As I’ve been studying the life of David over the last few months, I must admit, I find him a difficult character. Though he shows up as the hero in many stories, he appears the villain in many others. For all he gets right, he gets a thousand things wrong. His motivations don’t always seem pure. His actions are often self-serving. Maybe I find him difficult because he reminds me too much of me.
When we read the Bible, we often look for people that we can imitate. We want Esther’s courage or Solomon’s wisdom, Daniel’s faithfulness or Moses’ leadership skills. The problem with this approach, however, is that outside of Jesus, every character in the Bible is deeply flawed. Each, through the grace of God, gets some things right, but the flaws also abound – murderers, cowards, adulterers, the list goes on and on. While we can joyfully imitate aspects of each of these lives, we must remember that who we ultimately imitate isn’t a person, but God at work in that person.
This, of course, is good news – that God works through scoundrels like me. God has chosen to work in this world not through those who have it all together, but through real, fallen, everyday people. People like you and me, who are sometimes mean or lazy or downright selfish. When I think about it, are there any other kind? When God works through us, he doesn’t excuse our sinfulness. Nowhere does God celebrate David’s sins, instead, he chastises him. But God forgives our sins, even the worst of sins, so that he may do a new work in us.
I think the reason David’s story keeps being told, is that for all his foibles, David kept coming back to the Lord. He kept coming back for forgiveness, and strength, and love. He kept dealing with God. Remarkably, miraculously, graciously, God kept coming back to him. Kept including David in his plans. Gives me hope, how about you?
“Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty – Micah 3:7.