If you have been following along the daily readings this week, then you know we have been in King David’s story. And even though most of us are pretty familiar with the story, today’s Old Testament reading still stings each time I read it.
David, the giant-slayer . . . David, The man after God’s own heart . . . The one who refused to put his hand on God’s anointed even when his own life was at risk . . . David, the divinely appointed King.
David messes up, bad.
How bad? Adultery and murder, bad.
David’s story is important. As young people we hear a lot of rousing stories of how God can redeem even the most corrupt and crooked sinners among us. The St. Augustines, who, one day finally repent of a life of sin and give their lives over to Jesus. And, just like that (it is often assumed): Sainthood. But the truth is that it’s usually not as clean-cut as that.
David’s story is closer to the reality, I think. Sure, perhaps most of us will never have someone killed in attempt to cover up another one of our sins, but neither is it likely to be the case that once we fall in love with God our days of royally screwing up (no pun intended) are totally in the past.
David is the story of the good guy who, from the time he was a boy, sought to please God and, truly, had a heart for God. It wasn’t all rules and motions for David. David knew God. He loved God.
But even David managed to screw up. And it is important for us to understand how and why that could happen, even for someone who loved God as much as David did.
How did David begin to fall into sin? Because he chose to take a nap instead of go into battle.
At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign, David sent out Joab along with his officers and the army of Israel, and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.
David, however, remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David rose from his siesta
and strolled about on the roof of the palace.
From the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful.
2 Samuel 11:1-2
Notice: At the time of the year when kings go out on campaign, David, who is a king himself, is home enjoying the comforts of his palace, taking leisurely afternoon naps while expecting other men to fight his battles.
Today, we have the advantage of knowing the ending to David’s story, and it is a happy one. Still, we can learn a lesson from David. Yes, the grace of God is available no matter how many times we fall, and no matter how far we fall.
But we also need to remember that the battle for our soul is waging every day. Are we at home taking a nap? Or are we out in the fight?
Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour.
1 Peter 5:8