Our local newspaper has started publishing the court proceedings. Apparently they get plenty of irate phone calls from people objecting that their crime and their name are published… Everyone knows what they have done, and they don’t like it.
We saw last week how David’s life spiralled out of control. How one thing led to another and before he knew it, seeing and desiring someone else’s wife led him to murder to cover up what he had done.
26 When Bathsheba heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27 Then after the time for mourning was over, David sent someone to bring her to the palace. She became David’s wife, and they had a son.
The Lord’s Message for David
The Lord was angry at what David had done, 12 1 and he sent Nathan the prophet to tell this story to David:
A rich man and a poor man lived in the same town. 2 The rich man owned a lot of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had only one little lamb that he had bought and raised. The lamb became a pet for him and his children. He even let it eat from his plate and drink from his cup and sleep on his lap. The lamb was like one of his own children.
4 One day someone came to visit the rich man, but the rich man didn’t want to kill any of his own sheep or cattle and serve it to the visitor. So he stole the poor man’s little lamb and served it instead.
5 David was furious with the rich man and said to Nathan, “I swear by the living Lord that the man who did this deserves to die! 6 And because he didn’t have any pity on the poor man, he will have to pay four times what the lamb was worth.”
7 Then Nathan told David:
You are that rich man! Now listen to what the Lord God of Israel says to you: “I chose you to be the king of Israel. I kept you safe from Saul 8 and even gave you his house and his wives. I let you rule Israel and Judah, and if that had not been enough, I would have given you much more. 9 Why did you disobey me and do such a horrible thing? You murdered Uriah the Hittite by having the Ammonites kill him, so you could take his wife.
10 “Because you wouldn’t obey me and took Uriah’s wife for yourself, your family will never live in peace. 11 Someone from your own family will cause you a lot of trouble, and I will take your wives and give them to another man before your very eyes. He will go to bed with them while everyone looks on. 12 What you did was in secret, but I will do this in the open for everyone in Israel to see.”
13-14 David said, “I have disobeyed the Lord.”
“Yes, you have!” Nathan answered. “You showed you didn’t care what the Lord wanted. He has forgiven you, and you won’t die.”
That awful moment when realisation dawns… When you realise where life has got to… How did you get here?
And so, for David, the penny drops.
As Nathan tells him the story about a rich man taking the one thing a poor man has, David’s righteous indignation kicks in. He demands that the rich man must pay for the injustice he has done – he will make sure of it.
Ah! Awkward. It’s him. He is the one who has committed such an atrocity. He had been trusted to be the King, he had so much – and yet he still wanted something else, and stopped at nothing to cover his tracks. And for that there is a price to pay.
David thought what he’s done was secret, that no one else would know – but now it’s going to become very public.
How embarrassing and humiliating. Can you imagine a list of the things you have done wrong being published for everyone to see?
And yet for David there is good news,
God has forgiven you.
Wow! That’s unexpected. We’d be expecting him to get his comeuppance, for his crime to be punished.
Yes there will be consequences to his actions, but he is forgiven.
David, who conspired to murder for his own selfish reasons, is forgiven by God. As he realises he has disobeyed him, God forgives.
That forgiveness is not just for David – it is for each one of us.
Are you carrying around guilt or embarrassment for something you’ve got wrong? It may be as big as murder, or it may be much smaller, but still the humiliation and guilt weigh us down.
God forgives you!
Yes you, and whatever it is you have done. As we come in acknowledgement, knowing we’ve got it wrong, God welcomes you, wraps his arms of love around you and forgives you.
I know I’ve got things wrong,
maybe not big things,
or maybe they are…
But I come to you,
acknowledging what I have done,
pleading your forgiveness
and receiving it
– that I may go in peace,
Thank you for forgiving me