Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Portraits of Redemption: David

I knew I had to do it.  From the very beginning of this series, I believed in my heart that David was part of the story.  So why it was taking so long to write his chapter was beyond me. 

I’d sit down tell the story of David - how he should have been on the battlefield with his men instead of committing adultery with Bathsheba… the fact that he was a leader – a King… the ironic coincidence that he was called a man after God’s own heart – still he failed. 

But I couldn’t do it!

David knew better, I’d argue!  He had all these credentials, and failed everyone (and God) miserably!  That alone confused… and intrigued me at the same time.  To be honest, it angered me, too!

I knew how after starting the affair with Bathsheba, David went on to murder her husband – another attempt to hide what he’d done.  But one day, Nathan the prophet knocked on his door.  It was only then that David fessed up to his wrongdoings.

I can only imagine the headlines that created!  Or worse yet, the jokes about King David all over talk radio!  Our society today thrives on the sins of another.  Just look at the spin the Ted Haggard story created… or Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart.  Take it to the political scene and you’ve got an endless supply of stories.  Lists and lists of people who “knew better” and still they failed!    

Now, I’m a strong believer in justice!  I see things in black and white.  Grace and mercy are not always the easiest gifts for me to grant those who have let me down time and time again – especially those who “knew better”, and this time, I was siding with Nathan, David’s family, the palace cooks and the taxpayers in the villages.  They all had a right to be angry, hurt and disappointed. I could identify more easily with them than with a forgiving, redemptive God! 

Truth is, I’ve held an abundant dose of anger towards a “David” in my own life.  I felt I deserved the rights to this anger and I defended it with everything inside me!   My David had committed an injustice towards another when I was still a child… and it’s tormented me all these years.  I had watched from the sidelines for too long – my disgust growing more and more as I observed this person, who, like David, “knew better” but thought they could get away with it.

“Where’s the Nathan in my story?” I cried out to God.  The prophet had come and corrected David for his actions, and the heartfelt repentance (read his prayer below) David expressed would prove to anyone that he was sorry. 

Still, no “Nathans” were showing up to have a chat with my “David”.

Over time, I found a way to bury it deep within my heart until I convinced even myself that I felt nothing but apathy towards that person.  

But I discovered out how wrong I’ve been. 

The indifference I claimed to feel, was really a storm brewing deep in my soul.  Each time it threatened to rear its ugly head, I’ve shoved it deep inside – back where I thought it belonged. 

As humans, we find it easier to kick a man when he’s down.  The higher the pedestal from which he falls, the harder we kick. 

We seldom find any redeeming value in them.

But oh…

Oh, how He loves us!

Each one of us – whether we’re the Nathan, the Bathsheba… or the David in our life’s story.

I stood before God recently, a battle going on inside my soul.  He asked me to join Him in forgiving the David in my life – and I cried.

My heart said “no”, but my head knew it was what I must do.

God forgave David – a King of Israel… a man after God’s own heart… a man who failed even though he “knew better”.

Redemption is what God is all about.  If He was willing and able to redeem David after all he had done against God, could I see purpose in forgiving?  Carrying this burden would only cause me to sink into a pit of despair – giving it to God would relieve me from the weight.  I would be free from it!  Once again, I’d be walking on water!

So, I did.

And, I am!

I now knew why I’d been unable to write David’s story!  God showed me how He not only forgave David – He still had a purpose for him and Bathsheba.  They would eventually become the parents of King Solomon – a man full of wisdom and wealth who would go on to build the great Temple in Jerusalem.

Years later, their names would also be listed among the lineage of Jesus Christ, Himself.
God isn’t looking for perfect people.  David realized that.  In his prayer of repentance to God, he said,

“Going through the motions doesn't please you,
      a flawless performance is nothing to you.
   I learned God-worship
      when my pride was shattered.
   Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don't for a moment escape God's notice.”

How awesome to know, no matter who we are, what we’ve done, how far we’ve fallen, God longs to redeem us!

That, above all else, should give us hope!

David's Prayer

Psalm 51:
 1-3Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
   Scrub away my guilt,
      soak out my sins in your laundry.
   I know how bad I've been;
      my sins are staring me down.

 4-6 You're the One I've violated, and you've seen
      it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
   You have all the facts before you;
      whatever you decide about me is fair.
   I've been out of step with you for a long time,
      in the wrong since before I was born.
   What you're after is truth from the inside out.
      Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

 7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I'll come out clean,
      scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life.
   Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
      set these once-broken bones to dancing.
   Don't look too close for blemishes,
      give me a clean bill of health.
   God, make a fresh start in me,
      shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
   Don't throw me out with the trash,
      or fail to breathe holiness in me.
   Bring me back from gray exile,
      put a fresh wind in my sails!
   Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
      so the lost can find their way home.
   Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
      and I'll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
   Unbutton my lips, dear God;
      I'll let loose with your praise.

 16-17 Going through the motions doesn't please you,
      a flawless performance is nothing to you.
   I learned God-worship
      when my pride was shattered.
   Heart-shattered lives ready for love
      don't for a moment escape God's notice.


Unknown said...

WOW! Lynette ~what a powerful post. What version of the Bible is that Psalms passage from? Great words of wisdom.

Anonymous said...

I think anyone who has ever had a forgive someone who has wronged them greatly has had to face this "David" factor. Even if there is a "Nathan" involved. Maybe especially then. If the repentant "David" is now being used by God, something within us protests. Much like the elder brother when the prodigal son returned. I find myself struggling with those same emotions that you described all too often.