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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

“Return to Slavery”

II Sam. 12:1-15

The good news is that God has not abandoned David as he had abandoned Saul. God however will call David to account. On a human level he is guilty of rape, deceit and murder. However, on a spiritual level he has despised the word of the Lord and done what is evil. He has in fact despised God himself. The other hopeful point here is that David has not lost all sense of justice. He has not become totally corrupt (which will be the case with some of the later kings). When Nathan tells him the story of the poor man whose lamb is taken by the rich man David respond with righteous indignation and anger. He is outraged at this injustice. It is then that Nathan confronts David with the judgment, “You are the man!”

David finally acknowledges his sin. Nathan assures David that he will not die. Yet there will be terrible consequences of David’s actions. These include rape and murder in his family, among his own children. War will arise. David will have to endure all of this. God obviously is overseeing the judgement but these consequences arise inevitably out of David’s actions. He is tragically reaping what he has sown (Gal. 6:7).

God does not play favorites. David is very special to God. God however judges him the way he would judge anyone else. David is not exempt. David will suffer and suffer greatly. While these are the consequences of his own actions David is not the one making atonement for what he has done. God has forgiven him and forgiven him freely. David will confess fully and completely in the 51st psalm. There David offers a “broken and a contrite heart.”

David could not communicate to us the grace and mercy of God. He was too flawed to do so. The same is true of everyone in the Old Testament including Abraham, Moses and Daniel. During this Advent season we need to look into our own hearts. The darkness still exists inside us. We will not be helped by moral examples. In fact, all of them are flawed. We need a Savior. This is the story that Matthew is preparing to tell in his gospel.

Loving and merciful God, I see the darkness in my own heart. May the light of Jesus Christ shine into me during this Advent season preparing me for his coming. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.