Monday, March 05, 2012
Scripture reading: 2 Samuel 11:1-27
Our story today, takes place during the Deuteronomistic History (DtH) that constructs the second half of the Primary History (Genesis-Kings). The books of Samuel are technically one book that was split into two over time. I’m not here to debate Martin Noth’s view of single authorship for the DtH (Joshua-Kings) but as with the JEDP theory for the Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy) the DtH has exilic implications.
King David (the second king of Israel) reigned for forty years (1 Chr. 29:27) 1010-970 BCE/BC. But the written account of his reign was composed in the 6th century (Noth). I tell you these technical details because David was a great king and a great sinner. Similarly, Ancient Israel was a great kingdom and a nation of sinners. Sure, it’d be easier to say human, but it’s important to know how the Lord uses sinners.
The chosen king sent his soldiers off to battle, but stayed home, which was not customary (v. 1). In his folly, David steals another man’s wife, and produces an ancient episode of Jerry Springer (vv. 2-5). Being the godly king he is, David attempts to conceal his deceptive affairs and let the woman’s husband deal with the aftermath (vv. 6-13). But, our biblical Springer show gets worse. When the first plan to deceive Uriah fails, all the king’s men set him up to die by order of the king (vv. 14-24). And everyone lived happily ever after… (vv. 25-27) or did they?
After our story, the child of David and Bathsheba’s affair dies, the Lord is not pleased with the sinful king, promising trouble for Israel, David realizes his sin against the Lord, and the Lord spares David and Israel (12:1-24). In juxtaposition, the people of Israel and Judah were sinful, they recognized their sin, and the Lord put an end to exile.
We are human and humans are sinners, but the Lord is gracious to sinners; whether we are kings, Israelites in exile, or the people of today who perpetually make mistakes. God chose humans to fulfill the covenant. Humans and sinners we may be, but God reconciles us in the work of grace. This is the Gospel of the Lord: redemption for sinners, those called human. I am a great sinner, we all are great sinners (it’s our nature) and Christ died for us all.
Lord, God, with David, you made a sinner the king of your people, and by your mercy the king and the people we reconciled. With Jesus, you became our king (the king of your people) and in your mercy you atoned for our sin, by taking it all upon your cross. On this day, we remember that we are humans and sinners, and that you were the one who died for us. Praise to you O Christ. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.