The king took the wife of one of his devoted bodyguards, while that same bodyguard was away, risking his life, fighting his king’s battle. When pregnancy resulted, the king schemed to try to avoid responsibility.

When all his cover-up schemes failed, due to the integrity and commitment of his bodyguard, murderous thoughts entered the mind of the king who, remarkably, had once prayed, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

He had also once prayed, “May those who hope in You not be disgraced because of me…”

He did it. He took the life of his devoted servant and those that surrounded him in battle. Months went by. The baby was born. A prophet came to see the king with a case to be decided by his majesty. The king had absolutely no difficulty determining the guilty party in the case and quickly rendered the verdict...”Guilty!”

It was then the prophet (no doubt looking him squarely in the eye and pointing a long, bony finger in his face) exclaimed, “You are the man!” He proceeded to outline the king’s evil. The king could not contain his guilt and shame any longer. “I have sinned against Jehovah” (2 Samuel 12:13). Immediately the prophet gives God’s reply, “Jehovah also has put away your sin. You shall not die.”

As I return, again and again, to this story of hideous, heinous sin on the part of King David, whose life had been an incredible example of faith in, love toward and service to Jehovah, I am repeatedly struck speechless in amazement. I find myself wanting to suggest to God that He shouldn’t have forgiven and spared David. Do you ever feel that way?

I think that we would have loved to have had David for a song-leader in our church anytime...anytime that is, before the sin and cover-up in the Bathsheba affair. But after that, I truly wonder if we would permit him entrance into our building. How would we look at him? Would we want him to teach us or our children? How could we be sure he had truly repented? How could we be sure that his terrible sins didn’t define him...that he was more, much more than that?

God is still teaching me lessons from this horrible period in David’s life. Here are a few of them. First, we are not more righteous than God! Even in the face of such mind-boggling sins, when God forgave and spared David, it was absolutely the right thing to do. My trouble in understanding that arises from my limited knowledge and not from anything wrong that God did. We are not to learn that we are permitted to go out and commit shocking sins and presume upon the grace of God...that He will always accept us back no matter what.

But we are to learn that God’s grace in Christ is able to purge the most horrible of sins...the most destructive of sins...for every person who comes to him in faith, acknowledging their sin and accepting God’s way to forgiveness. And I think this lesson is there for us as well...I believe that no human was more shocked and disgusted by David’s sins than David. For him to actually, ultimately, accept God’s forgiveness was a great example of faith.

For him to go on in life...fulfilling the role God had given him truly showed others that no matter how horrible their sin, they, too, could be helped, forgiven and go on to serve God in life. Does anyone need to know this?

Written and submitted by Doug Oakes, minister, Woodlawn Church of Christ, Zanesville; email my7acorns@gmail.com

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