Psalm 61:3

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; for You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.

Monday, September 1, 2014

You Are Not King David

The Biblical David is a favorite for many people.  And who can blame them?  He is courageous, handsome, intelligent, charismatic, and eventually, powerful and rich.  Most men want to be him and most women want to be married to him. So it is no wonder that upon reading the history of David people want to identify with him.

And so they begin to make comparisons from their life to his. He becomes a model for their life so that they can justify certain behaviors or certain personality traits. "Well, David was passionate, so I can be passionate too."  That sort of thing.

The problem with people, no matter how good their intentions, comparing themselves to King David is that, well, they are not David!  Certainly the Lutheran Confessions mention that Christians can use the saints of years gone by as examples, but that is according to their vocation, not their life in general.  So, unless you are a shepherd, king, or polygamist, you are out of luck.

You see, David was no man of ordinary calling, like most of us.  He was the king of Israel.  More than that, however, he was a messiah, an anointed one chosen by God to fulfill a needed role in the history of God's people.  David saves Israel from their encroaching enemies, establishes a stable government, and paves the way for the birth of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) nearly one thousand years later.

So you and I do not have much in common with David.  If you are ever elected President of the United States, then maybe, but until then, no.

What we do have in common with David is our humanity, and along with that a sinful nature.  David is far from an ideal figure.  He is impulsive, selfish, an adulterer, and a murderer to name a few.  What we can learn from David is mostly in his relationship to God through repentance and faith.

When David is confronted with his sins at various times, either by a prophet's word or simple common sense, he repents.  He acknowledges his sin and laments it.  It pains him to have committed such grievous acts.  He throws himself on God's mercy, trusting that he will be forgiven.  And when he receives absolution for his transgressions, David also accepts the temporal punishment for his sin, no matter how horrible it may be.  

This is important, because I think this is precisely the point we often miss as Christians.  If we are forgiven for our sins then life should just go on hunk-dory, right?  No.  There are still temporal punishments, bad things that happen here and now, because we screw up.  And we need to accept these as discipline from our heavenly Father who loves us and wants us to learn to flee from sin.

Some of David's temporal punishments were the death of an infant son, a son raped a daughter, a son murdered a son, a son slept with his concubines after stealing his throne, and that same son was later killed in battle.  Also there was a three day plague towards the end of his life, showing that when the king sins it is more often the people who suffer.  It was all pretty harsh.

Through it all David continued to acknowledge his own sin and rely on God's mercy.  He knew that he deserved much worse than he got.

Remember that the next time you need to repent.  Admit your sin.  Soak up the infinite mercy of God in the blood of Jesus.  And accept the temporal punishments that may come.  They may seem harsh at the time, but they are discipline from your heavenly Father, merciful instruction from God's hand, that we (and the people of God around us) would learn to detest sin.

So, you are not King David.  But you are human.  

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