David is the greatest king that ancient Israel has ever known. David is a sex offender who is planning to have Uriah murdered. These two things are true at the same time. The Bible is full of characters who fail to do the right thing. Later David will be called out, at least for his role in Uriah’s death. But many characters are not. Like today, people get away with grossly inappropriate behavior.
Our best selves, our worst selves, and all our in-between selves exist together. The Bible is descriptive of the wide variety of people who answer God’s call. They are not role models, prescribing how to respond to God. Rather they are examples of God’s reaching out to people who are broken in many ways.
God reaches out, encouraging our best, guiding our improvement, and prompting us to repent of the harm we have caused others. Repentance is changing direction—the words “I’m sorry” are not enough. To repent is to turn away from bad behavior, make restitution, and to live in new ways.
What is amazing is that repentance is not a test we pass to earn God’s love. God loves us right now—exactly as we are—before we repent and change. God is reaching for each of us, for David, for people who have committed crimes, for survivors of crimes, for rule-followers, for you, for me. God loves us right now.
Repentance is not a requirement for love but rather a response to that love. If we can feel God’s love, we are better able to imagine finding a new path for our lives. A better way is possible. God comes along with us, holding us as we turn, and supporting our new direction. Nothing keeps us separated from God.
Forgive me, God, for the ways I have hurt other people. Help me to turn toward the way of love. Thank you for reaching out to me, just as I am. Amen.
The Bible is filled with the stories of imperfect people. David is a classic case. In Second Samuel he uses his power to have sex with another man's wife, tries to cover it up, and then plots the murder of her husband. How can this be the same man who penned this week’s psalm, which decries the foolishness of people who act in a godless way? Like us, David was a fallen person who needed God’s extravagant mercy. In Ephesians we read of this same extravagance given through Christ, whose power can do what we cannot—namely redeem all of us who are also foolish and fallen. The Gospel author demonstrates the power of Jesus through what he describes as “signs,” which Jesus performed not primarily to amaze the onlookers but rather to point them to his identity as the Son of God.
Read 2 Samuel 11:1-15. Where in today’s world do you see the selfishness of powerful people bringing tragedy for people with less power?
Read Psalm 14. Do you number yourself among the wise who “seek after God”? Why or why not?
Read Ephesians 3:14-21. How does “being rooted and grounded in love” manifest itself in your life?
Read John 6:1-21. Where do you see yourself in this story?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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