Reflection on 2 Samuel 11-12 | "David's Paradox"


God is a lot bigger even than human failures, and that's comforting, knowing mine.


Recently as a church we've been reading through 2 Samuel, and tracking with the life of David. You know, the "David and Goliath" David, except by the time of this book he's more of grown king than a boy with a sling. I think as a Christian I've always admired and looked to David, for his faith, his personal devotion to God, his justice. The prophet Samuel says God is looking for someone "after his own heart" (1 Samuel 16), and then chooses David! That's the sort of worthiness we aspire in our better moments. He's the great king that unites Israel and expands their borders, and I think Israel through the centuries looked at him how we must look at Abraham Lincoln or George Washington.

But just like how a closer look always reveals the flaws and cracks, reading 2 Samuel 11-12 was devastating for me. It's where, as an older, successful king, David gets comfortable and commits adultery with Bathsheba and murders her husband. It's almost like I forgot that David had this part of him, and was a sobering reminder of what people are really like. I think people can both be really wonderful and really terrible, even at the same time.

Besides taking warning from David's tragic fall and how he set himself up for trouble by staying home, getting comfortable, isolating himself, I also was thinking about how God treated this whole thing. I mean, God chose David, didn't he? God gives him the kingdom and uses him for good anyway. Even just four chapters earlier God promises him that an heir of his will reign forever (i.e. Jesus). So David both did this sin after God gives him that, and God gave that blessing knowing David would do this. Whew. I guess what it nets out to is that God is a lot bigger even than human failures, and that's comforting, knowing mine. It's even possible to be "after God's heart" and still be that failure, like David proves to be when he repents and gets back up.