Formations lesson for Sept. 18: The Midlife David: Frustrated and Foolish : Friday, Aug. 26, 2005
August 26 2005 by Haven Parrott

Formations lesson for Sept. 18: The Midlife David: Frustrated and Foolish : Friday, Aug. 26, 2005
Friday, Aug. 26, 2005

Formations lesson for Sept. 18: The Midlife David: Frustrated and Foolish

By Haven Parrott
Focal passage: 2 Samuel 11:1-27; 12:1-25

The Scandal

The New American Standard version of 2 Samuel 11 introduces the story of David's great offense with these words, "Then it happened . . ."

And we all know what it is, even if it didn't actually happen until verse four. Fact is, it had been waiting to happen since chapter five.

The makings of a scandal had long been simmering, as evidenced by the dueling of David's dual natures, duly recorded: "And David realized that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted his kingdom for the sake of His people Israel. Meanwhile David took more concubines and wives . . ." (2 Sam. 5:12, 13) There's a world of meaning in that "meanwhile." David knew better than to collect women (Deut. 17:17), but he did it anyway.

What's so exasperating about the whole deal is that David was experienced and successful in warfare.

For years, Saul and company had stalked David through the wilderness and chased him even beyond the borders of Israel, but David's march to the throne was not thwarted.

And there was always a battle to be fought with those pagan Philistines, but in campaign after campaign, David protected Israel from the invasion of the idol-worshippers.

But David had a third enemy, a ferocious foe that proved to be the most vicious of all: his own dang self.

Like David, we also have three enemies: Satan and his demonic cohorts pursue us, an idol-worshipping culture surrounds us, and a sinful nature is ingrained in us. Of the three, the sinful self is the most difficult to subdue and keep subdued. Which is why the honest among us are not shocked by David's behavior nearly as much as we are sobered, even scared, by it.

Besetting sins can get out of hand rather quickly. We who have them should heed well the warning from this sad chapter in David's life: the enemy behind the scandal that rocked the kingdom was none other than the king him-dang-self.

The Greater Scandal

David spent three verses pondering and preparing to do the deed, half a verse actually doing it, and nineteen verses trying to cover it up, the result of which was an even greater scandal than the first.

While Bathsheba's body purified (v. 4), David's conscience putrefied. Like trying to mask the odor of a dead fish by putting another dead fish on top of it, David made a bad situation terrible by refusing to own up to his actions.

After arranging for and receiving news of Uriah's execution, the decomposition of David's conscience is evidenced up by the cavalier comment, "These things happen, Joab. Fuggedaboudit" (2 Sam. 11:25, Mario Puzo Translation).

David's callous cover-up was merely a scab concealing a festering, scarring, tissue-eating infection that could only be healed by exposure.

The Greatest Scandal

By the time David got convicted enough to begin picking his scab-encrusted heart: "I have sinned against the Lord" (2 Sam. 12:13), Nathan informed him that the greatest scandal was on its way. "The Lord has taken away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child that is born to you shall surely die" (2 Sam. 12:13,14).

The greatest scandal is that David's life was spared at the expense of the life of his innocent son. A guiltless son bore the punishment for David's sin.

And it is this, the worst hour of David's scandalous affair, that hints at God's best, at a scandal yet to come. For there would be another innocent Child, a Son of David, who would be born not in sin but who would become sin so that we - sinners of the same sort as David - "might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21).

The greatest scandal of all is that sinners are spared the death they deserve at the expense of God's innocent Son. Amazing scandal, amazing grace.

8/26/2005 12:00:00 AM by Haven Parrott | with 0 comments

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