Yeah. That David.
For years, I have heard Christians singing David's unending praises. Oh, he was such a man after God's own heart. Oh, he was such a psalmist, such a worshipper, such a great leader...
...to which my usual response was to cross my arms, arch my eyebrows and shoot back, "Let's walk through his rap sheet, shall we?"
Yes, he was the amazing boy-warrior who killed Goliath. Pow. Right between the eyes. And being the bully-hater that I am, I admit that's one heck of a story. Love it. But that was only one story about David.
Quick-tempered, he almost slaughtered Nabal's whole family for not giving him...wait for it...lunch.
He was Mr. GQ, strutting on his roof and ogling the hottie taking her bath. Behold, the king becomes the wolf.
He's the scheming "other guy" who put aforementioned hottie's hubby out on the front lines on purpose to cover up his villainy. Dirty deeds done dirt cheap.
And his children. Yikes!
Absalom: thankless, rebellious, dishonoring kingdom-usurper
Amnon: sister-raping thug
Solomon: 700-timing, pagan-god-worshipping pleasure-seeker
Not much quality discipling by Dad back at the old palace, huh, boys? The best shepherd has his black sheep. Even Jesus had Judas. But three? For.crying.out.loud.
So. It's pretty easy to see that King David was no saint. What was it, then, about this man who could fall so fast and so far that made him a man after God's own heart? It has long been one of my irksome questions. I've read the life of David and scratched my head often over this puzzling description.
But I was determined to find the answer. And as I began to search, I made this startling discovery. David hated his sin. He hated it with a passion. When he was rebuked, one thing was sure. He was repentant. He was not one to toss a trifling "sorry" at God and go on with his day. No, David's sin would prostrate him on his face, grieving and repenting before the Holy God he knew he had sinned against. David's response to his sin wrung all the angst we find in the Psalms from him. David hated what God hated: sin.
And he basked in God's forgiveness.
I finally get it.
I'm finishing up a private study of Romans--with a little help from my friends Matthew Henry and Johnny Mac--and I'm taking one final trip through each chapter. Yesterday, I read through Romans 3 and substituted myself for every place it talks about "them." Sobering results:
"My throat is an open grave, with my tongue I keep deceiving.
The poison of asps is under my lips.
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness;
My feet are swift to shed blood,
Destruction and misery are in my path,
And the path of peace I have not known.
There is no fear of God before my eyes." (Romans 3:13-18)
Seems I've got a rap sheet of my own, hauntingly similar to David's. And if I hate my sin, truly hate it and grieve over it, I can be a woman after God's own heart, too.
Today, I read Romans 4:7-8, which says, "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account." Guess who penned that sentiment? King David.
Maybe one day in Heaven, the King of Kings will look out over the crowd of His worshippers who are casting their crowns before Him. And maybe he'll see two sinners, saved by grace, standing beside each other and basking in His forgiveness: King David and me.