DAVID…Shepherd, musician, poet, warrior, King, adulterer, murderer, forgiven sinner
My purpose in these studies about “God’s Comeback Kids” is not intended to be an exhaustive biography. At best, these are only brief sketches, designed to answer simple questions about how some of the best know examples of faith sometimes blundered or had their vision blurred. You’ve noticed that once someone has faltered or failed, or has been brutally treated, I began to look for clues about how they managed their crises, and how they were able to recover spiritual balance, courage, hope and direction. I’ve also attempted to learn from their experience and apply the lessons they learned to my life. And, if what I’ve discovered is worthwhile, I share it with you gladly.
Having said that, you’ll see some things I don’t, and won’t, address. The violence, especially in the Old Testament is sometimes troubling to me. The crude customs baffle and occasionally amuse me.* There are times when I simply do not understand what God is doing, or why. . . and am not too proud to admit that. Nor is there anyone among my acquaintances or among the numbers of scholars whose lectures I’ve heard or whose books I’ve studied who can claim such understanding.
Sometimes Scripture is tough reading. It’s a rough assignment to try to polish it up and make sense out of some things, or make some actions sound holy or sacred or even civilized. But it is in the real world that God makes His presence a reality. It is through (and to) flawed humans that God speaks. It is into the midst of the havoc humans wreak that the Son of God enters the fray. Out of the wreckage and carnage we make when we ignore His holy and clear commands He can erect something holy, beautiful, useful and inspiring.
Without reluctance, I concede the fact that God is God and I am not. And when a truth is visible, clear and unclouded, my intention is to discover it and attempt to accept and apply it directly and correctly everywhere it is most evidently needed in my life. That is my choice. Others may take another approach. I do not see the wisdom or necessity of tying my mind in knots, or trying to untangle all the great, hidden mysteries and deliberately overlooking the great, equally profound, easily grasped “simplicities.”
The story of David’s life, feats and defeats, accomplishments and failures, is recorded in the Biblical books of I and II Samuel. In earlier posts I considered the beautiful comment about David being “a man after God’s own heart.” That struck me as central to his character. It was true of him almost all his life, and when he faltered and fell that must have been a key to his comeback. Since the compliment seemed so important, it captured my thinking from the very beginning of my study of King David.
While I’ve been raising a question about how some of the most prominent figures in Biblical history wavered under pressure, I’ve also been asking how they came back once they failed. The things we do and say sometimes contradict what we believe. And who we really are. In times of great weakness, or temptation, we may buckle. It seems, though, that David’s most defining character trait was: “He was a man after God’s own heart.”
Scripture never trivializes sin of any description. It never overlooks sin, even the “small” ones we take for granted. It paints an accurate picture of man at his weakest, worst and darkest moments. But on the other hand, there is the consistent declaration of a Love which knows no boundaries. The Bible tells of a God whose grace is greater than all our sin. It records a long history of Redemption, of a loving God who will forgive and cleanse those who come honestly to grips with their sin, recognize it for what it is, and repent.
David did all those things. The story of his comeback does not gloss over the grave sins he committed. I’ll talk about that next time, and I’ll share some more results of my examination of this forgiven sinner who came back from really terrible mistakes to be forgiven and restored. He really is one of “God’s Comeback Kids.”
In the meanwhile, a friend has helped me set up a website for the book I’ve been writing. You’re invited to visit http://www.godscomebackkids.com or http://www.godscomebackkids.org when you have time. We can begin taking orders for God’s Comeback Kids now with about a two week delivery time expected. If you have occasion to visit the site, you must already know that I would greatly value any suggestions you make or try to answer any questions.
God’s servant and son, your friend and fellow student, ~donkimrey
*One example of what I’m saying is the “dowry” Saul asked of David when trying to marry off one of his daughters. David had no money. He had no blue blooded references or credentials to offer. For devious reasons, Saul suggested an alternative: namely: “Go out and bring back one hundred (100) foreskins from Phillistine warriors!” David must have been pretty motivated. He went out with a few troops and pretty soon came back with two hundred (200) of those suckers! So help me, I winced. And then my imagination wandered and I wondered: “What on earth would Saul do with all those things! Make key chains? They’d hardly seem like appropriate wall decorations, even with ornate frames and under glass! The prospect of sautéing them cost me my appetite. And, I thought, “We used to think Indians were savage for taking scalps!”
I’ve already told you the Bible is straightforward. I believe it is the inspired Word of God. But I bet you’ll never hear this story in Sunday School!