Saturday, January 12, 2008

David blew it, how can God say that about him?

Grace or the concept of forgiveness is one of the most difficult ideas to really understand. It just doesn’t make sense. I think it’s in part because it’s not natural.

When someone at work does something underhanded to me, revenge is usually the first thing that bubbles to the surface in my head. I don’t want to forgive it because that’s not a reflex. Revenge is a reflex emotion.

It’s automatic, it’s one of those things we have to use willpower to stop. Forgiveness is something we have to use willpower to start. But God’s not that way.

One of my favorite examples is how he refers to David. The truth is that roughly 29 million books could be written about the life of David, but this is such a small reference that it’s easy to miss.

In 1 Kings 14, God has passed on a message for Jeroboam, who He’s really upset with. This is what he said:

“I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes.”

Did you see that? That is crazy. God, the all knowing, says that David kept his commands and did only what was right in God’s eyes. Let’s do a quick review of David’s life.

Committed adultery.
Plotted murder.
Helped create a family situation where a rape led to a war that claimed the death of thousands and thousands of people.
Married tons of women.

None of those things seem like something that was right in God’s eyes. How can God refer back to David as a servant that followed with “all” his heart. That doesn’t make any sense at all.

But then forgiveness enters the picture. The adultery? Forgiven. The murder? Forgiven. The civil war? Forgiven. It was all forgiven, so much in fact, that when God referred to David, he could say he only did what was right in my eyes.

I don’t believe in forgiveness sometimes. I doubt it. I think that when God tells Moses about me he might say, “He’s a good kid, trying hard, but I swear he blows it on the weekends.” Instead though, when I read verses like this, I feel hopeful. I feel like maybe forgiveness is bigger than I imagine. Maybe it’s wilder and truer and well, maybe forgiveness is real.


robyn collins said...

i love that forgiveness is "wild"...

alece said...

it is amazing -- absolutely, incredibly amazing -- to think He says the same thing about me. "she has kept My commands and followed me with all her heart, doing only what was right in My eyes." because He sees Christ in me.


Abby said...

All I can say is that forgiveness is freedom. It takes a lot of prayer and trust in God. It can take years. It ain't easy. it took me 42 years to forgive my mother for abusing me and my dad for letting it happen. But when I did, I was set free to truly love in a way I never had before. Forgiveness opens up your heart-- unclogs a drain so to speak--so that God's love can pour into you. I hope and pray that for everyone.