The Power of Redemption
My husband and I always joke that it's a good thing we didn't meet in elementary school. Let me explain: Billy was the kid notorious for pulling cards, talking out of turn, and being the life of the party everywhere he went. I, on the other hand, was the kid "those" kids hated; I pulled one card my entire elementary career, cried at the thought of getting in trouble, and worst of all, tattled on those "life of the party" kids. If you had told me at the age of ten that one of those trouble-making boys would one day be my husband, I would've been flabbergasted because clearly, we had nothing in common (and trust me, Billy would say the same about me!) As I've been trekking through the Old Testament, I find myself in a similar mindset wondering how in the world these people and I could have anything in common; our worlds are just too different. But every now and then, I experience a refreshing moment where I find myself relating to an Old Testament character in a way that seems to overshadow all of the extreme differences that we may have. This week's refreshing moment came when reading further into the life of David. Through the mistakes that David made, we see a beautiful foreshadowing of what is to come when Jesus enters our world and turns everything upside down; we once again are offered a glance into the redemptive nature of our God.I wish I could say that I found myself relating to David because I just so closely relate to being a person after God's own heart, but that would be an overt lie. I found myself relating to David because while he did love God and had moments of true faith, as we saw in the book of 1 Samuel, he also had moments where he found himself deeply embedded in a life of sin. In this week's readings, we find the part of David's story that we often "forget" to tell children. You know, the part where he sleeps with a married woman, gets her pregnant, and murders her husband. After David commits these sins, a man named Nathan is sent to confront him. Nathan tells David,
"This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own'" (2 Samuel 12:7-19).
As I read this statement spoken to David from the Lord, my heart sank deep into my chest. Suddenly every contrasting element that separates me from the people in the Old Testament vanished. I began to imagine God speaking this same general statement to me after I commit my deepest and most secret sins. My sins are different from David's, but the overall gist is the same. I imagine God's statement to me would be something like this:
"I set you up for a life of success and have delivered you from the hardships of an absent father. I blessed you with a Christian education, an active and engaged church family, and the rarity of lifelong friends. I gave you Christian mentor upon mentor. And as if this wasn't enough, had you asked, I was happy to give you even more. Yet, knowing the blessings and gifts that I have offered you, you deliberately disobeyed me by turning to the comforts of this world to fulfill your soul. You trusted in human comfort more than you did my own."
Wow. I know the greatness, the blessings, the deliverance that God has given to me, yet in my many moments of weakness I still choose sin over Him, as did David.
While David deserved every bit of truth that the Lord spoke to him, the remarkable thing is God's statement to David does not end there. It continues when Nathan tells him, "The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die" (2 Samuel 12:13). Again, I am reminded that David's story is my own. Thousands and thousands of years ago, God told David that his sin was taken away. Yes, consequences remained, but He would not die because of his sin and in God's eyes, the sins were gone. Thousands and thousands of years later, God tells me the same thing. If I confess my sins, He is faithful and just to forgive them. Not only will He forgive my sins, but He offers me true life in Him. In 2 Samuel 12: 24-25, we learn that Bathsheba gives birth to David's son Solomon, and as 2 Samuel 7 tells us, Jesus Christ Himself would come from the lineage of David. As if forgiveness alone weren't enough, God also took David's worst sin and turned it into something magnificent.
The life and heart of David is a breath-taking story that parallels the very story that you and I live on a daily basis. What's incredible is that this same story is seen all throughout the Bible and in every person who has ever and will ever walk this earth. As Paul says in Romans, "There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23). In a culture where economic status, race, and politics have created a seemingly unmovable hedge between us, the life of David reminds me that the plot of each of our lives is still amazingly the same: God loves us, we rebel, yet He always redeems when we put our faith in Him.