Friday, October 8, 2010

Forgiveness and Consequences

Last night I read the story of David and Bathsheba (side note: spell check knows I spelled Bathsheba correctly, surprise surprise!). I've heard so many different sermons highlighting different aspects of that story. There really are so many things we can learn from this part of David's story.

When I read it this time, I saw something I had overlooked before. David and Bathsheba have sinned together, and David has sinned additionally by having Bathsheba's husband killed. Their son is born, and then Nathan confronts David about David's sin. David repents, and Nathan says that God forgives David.

OK. This is huge. David fasts and prays while his son is sick. He begs God to spare his son. But the baby dies. And as soon as this happens, David gets up, washes himself, puts on clean clothes, and goes and worships God. Woah. How often do we get really angry at God when tragedy happens in our lives? I've done it a lot. It sounds like David was not bitter at all. I think he realized the consequence of his sin, and he didn't hold it against God.

The other thing is that although God forgave David completely, that didn't remove the consequence. That point is made a lot, that God's forgiveness doesn't take away consequences. We hear it all the time. But I think it's also really important to note that God did not punish David continually; God didn't hold David's sin against him later. David and Bathsheba have another son. You might have heard of him--Solomon? And it says that God loved Solomon. God doesn't withhold love after we sin. He doesn't sit up in heaven, waiting to blast us for that sin we did three years ago. That's majorly comforting to me, to see so clearly in the Bible (the Old Testament, to boot!) about God's forgiveness, redemption, and restoration.