Lust, infidelity, murder, rape, incest…All of this is a part of our reading today. None of it is easy to read. Most of it is descriptive of what was happening in the lives of the people of God. The events of our reading today broke the heart of God then…and they continue to break the heart of God now.
As humans, we have the capacity for so much love and compassion and comfort. At the same time we have the same capacity for heartache, hurt and damaging actions. The same David who beat Goliath out of a heart for God is the same David who lusted after Bathsheba, took advantage of her and cowardly killed her husband.
In recent years, as I have read scripture, I have started asking myself 2 questions.
- What does this passage reveal about me and my character?
- What does this passage reveal about the character of God.
I can honestly say that I have not had an affair nor have I murdered anyone. Being a follower of Jesus, however, does not mean that I am immune to the sins of those we see in others. Comparing myself to David and thinking, “hey! At least I’m not that bad!” Is missing the point. I am no better than David. I have sinned and continue to sin in ways that cause hurt and damage to others. I have to allow God to reveal in me what needs changing and confessing. The specific sin is not the point here (although it was a big deal and reveals the pride that David had allowed to take root in his heart). The point is that sin is in all of us and we must take stock before the Lord and with His guidance, confess and make amends.
What this passage reveals about God is His miraculous ability to love in the midst of the hurt and pain and forgive what to us would feel like the unforgivable sin. Our God is for us. He created us on purpose and for a purpose. His heart is for a renewed connection with us. Sometimes that looks like confronting us about our behavior. Other times it looks like being extra near and compassionate. God is forgiving (a characteristic we cherish for ourselves and sometimes are bitter about when it is for someone else).
I don’t know about you, but this confrontational and compassionate God is what I need. I need a God who is different than me. A God who is not trapped in human frailty and pride but stands outside it always seeking for connection with us. David continued to suffer the consequences of his actions even after he was forgiven and restored by God. His children suffered. We will continue to suffer…because we are broken people living in a broken world.
Our God is NOT broken. His love is pure and His ways are good. That’s what I read in this passage today. Praise God!!
Dear God, thank you for being a God that stands outside our brokenness but loves us so much willingly enters in the bring healing through confrontation and comfort and love. May we take stock of our lives with the help of your spirit to discern any ways you desire for us to go. Convict us of sin that hurts ourselves, others and you. With your compassion and love, lead us in a new way of living. Amen.