…if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. II Timothy 2:13
I am reviewing the life of King David, the “sweet singer of Israel” (II Samuel 23:1), the king described as “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). It almost seems unfair that David gets to be listed in the ranks of saints of the ages. But that is God’s designation, not ours.
David’s relationship with Bathsheba could be viewed as a sin of the flesh. After all, David should have been out doing his kingly duty and fighting with his men (II Samuel 11:1, 2) when he stayed home and was attracted to Bathsheba. The relationship that followed David’s yielding to temptation is not unusual. But the cover up is reprehensible. When Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, refuses to visit his wife two times during his return to Jerusalem, David meticulously plans his murder and sends the order for his execution in Uriah’s own hands. It’s obvious that Uriah is highly trusted; he could have read David’s order and avoided death.
There are other records of David’s careless approach to his responsibilities before God: his pride in numbering the soldiers of Israel (I Chronicles 21:2), his overlooking Joab’s murder of Abner (II Samuel 3:30), and his lack of discipline of his children (II Samuel 13:21, 28, 29, 18:5). And yet, God saw David as a man after his own heart.
God knew David, the man who spent time meditating on him, praising him, and instructing the priests and the people in worship. God saw David’s heart, and God saw David’s instant response when confronted by Nathan, the prophet: “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.” (Psalm 51:4) David understood that sin breaks the heart of God, even more so than the ones feeling its pain.
In Psalm 16:2, David confesses, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” David throws himself onto God’s mercy in full recognition of his need for cleansing and God’s grace (Psalm 51:1, 2). Like Paul, David recognizes that “by the grace of God” he is who he is (I Corinthians 15:10).
And while we sometimes look at ourselves (or others) seeing only the flaws, even the sins, God looks at our hearts (I Samuel 16:7) and responds to genuine repentance, forgiving at least seventy times seven (Matthew 18:2). He knows that one who has been forgiven much loves much (Luke 7:7). But even more than this, God is not dependent on our faithfulness to remain faithful. Faithfulness is an intrinsic part of God’s nature, and he remains faithful to his character forever.
Let us be encouraged in our journey to faithfully follow our Lord without fear, guided by love (which calls us to obedience), and without condemnation (walking in the Spirit). He will never leave us or forsake us. He is always faithful, and we can be.
Father, we are often overwhelmed by your love and your faithfulness that came at such cost to you. Continue your good work that we may in turn be faithful to you. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.