Sunday, May 6, 2018
Sunday message- what God saw
Today, I want to expand on questions that came to me from Wednesday's Bible study, Basically, my thought that Michal got the short end of things from David. And as I thought about it, a lot of other people did, too. And some didn't. Joab killed Abner and got a stern talking to. Amnon raped his half-sister, stern talking to. Absalom revolted... you guessed it. In the meantime, the sons of Merab got hung, Nabal was going to have all his men slaughtered for not feeding David's men. Tamar, Michal, the ten concubines that he left for Absalom to rape in public, all got the Hebrew equivalent of the medieval "trip to the convent." And the guys that killed rival king Ishbosheth- and the poor slob that brought the news of Absalom's death- Hebrew cement shoes.
And it made me question what God saw in David in the first place. NEVER question God.
But I did. And in praying about it, I was led to this idea- go to Psalms. Check the subscripts where it described "a Psalm of David when such and such happened." So I tried that.
There are a LOT of such subscripts. I started taking notes.
Ps 3: A Psalm of David, when he fled from his son Absalom. While his enemies said he had no hope in God, He slept, secure in God's protection.
Ps 7: A song of David, which he sang to Jehovah, concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite. He asked God and himself, were the accusations true- was it his fault? He trusted in God to "establish the just."
Ps 30: A Psalm and Song at the dedication of the House of David. Praising God, because "His anger is only a moment; in His favor is life."
Ps 51: To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. He acknowledged his sin; he asked God to blot it out.
Ps 56: To the Chief Musician. Concerning the silent dove, those far off. Of David, a secret treasure, when the Philistines took him in Gath. A most beautiful passage I never noticed before:
56:8 (CEV) You have kept record of my days of wandering. You have stored my tears in your bottle and counted each of them.
But I was getting no closer, so I thought, to David's character. So I looked into the wives. Three of them actually have something told about them in the Bible, and it was interesting how they fit into the scheme of things. Michal was the King's daughter- she would bring legitimacy to David's future rule. Abigail was the wife of a rich fool who died; David got a lot of bank when he married her. Bathsheba, her he married for lust. One rabbi speculated that the bath she was taking on the roof was ritual purification from menstruation- in other words, she knew he'd be looking, she knew she was fertile. Oh, and I learned in my research that she knew she wouldn't be charged with adultery (thus any child would be legit) because EVERY soldier- including Uriah the Hittite- gave their wives a certificate of divorce when they went to war, so they wouldn't have to be classified as a widow if worse came to worse.
But I digress. None of that brought me any closer to the answer I sought- although I was reminded that much of what happened to these "victims of David" was the culture of the day- much of it unchanged even when Jesus walked the mean streets of Jerusalem.
And I went back to prayer. And God sent me back to that same place, to look at those same subscripted Psalms. And I re-asked the question- what did God see in David?
- A man that trusted Him in extremis.
- A man unafraid to self-examine, and confess his faults.
- A man that praised God not only when things were good, but when he hoped in things becoming good.
- A man who saw his life in God's hands- and those hands as loving.
- And a man who was truly, deeply hurt when he sinned, because he viewed that sin for what it was- directly aimed at a God who loved him.
Did God see David as perfect? Not by a long shot; even in his obedience as a warrior, God told him that that disqualified him for building a Temple for the King of Peace.
Did God let him off scot-free after forgiving him? Ask the three sons that died as a result of his sins.
But- and here's the OTHER lesson to be learned here- only one sin did he REALLY get busted for- the Bathsheba sin. And why? Not because it was adultery, not because it was second-degree murder. BECAUSE it was the sin he REFUSED to confess. After all the times he bid God to examine him for any HINT of sin, this time he cut God out.
Think about it this way. Adam started the line of Man; David started the line of the Messiah. Adam sinned and hid; David sinned and hid. When exposed, Adam made excuses.
When exposed, David begged forgiveness like he never had before.
Adam acted out of fear of his consequences; David out of shame for hurting a God that loved him so much. THAT'S what God saw in David.