Sunday, June 5, 2011

A God’s-eye View of the David and Bathsheba Affair - Part 6 of a series based on 2 Samuel 11 & 12

What is the best response to a tornado?

I’m thinking of what one should do after the storm has passed over, of course. Everyone knows the best response when it is approaching, though not everyone reacts in the way they should. As one stands in the wake of the storm and looks at the devastation of their property – the loss, perhaps, of life and limb – what is the wisest course of action?

Some respond as my eighty-year-old neighbor did when he surveyed the damage to his place by a storm in 1985, “I’ll just sell the place and move somewhere else. I’m too old to deal with all of this.” Others think like his son-in-law who arrived later in the morning and said, “Dad, we can clean this up in a few days. You don’t have to move away.” Sometimes the damage is so severe, the destruction so complete, that there is little choice but to either leave or rebuild from the ground up.

God must often face such a situation as he observes the tornadoes of moral perversity tearing apart that which He created to be a perfect reflection of His own image. He must often wonder if it would not be easier – more promising – to wipe away the debris and start all over again. But He has chosen not to do so. He is doggedly determined to restore the perfection of His creation despite the unremitting attacks upon it by the enemy of perfection. Human beings may be at the center of God’s determined effort to reclaim all that was lost in the rebellion of Satan but we certainly are not His only concern; we are told that “all creation groans” waiting for that restoration to be accomplished.

The disastrous affair between King David and Bathsheba is a case in point. David stood at the mid-point of a plan that God had begun after the great flood. From among the three sons of Noah – Ham, Shem, and Japheth – He chose Shem, whose name means “name”, to be the progenitor of a people who would honor the Name of Yahweh, El Elyon. And thus the Shemites (Semites)  became “the people of the Name.” In God’s plan, the knowledge of Yahweh God would be preserved and perpetrated through their lineage that would pass through David, and on to the Messiah, who would reveal, in himself, the Father and creator of all.

Almost from the start, the plan was under attack. One moral tornado after another threatened to end the project; to force God either to admit defeat or wipe the slate clean and start again.

No storm was more damaging than that represented by the sin of David with Bathsheba. In that one act, the depravity of human nature was stripped bare. Sexual lust, covetousness, deception, betrayal, and murder combined in a storm that left the house of David in shambles, open to the eyes of friends and enemies, and vulnerable to attack. If this man, who was the hope, not only of Israel, but of the whole human race, could be reduced to such a state, what was there to do but reject him, as his predecessor, Saul, had been rejected, and start all over again?

However, God saw promise in the rubble. He saw, in King David, a heart, admittedly wicked, but desirous of being righteous. “Create in me a clean heart,” David wrote in one of his Psalms. Here was a “house” worth rebuilding. It would not be the house it could have been had it not been damaged by the storm of David’s sin; it would suffer further damage in succeeding storms. Eventually it would appear to have been utterly destroyed, with no one to sit upon the “throne of David” for several hundred years. But the ruined house simply lay in wait until its true and final occupant arrived to take his place as Son of David, Son of man, Son of God. And yes, he was a son of Shem, a bearer of the Name, Jesus: Jahweh’s Savior.

Most of us, looking on the scene of David’s sin would have despaired of there ever being a fulfillment of the plan. We would have deserted the ravaged “house of David” and found another place in which to build. But God is determined to see his plan accomplished. That is why he keeps restoring our storm-damaged houses, time and time again. As often as we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all the debris of unrighteousness.

As you assess the results of the latest moral tornado in your life, think of David, look up, and say, “Create in me a clean heart, oh God. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.”

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