Today’s Readings: 2 Samuel 12 and Hebrews 3:1-6
“Mum will always know …” I can still hear my mother’s voice when as a child, she would remind me that no matter where I went, what I did or who I was with, she would always know … and she did! As a child I hadn’t grasped the concept of networks and ‘degrees of separation’; the complex web of relationships which meant that sooner or later, Mum would know. And then the question would be asked …. and all would be revealed. I can’t recall there ever being anything sinister, and it wasn’t necessarily that I was doing anything wrong at the time BUT … one decision can lead to another and before long you can find yourself where you never wanted to be.
We pick up the story of David with Nathan the prophet approaching him with great wisdom and certainly with great courage, because he knew what had transpired and needed to hold David accountable for his actions; actions where one wrong decision lead to a web of deceit and eventual tragedy; actions which highlight how easy is can be for power to drive greed.
And so for David, the predictions started to quickly unfold of the consequences of his actions, which would continue to unfold in the ensuing chapters. With the death of Bathsheba and David’s illegitimate child we read of the incredible grief of a father’s deep love for his baby, as well as his intense care and love for Bathsheba. But we also get a glimpse of God’s great compassion in responding to a repentant heart and that with true repentance comes forgiveness.
Psalm 51 is David’s cry of deep remorse and sorrow; a cry that acknowledges guilt without excuse, and appeals to the character of God (take time as some stage to read the whole Psalm).
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” Psalm 51:1-2
And as we read future (can I hear you singing?) …
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit in me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me”. vv 10-12
But whilst punishing David, God would still fulfil the earlier promise made to David.
“The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” 2 Samuel 7:12-13
And so in spite of David’s actions, God’s promise and plan would continue to unfold; this promise fulfilled with the birth of another son, Solomon. The message given to David through Nathan is the indicator which points to the fact that it is this son, Solomon who is the one chosen by God to be the next king.
“Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and lay with her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him …” 2 Samuel 12:24
And this is the way it is for us too. We are all flawed; we all make mistakes; there are times when we are totally ashamed of our actions. But forgiveness for us is not delivered through a prophet but rather at and through the cross.
If we are prepared to listen to those who speak into our life; have spiritually mature people to walk with us and hold us accountable for our behaviour; accept and understand that there is a God ready to forgive us too, if we are prepared to come to him with a contrite and remorseful heart as we acknowledge our flaws, brokenness and mistakes THEN there is forgiveness.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God you do not despise.” Psalm 51:17
And finally the invitation from Jesus …
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Can I encourage you to make my prayer your prayer too …. that as I find myself facing the consequences of my decisions, I won’t seek to look for excuses; that I will take full responsibility before you God and others for my actions and reactions; that I will have the humility to seek both your forgiveness and the forgiveness of those I have wronged. Amen