Eric V. Snow 8-23-03 Sermonette Ann Arbor, Michigan UCG
Over the years Iíve listened to at least three people in the church who were critical of King Davidís high position in Godís sight. That is, they felt something like he was allowed to get away with actions we as Christians today wouldnít be. How could a man who (say) engaged in polygamy or waged war or had Uriah the Hittite killed in order to cover up an adulterous pregnancy be a man after Godís own heart?
Is this perspective legitimate? Are we allowed to judge God for judging King David to be an especially righteous man? Are we in a position to be able to know King Davidís heart, let alone anyone elseís besides our own?
S.P.S. So letís consider why we shouldnít think God is being unfair to us when He says King David was an especially spiritual man.
Here the problem of evil rears its ugly head. Has many different variations, be wary of them. Normally about why (say) God allows famines, earthquakes, cyclones, wars, etc., that kill thousands or millions of people. Individualizing it, another variation is to doubt Godís love for self when donít get enough material blessings in this life. Often raised so people can discount Godís existence, and go out to do the evil THEY wish to do, such as (say) fornication and adultery.
Concerning King David, issue raised about Godís justice for the saved.
Now, King David had a dubious record: Uriah incident, cover up adultery with Bathsheba by having him murdered with the connivance of Joab using the swords of the Ammonites. Waged war, was a bloody man, not allowed to build Temple. Had at least 8 wives and other women as concubines. Took census when provoked by Satan. Feigned loyalty to Achish, the Philistine king of Gath, when would have had to fight vs. Israel. Had earlier faked madness to Achish also, after he had first fled from Saul.
So is this the record of a man after Godís own heart?
Itís our job to live righteously and faithfully for God. We shouldnít focus on what other people, in the church or in the world, seem to be ďgetting away withĒ if they are abusing Godís grace. Letís work on our own problems first, and leave to God other peopleís overall levels of righteousness.
Matt. 20:1-16, esp. vs. 12-15.
Likewise, is it ďfairĒ for God to offer the few called now the opportunity to be in the First Resurrection, and most of the presently uncalled end up in the Second? More trials now, but higher position in the kingdom. Same with God using Israel as a model nation for the world first, before using gentiles.
2. Progressive revelation: Polygamy, waging war examples. God doesnít reveal all at once. David not held to same standard as we are since we know more than him. Is that unfair to him? Or unfair to us? Or both? God doesnít wish to overwhelm people all at once with the truth. Vs. Kantís statement: ďIf the truth shall kill them, let them die.Ē
3. Do we really know Davidís mental and spiritual state? Did he really repent? Did he commit adultery again?
I Samuel 16:6-7
Even a spiritual man like Samuel blundered in this regard. Example: If Princess Diana looked more average, like (well) Carmelia, would have England mourned her passing so much? Weíre so easily blinded by physical beauty and appearances.
Great rewards, greater temptations problem when have greater responsibilities. Davidís sins all written down for world to see, not concealed. Our sins not so public! Consequences more public and deadly also: Absalomís revolt an indirect consequence of mess with Bathsheba. Had been too indulgent in family life.
Conclusion: We need to focus on solving our own problems, not worrying about whether God is letting someone else ďoffĒ or not. We need to realize that God doesnít reveal all at once to everyone, so weíre more responsible for knowing more than King David did. We should also be wary of thinking we know othersí spiritual status in Godís sight when it involves matters of attitude and belief. If God lets us all off for our sins, greater or lesser, who are we to condemn God for His treatment of King David?