The sin-seeds sown by David through his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband to cover up the pregnancy that had resulted from the affair were now being harvested in the rebellion of the king’s son, Absalom. David had been completely forgiven by God (II Samuel 12:13), but his sin had set into motion a series of tragic consequences, which Nathan the prophet had predicted (II Samuel 12:14), that would devastate David both personally and publically.
Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the LORD’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwellingplace again. But if he says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.” II Samuel 15:25-26
The low point of David’s kingship must have been Absalom’s conspiracy, coup and then the resultant death of this favorite son. The events of this dark season were beyond tragic for David and Israel, and so unnecessary—as is always the case with sin. Certainly the Apostle Paul’s assessment of sin was spot on: “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a) One sin, and as a result, the stench of death was in the air over all Israel—both literally and figuratively.
In spite of David’s self-inflicted disaster, however, the king found a way to reach into the reservoir of Divine grace and wisdom available to every believer and humbly submit himself to the merciful hand of God as he journeyed through this sin-harvest season. And as David did, he found just what he needed, especially at times like this: Even more of God’s great grace.
What is it that releases God’s great grace at times when grace is the last thing we deserve? It was that which always moves the heart and hand of God: True humility and complete submission to the sovereignty of God. David truly meant what he said—I am ready to receive whatever God has for me—let him do whatever his wisdom would dictate.
Now that is an incredibly mature response to a self-induced disaster. Unlike some people who whine, blame and pout, David demonstrated confidence in the judgment of God, he focused on God’s presence in the moment and left restoration—if there was to be any—to a later time, and he submitted himself completely to the will of God, no matter what the divine plan would bring about. Such humility of heart and submission to the Sovereign’s will are the very reasons God himself proclaimed David to be a man after God’s own heart despite the many mistakes he made throughout his lifetime.
It is that very posture, when it comes from an authentic heart before God, that allows the second half of Romans 6:23 rather than the first half to become the defining reality of our lives: “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” For sure, we have been promised life in the age to come, but when we yield our sin-prone selves to God through true repentance and humble submission, some of that eternal life is leaked to us in the here and now.
Just Saying… Thomas Merton wrote, “If we are willing to accept humiliation, tribulation can become, by God’s grace, the mild yoke of, His light burden.” Now that’s sometime to chew on!