"Haven't We All Had a Checkered Past?"
No Bible character illustrates the moral range of human behavior like David. It is almost inconceivable that the same man who wrote the 23rd Psalm could commit the flagrant sins he committed with Bathsheba and Uriah. This is the same man who slew Goliath with a slingshot but was taken down by his own lusts. Yet, Jesus was not called the “Son of Abraham or Moses or Elijah” but the “Son of David.”
On the one hand he epitomized the passionate “Lover of God” and on the other hand, we glimpse disturbing episodes from the dark side of his nature – There is the adulterous affair he had with Bathsheba, the contract killing he put out on her husband Uriah, and the months of cover up, denial and the abuse of his authority within his palace. When David’s throne was finally established and he was basking in his self-importance and pride, he numbered Israel with disastrous results. (II Samuel 18:1; 24:10) His failures as a father left a legacy of rebellion and turmoil in his own household with his son Absalom. On top of these he struggled with wild mood swings from intense joy to bouts of deep depression.
And yet, with all of his moral failures and character flaws, He is called; “A man after God’s own heart.” (I Samuel 13:14) What words of comfort and encouragement! No other character speaks so intimately to my heart because I have found myself to be a lot like David. We may not even be talking about blatant sins when it comes to contradictions. On the bottom line, we are all walking contradictions in every area of our lives. I’m not claiming this as an excuse but as a fact of life. There is no good thing that dwells in our flesh. If you somehow think that you have risen above that then you are either deceived, in denial or pathetically self-righteous.
Despite all of our spiritual maturity, experiences and posturing we are all a mess at some level. We are all dysfunctional to some degree. When it comes to my grasp of spiritual truth sometimes during an “ego moment” I feel like a HAL 900 computer hooked to a bubblegum machine but more often than not I feel like an ant trying to comprehend quantum physics. At times we all exhibit inconsistencies in character, bad attitudes and a lack of spiritual integrity. None of us come anywhere close to a perfect track record either before or after Christ. Each of us have blown it countless times. We’ve blown it with our mouths and our thoughts and our actions. At times you would have looked at my life and said, “He’s a reprobate”; at other times you would say, “he should have been taken up to heaven in a flaming chariot with Elijah.” If we are brutally honest with ourselves, we, like Paul, have often found ourselves doing the very thing we don’t want to do and not doing the very thing we want to do. (Romans 7)
Despite whatever sins I have committed, shortcomings I have made or character flaws I have shown, I, like David, know where to turn in my time of failure. I know where mercy is found. With all my warts and blemishes, I know where the source of healing is when I too find myself before the finger of God. Each of our lives portray the same conflicts, the same contradictions, the same moral failures. But there is healing and there is restoration even when our hearts have grown cold and we’ve failed miserably. When the prophet Nathan confronted him with his sin he broke. Let David’s cry be ours.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me...Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.” (Psalms 51:4,6 13)