2 Samuel 11 & 12
Oh, King David had done it now. At the time when all the kings had gone out in battle to protect their land or overtake others’, David opted to stay home and take a walk on his roof. As his men valiantly fought for their king and country, David, safe and cozy in Jerusalem, sauntered high above all and discovered a beautiful woman bathing in a nearby home below. We know the rest of the story. David exercised his royal authority to “take” Bathsheba and had what amounted to a one-night-stand that resulted in her pregnancy. What followed next has the makings of 21stcentury reality television. David attempted to manufacture a fix-all by calling Bathsheba’s husband (and loyal fighting soldier) home for a quick meeting with David and night with his wife. He was so hoping his manipulations would provide a tidy explanation for Bathsheba’s unexpected pregnancy, but Uriah did not cooperate and did not visit his wife. In desperation, David promptly had him sent to the front lines where he perished quickly in a battle set up to accomplish just that, and David took Bathsheba as his own wife.
Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. This is my favorite line of this entire portion of scripture. I look at David’s disobedience to the Lord and the resulting deaths it caused, and I shudder to think of the repercussions for David. Honestly, I would not be surprised if God threw in the David towel, turned His back and left David to reap his consequences and dig himself out of his mess alone. But God didn’t do that.
The LORD sent Nathan to David.
Nathan was a prophet who spoke words that quickly caused David to humble himself and repent. Because of that, God forgave him. Unfathomable. I am still taken aback at the willingness of a holy, righteous, just God to forgive such an egregious sin as murder. What kind of love is that? What kind of love looks at something so tragic and premeditated, and instead of dismissing or abandoning, says, “I love you. Give it to me. I forgive you”? Then He allows a repaired relationship to boot! It gives me such hope as I look at all the ways that despite my good intentions, I sometimes still willingly choose sin over simple obedience. God sees the repentant heart and chooses to forgive and restore relationship with Himself.
Unfortunately, although David was forgiven, he still had to face the consequences of his sin. I wish forgiveness were always accompanied by complete removal of any kind of fallout. I hate pain. But what I’m learning about discipline and consequences is that they’re not mean. They’re not vindictive. Just like everything else God does, they are born out of a heart of love for His children. The discipline He lets us endure is solely for our benefit – to bring us back into emotional closeness with him. It’s only when we let Him draw us close that He can wrap His arms around us, comfort us, heal us and get us back on our spiritual feet. Even discipline is love when handed out by our loving Father.
A Few Questions To Ponder and Pray
~In what area of your life have you been tempted to believe God to be mean? Ask Him where He was in that area.
~Is there something of which you need to repent so God can draw you near and heal?
~Where in your life have you seen God’s love and tenderness in the midst of His discipline? Thank Him for the forgiveness and restored relationship.
Father, I pray that as we go about our day, we would remember the truth of your love for us, even when we royally mess everything up. I pray we would hear your gentle and corrective voice, repent and receive the restored closeness to you you're offering. Thank you that even your discipline is love to us. Amen.