick David, a shepherd boy who was the youngest among his brothers, to be king over all Israel? Because David was the one that YHWH decided was “a man after his own heart” (1 Sam 13:14). David showed it too. He did many brave and incredible things like killing Goliath and thousands of men in war, and on the flipside, even after Saul tried to kill him, David refused to take revenge – instead letting God do what He would on His timetable. David lives this beautiful and passionate life in which he is constantly seeking to do the will of YHWH. Resultantly, God crowns him king and promises that the reign of David’s bloodline will endure forever. There are some problems in the kingdom, but they are solved and David is consistently strong in keeping his eyes focused on YHWH.

But something happens. Read 2 Samuel 11- 19 to get the full force of the story. It’s telling is powerful in itself. Maybe David has developed some arrogance during his kingship or perhaps he let his selfish desires consume him. Either way, he does something completely out of character and inexcusably despicable. Here’s the rundown.

King David is at war, but is a little older now and so is at home while his men are out fighting. While they are out, David sees a woman bathing on a house (not being scandalous, but on top of a house is a private place for most people). David gets her, sleeps with her, impregnates her, then tries to get her husband back from the war to sleep with her so David can hide his adultery. David, a man after God’s own heart, did this. But he can’t hide his actions because Uriah is an honorable man that refuses the comfort of his wife while his fellow soldiers have no such comfort. So, David sends back a letter commanding that Uriah be put in a situation in battle which would be impossible for him to survive. Uriah actually carries his own death letter back to his commander. Uriah dies, David marries Bathsheba, the woman he slept with. David, chosen to be king because he was a man after God’s own heart, did this.

Then David is confronted about his sin and essentially pronounces judgment on himself (2 Samuel 12:4-6). YHWH lets him know that he’s going to have a heck of a time over the next few years. His son is going to die. One close to him will sleep with his wives in broad daylight. Things will always be violent in his kingdom. After this pronouncement… David’s son he had with Bathsheba dies, one of David’s sons rapes one of his daughters, another son kills the rapist son, the killer son leaves and returns to Jerusalem to overthrow David, David flees for years, his son sleeps with David’s wives in plain sight, and David comes back to violently take back his throne from his own son, his son dies in a freak accident in a tree, and David retakes the throne. His final depiction in the book of 2 Samuel involve songs of praise, talk of the importance of righteousness before God, and actions of humbly honoring YHWH.

I don’t know if you’ve realized this yet, but this is a crazy story. Right after David’s terrible sin was uncovered by the God who sees all, his whole life unraveled. What’s incredible and beautiful is David’s response to God’s pronounced judgment. Immediately after Nathan told David about what was going to happen to him, his kingdom, his family, and his son, David responded with fasting and prayer. After this point of exposure in the king’s life, even while everything was falling apart, David is seen desperately trying to do what is righteous, honorable, faithful, and glorifying to YHWH.

Even after a year of hiding his darkest sin, God allowed David to repent when he was brought face to face with the horror of his own gruesome actions and heart. YHWH still allowed David to pursue Him. He still heard David’s prayer. He still was close to David as he suffered through the consequences of his sin. And in the end, God restored David back to his kingship. It was not the same as it was before, but it was still good. In the end, despite David’s inexcusable and hellish sins, he was still a man after God’s own heart. In the end, despite our inexcusable and hellish sins, we can still be men and women after God’s own heart. And, after our suffering through the consequences of our own gruesome sins, God’s restoration and redemption can be complete in our lives if we would just turn to him completely when our actions are exposed for what they are.

Categories: Something Beautiful

Something Beautiful: A Warrior Without Malice

March 14, 2010 1 comment

Didn’t mean for the delay. It’s a lot easier for me to write about humor than beauty. I need more of it in my life. Hopefully thinking on it will help. There is a lot of beauty around me. I know a lot of beautiful people that live beautiful lives and speak beautiful things about reality. I’m not one of them, but when I’m with these people, I feel more beautiful. The more I think about real beauty and let it in, the more beautiful and capable of beauty I feel. So, here’s a beautiful story.

Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.

He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands to deal with as you wish.’ “Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.

Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lift up my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” With these words David rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.

Then David went out of the cave ad called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’? This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lift my hand against my master, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’ See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. Now understand and recognize that I am not guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you… And [Saul] wept aloud.

David sometimes comes across like this girly man who plays his lute and dances around in his underwear like a fairy. Historically speaking, he’s a grizzled war veteran. Surely he has seen things that would terrify me and has done things that would make me throw up. Undoubtedly he is hardened, able to keep his emotions at bay when necessary, proud, and probably hasn’t dealt with individuals trying to kill him with much gentility in the past.

It feels like David puts aside his battle-instincts and certainly he endangers his life and the lives of his friends. Why? Because Saul is God’s anointed. Even though Saul has been a king that has dishonored God and David has been chosen as the next king, David knows it is not yet his time and so Saul is still God’s chosen. So David won’t kill him. David won’t even maim him. He won’t hurt God’s anointed even though it could cost David his life. Even though Saul is making the life of David incredibly dangerous and difficult.

I think I just find it incredible that a man in this situation would let someone go free simply because at some point YHWH chose him. Especially when the man is a warrior that has killed many, many men before. My heart is amazed the warrior David would spare the life of one trying to kill him when I, an ideological pacifist, want David to just kill him and be done with it. And the result is beautiful. Saul ends his pursuit that day when he learns of mercy. David’s mercy stills Saul’s anger and jealousy. His act of peace brought peace. Beautiful.

Categories: Something Beautiful
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