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David, Bathsheba, and Uriah..

David, Bathsheba, and Uriah

In one of the darkest hours of his life, King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband, Uriah, killed. And then this happened:

“ The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor.  The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”

After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill.    II Samuel 12:1-15 , NIV

David was in love with God. And yet, David made many “mistakes” and committed crimes.  I find that somewhat comforting.  You might hear it said that a man in love with God never messes up, but David’s life encourages me!  He took a census —- something that God did not want—— and 70,000 innocent people died of the plague because of it!   And despite his sexual provocations (Baathseba),  poor parenting (Absalom),  arrogance (the census), and even murder (Uriah) he did love God, was able to see the ineptitude of his actions, accept responsibility and humble himself before God. That’s what men and women of leadership are supposed to do!

But here’s the point: He took responsibility, he repented, he tried to make things right and he was in love with His Creator. God can use a scoundrel;  a scoundrel can still do great things; scoundrels are able to change; nothing can separate us from the love of God once we have fallen in love with Him—even if we do some very dim-witted things at times.   I do not brag in this matter, but I confess that I am in love with Him and whereas I have failed to be the perfect man I hoped to be, my prayer is that OTHERS see that I am in love with Him…………and seek to fall in love with Him without worrying about their own clay feet—we all have them!  We must be in love with God and show it if we want  to help others find Him..

And yet, over the past two weeks we’ve witnessed a tragedy within a very prominent and well-known Christian institution in our nation.  At the largest Evangelical University in USA, the President has been forced to resign.  But not before the president went to every liberal television and radio station in the country and made a real stink out of how he was entitled to his salary, how he had not technically done anything wrong, and how that what he did was all in good fun.

The arrogance, pride and sense of being above the rules and laws that accompany great success and respect is disgusting  What an embarrassment all of us in Christian ministry are experiencing because of not only what he did, but also how he has responded to the confrontations.

The use of $30,000,000 yacht that he rented $50,000 per weekend?  A private jet? A $10,000,000 severance pay for getting caught for being a buffoon?  This same man begged for money for his university and then spent the resources like this?  The more I read about this the more my stomach churns. 

None of us are at liberty to judge anyone’s heart, and King David was just as foolhardy, I suppose as this man and the rest of us,  but here’s the difference: When confronted by the prophet, Nathan, David was ashamed, repented and put up no defense or fight.  It appears that the president of this conservative, Christian university is fighting, demanding his salary, denying many of the embarrassing claims and in general acting no different than any other common man would act caught in such a scandal. In fact, he has commented several times that he is not an ordained pastor, but rather an attorney and businessman by training. But it’s not supposed to be this way in the Christian community!  Banker, attorney, contractor, teacher—-if we bear the name of Christ we’re supposed to be ambassadors for Christ.

I am not free from sin, and if not for the covering of the blood of Jesus and His redemptive work I would be guilty of far more egregious behavior than this university president.  And whereas I am not a man that has encountered great “success” in any regard, surely it is possible to succeed in this life and not lose one’s head. It is within the reach of a man or woman, dedicated to Jesus Christ, to be committed and devoted to Him regardless of all the prosperity, acclaim, admiration and “getting ahead” that can happen in this upside-down world.  And the greatest testimony is not the one of man who was once a drunk, or addict, or criminal, or mass murderer that came to Christ and was transformed. The greater testimony   is from the one who came to Christ young and has lead a constant, unsullied, dedicated walk with Jesus Christ. They are the heroes and the ones that should be writing biographies and giving interviews.

And yet most of the Christians I know that have made a fortune, or wildly succeeded in their careers, or witnessed their own ministries expand exponentially, tend to have fallen more in love with themselves than God and are quick to point out their own abilities and hard work as the real reason behind their success.  Most become less generous, and they seem to believe the tempter as he whispers to them that  they are somehow quite talented, gifted, disciplined and deserving of all that they’ve acquired.

History is littered with narratives of men who ruined their lives by their own bad choices and their insincere or feeble attempts to make amends when confronted.  And yet there are also shining examples of men that once acted like an idiot, acknowledged it, experienced agonizing remorse and then repented and asked for God’s mercy and the mercy of those they offended—but they’re a small minority.  Now, gentlemen, which are we?  Do we admit our errors and ask for forgiveness?  Do we admit to the ones we hurt that we were wrong?  Jesus told us to “leave your gift at the alter and first be reconciled to the one(s) we injured”.  He makes no mention of what we are to do if the ones we hurt refuse to accept our apology, instead you get the idea that He was in effect saying, “offer them an apology and recompense that they can’t refuse”. Do you go and make an apology with that kind of heart, or is your motivation more legalistic and mechanical.  

Are those we have elected or elevated to hero status men and women like this?  Do they humbly admit their errors and seek reconciliation? I have not heard  or seen that from our national, religious or institutional leaders——have you?

Friends, we’re saved to do good things, and one of the good things God expects from us is honesty.  Are we telling the truth and do we expect it from fellow believers. The second thing that God expects from us is humble confession when we are to be doing something that is not good.

Paul reminds the Christian that as the redeemed we’re supposed to do the right thing, obey the laws and do good!  “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone….. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good…..”

Every follower of Jesus Christ should be devoted to doing what is good. And if I am not I am a stumbling block for those that want to see Jesus! —-and God have mercy upon me…

You can’t be sure of what your fellow man will do if you offend them and apologize—some folks hold onto hurts like coins in their pockets—it gives them a sense of security in that they can always use that offense as an excuse for their own failures in their lives or somehow have an advantage over you.  But God’s not like this. He will forgive us—-and yet there are consequences——David’s son died for David’s sin—sometimes the innocent pay the price .    God’s son died for my sins and yours…….Now you think about that this week when you do something that is not good.  A son had to die to make it right.

I would like to make one more point, if I can, we all need a Nathan in our life. To his credit, David revered and respected Nathan. The prophet spoke and David listened. Unlike Saul, David did not whine or try to make an excuse—-he took the words from Nathan as being words from God and he listened to Nathan. David had no better friend than Nathan—-Nathan spoke the truth. We need Nathan’s in our lives and the lives of our nation.  Pray that God sends a Nathan into President Trump’s life, if He has not yet, and that our President responds like David did. And pray that God gives you a Nathan in your life—-and even perhaps that you become a Nathan to someone you love…

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