You Da Man!
The story of David and Bathsheba is one of the saddest stories in scripture. The great king and spiritual leader gave into his baser nature and committed adultery with Bathsheba. When he found out that she was pregnant, he began an elaborate cover-up to hide his personal guilt. When the integrity and loyalty of Bathsheba's husband Uriah continued to thwart David's cover-up, David set up Uriah to be killed in battle. To justify this action to his commander Joab, David responds rather coldly, "Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another.” (2 Sam 11:25). David then married the widowed Bathsheba, and his sins were hidden... from everyone except God.
Then Nathan the prophet came to David with a sad story about a poor man whose little pet lamb was butchered and served as brunch by a wealthy man who had many flocks and herds. David was outraged and wanted justice... until Nathan pointed his long, bony finger at David and says, "You are the man!" In modern vernacular, that is a compliment. Make a long put, close a big deal, or complete a critical project, and someone may slap you on the back and say, "You da man!" David was the man... and it was no compliment. He could only stare Nathan and then at the blood on his hands. Guilt. Shame. The entire weight of heaven and earth crushed down upon him. And this was the critical moment of his life.
David responds, "I have sinned against the Lord" (2 Sam 12:13). And he meant it! He faced the utter brokenness of his guilt, and he could do nothing but humbly confess his sin, repent and plead for God's mercy. Psalm 51 captures the depths of his horror over his sin and his struggles with guilt. The words "I have sinned" are spoken in scripture by men like Pharaoh, Balaam, Achan and Saul... when they are caught and are sorry they were caught. But David feels the full weight of his sin and is driven to his knees in humility and repentance. It is in this moment of repentance that David shows the character that makes him "the man after God's own heart."
For the last three weeks, we have been looking at the subject of interpersonal forgiveness in our Sunday lessons. Our scripture reading for today is Colossians 3 which includes the following:
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Scripture consistently reminds us that we are to forgive others because God has forgiven us. Nathan points his long, bony finger at each of us and says, “You da man” (or “you da woman” as the case may be). We are all as guilty as sin, and yet we have been forgiven our blood debt through the blood of the cross. So how can we possibly refuse to forgive someone else? How can we refuse to forgive another sinner when we have ourselves been forgiven of so much so so gracious a God?