An Adulterous, Murdering Man after God’s Own Heart – Part 2
2 Samuel 12:15-31
There’s a tendency in human nature to blame everyone else for our own mistakes or wrongdoings. It’s simple, really. From the very beginning of time, we’ve shifted the blame so that we don’t have to take responsibility. Adam did it in the whole eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil event. When God inquired as to what happened, he very quickly said, “It was her! She gave me the fruit, and I ate it. It’s all her fault.” Or something like that anyway.
We do this because we just don’t like owning the consequences of our behavior. Besides that, it’s a power move by insecure people meant to maintain dominance over the other. Sadly, when we do this, we ruin the relationships we’re in, creating victims or driving away the only people that can help us grow as a person or in our faith.
Perhaps we do this with God too, blaming others for our sins and the consequences of those sins. Maybe we blame God for not saving us from those consequences? What strikes me about David’s response to the consequences of the Bathsheba incident (see yesterday’s reflection), is that directly after the consequence had come to pass, David rises and goes to the house of the Lord to worship.
Prior to this point, David had been fasting and lying on the ground while the baby Bathsheba had delivered was ill and dying. The officials of David’s court tried to urge him to get up and eat, but he would not. When the baby eventually died, they didn’t want to tell David for fear that he would harm himself. David hears their talking and figures things out for himself.
The consequences of David’s sin have been pretty severe. As a parent, I cannot imagine losing a child shortly after birth. Yet, when the baby dies, David doesn’t wallow in self-pity. He doesn’t blame Bathsheba or the midwives or the physicians of the day. He doesn’t even blame God for taking his child away. No, David has taken full responsibility for his sin. The baby is dead, not because of God, but because of David.
So now, David rises and goes to worship. To be sure, this story is brutal and complicated, and I have trouble reconciling the death of a baby with David’s actions. Yet, the truth in the story is that because David has taken responsibility, because David has repented and because he has begun to move in a new direction, we can still call him a man after God’s own heart.
We’re all going to sin. We’re all going to do things that we will regret. It’s human nature. The grace here is that we need not remain in that sinfulness. While we will not always escape the consequence of our actions, at the end of the day, if we truly move toward God through the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, you and I can still be called men and women after God’s heart.
Prayer: Oh God, help us to take responsibility for our actions. Help us not to blame you or those around us for the sin we have committed. Grant us the strength to move on from those things. Through the power of your Spirit, help us to grow into people who long to follow after your heart. Amen.