Again, I come to you to share a recent personal epiphany during my devotional time a few weeks ago! It brought tears of joy to my eyes. Now comes a challenge to put it succinctly into human words that can only poorly describe Divinity. But I must try!
David had such a wealth of memories of God’s protection from Saul, of extra strength given to kill beasts of prey to protect his sheep, of God’s guidance as he killed Goliath, an enemy of God. In 2 Samuel 11 we read of David’s sad journey into adultery and murder! You may recall he wrote orders for Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, to be placed in the front line of battle and then to be deserted so that death was a certain outcome. You might counter that David had tried repeatedly to get Uriah to visit his wife while on furlough in Jerusalem. David hoped Uriah would go home, sleep with his wife and be comforted from his battles and then assume, along with everyone else, that the baby Bathsheba was carrying was his own. But Uriah could not avail himself of privileges not available to his buddies back on the battlefield. Nothing could get him to waver in his loyalty to those who were fighting to protect his own family and home.
One cannot help but admire the integrity of Uriah. God was not pleased with David and through the prophet Nathan’s parable about a rich man who took a family pet – a lamb – killed it, and served it to his guests, David pronounced his own verdict. David said “As surely as the Lord lives, any man who would do such a thing deserves to die!” The prophet said “You are that man!” The words of God are then quoted: “I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you his house, his wives, and his entire kingdom. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed? FOR YOU HAVE MURDERED URIAH and STOLEN his wife. From this time on, the sword will be a constant threat to your family, because you have DESPISED ME by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own. Because of what you have done, I, the Lord, will cause your own household to rebel against you. …”
God’s words of rebuke were exceedingly clear and strong. The very next words are “Then David confessed to Nathan. … And Nathan replied, ‘Yes, but the Lord HAS FORGIVEN YOU and you won’t die for this sin. But you have given the enemies of the Lord great opportunity to despise and blaspheme Him. So your child will die.’ “
Once God “dealt” with David’s sin warning of coming consequences (trouble in his own household etc.), God’s words regarding David were consistently positive ones! However, the consequences of his sin changed David’s position. He no longer disciplined his children with authority. Because of his own actions, he couldn’t deal with Amnon’s incestuous rape of Tamar. Others meted punishment to Amnon – mainly Absalom. And then Absalom’s life was miserable after that. If David could only have realized what misery would result from his indiscretion, he might have exercized stronger self control.
And David himself doesn’t bring up that part of his life, instead, in the Psalms he frequently says things like chapter 119:101,102 “I have refused to walk on any path of evil, that I may remain obedient to Your Word. I haven’t turned away from Your laws, for You have taught me well.”
God never again in scripture accused David of murder. For example, a paraphrase of Isa.37:35 could be: “for My own honor and for the sake of my adulterous, murdering servant, David.” Be sure and re-read it as it is written below. Amazingly, I don’t believe God ever referred to David’s sin again. He frequently states things like (2Kings 22:2 & 2 Chron 34:1,2) “He (King Josiah) did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did NOT turn aside from DOING WHAT WAS RIGHT.”
Through the hundreds of years of “Kings” following David’s death, examples of respect shown for David’s work are many, for example: Read 2 Chron. 29:25-30 where King Hezekiah used all kinds of instruments designed by David. 2 Chron. 35:4 Josiah said “Report for duty…following the written instructions of King David of Israel….”
In I Chron. 28:9, 10, and 19 we learn that DAVID received detailed instructions for the building of the temple, and the organization of the priests and the musicians in GOD’S HANDWRITING! So why is it that DAVID seems to be given ALL the credit in the scriptures for following directions he received IN God’s handwriting?? Interesting, isn’t it? Perhaps God honored David in that way to soften the consequences of David’s sins.
In 1 Kings 15:3-5 lies a passage that DOES NOT appear to be a direct quote from God, but rather the words of the author of the book(s) of Kings who STILL SEES DAVID’S SIN. That’s the way we human beings are: it’s hard to accept that God no longer sees the sin!!! It is human nature to view sinners (even repentant sinners) as less deserving of salvation or less deserving of being a leader in the family of God!
Although I haven’t actually counted the times the names of Moses and David occur in scripture in both the Old and New Testaments, I’m pretty sure David’s name appears more frequently than Moses! Often God positively compares David’s record with that of other kings. Or He would move to defend Israel “for My own honor and for the sake of my servant David…” (Isa. 37:35) Or He would refer to Jerusalem as the City of David!
God knows the ones He entrusts with His truth and chooses those who are meek and humble. Isn’t that true? Perfect people? Well, Biblical people are not perfect. Otherwise how would we know that our sins CAN be completely FORGOTTEN!!!!!!!
Finally, here’s my E P I P H A N Y !!! When our confession is sincere, (God sees the heart) God accepts our confession and “throws our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:18-20).” Here’s my conclusion: GOD GOES WAY BEYOND FORGIVING US!!!! When GOD looks at us (all sinners), He does not see the repented sin, but sees the righteousness of Christ covering the sincere repentant sinner. David had a totally restored relationship to God AFTER SINNING BIG TIME! Awesome God!
For further amazement – PLEASE READ 2 Chron.33! It won’t take long. What an honor it is to know the Lord and to see His compassion and greatness!
DO take this personally: God doesn’t want us to live out our lives carrying around guilt. Remember that He freely forgives and then doesn’t even SEE the sin after our relationship to Him is restored (Micah 7:18-20) through the process he gave us: l John 1:9 (confessing, repenting and accepting forgiveness). In our cleansed state, we can truly say that we own a CLEAN SLATE!!!! and we get another chance…and another… Comfort those who may have been hurt by your sin, but KNOW that the guilt has been laid on the scape goat. …But that’s another story!!
May God give us peace and trust. May we sleep well in His love (Ps. 66:8 & 9).