Six years ago, I was rushed to the hospital with the worst pain I had ever felt. The ER nurse looked at my age (51), heard me crying out in pain, and rushed me back for an EKG to see if I was having a heart attack. Fortunately, I did not have a heart attack, but I was suffering from gall stones. With emergency surgery, I was alright and thought I could make it to church the very next day to preach. My wife stopped me and said I shouldn’t be going anywhere, let alone preaching on heavy pain medications!
During that searing pain, I just wanted it to stop. I prayed and pleaded with God as each moment was torture. In the movie, Avengers: Endgame, the superheroes who survive the “snap” are left to live with their failure and grief. For the next five years, nothing is the same, and their sense of guilt is unrelenting. Gathering again with a plan to overcame the great evil enemy, the remaining Avengers adopt the motto – “Whatever It Takes.”
The Grace Stone
In this, the last article of my series on Biblical Manhood and the life of David, the final stone is the Grace Stone. Grace is a sinner’s only hope. Even David, who was a man after God’s heart, made a terrible mistake. After years of living with courage, honor, patience, loyalty, and endurance, King David was bored.
He was tired of battle and stayed home as his men went out to the next challenge. David achieved his dreams, and instead of asking God for a new goal, he went to the rooftop where he spied a woman taking a bath. Giving in to temptation, David used his power and position to have an affair (mostly likely without Bathsheba’s agreement).
David’s affair with Bathsheba
David had a one-day affair, but even the king is not exempt from the consequences of sin. Bathsheba becomes pregnant, and David plans a way to hide his sin by ordering Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, to come home from the battle lines. Surely a man like Uriah would return from the war, reunite with his wife, and then the sin of David would be covered up.
But Uriah proved to be a man of loyalty and duty. Uriah refused to be with his wife while his fellow soldiers were in battle. David goes to another level of sin and desperation as he orders his generals to put Uriah in the most dangerous battle line. Uriah dies, and David moves to marry Bathsheba.
Tangle Web of Sin
There are a lot of sins, and you wonder how did David get to this point. First, David lost his passion and sensitivity to obey God. As a young man and as a leader on the run from King Saul, David had a close relationship with God – often praying to seek guidance and strength. Second, David bought into a lie that kept on getting bigger. David thought that all his decisions to hide the truth were successful, and he would not be found out.
Strangely, David did not consider that at every part of the story, he includes more servants and soldiers into his tangled web of lies. Human nature is such that the secrets of David were not safe with these men but most likely shared in and outside the king’s court. Third, David did not confess his sin before God. Believing in his importance and ability, David was living in a fantasy of his own making that God would not see or hold him accountable.
David committed a bunch of sins, and you may think he did not deserve to be king anymore. After all, God is holy God, and David deserved judgment and Uriah deserved justice. Instead of judgment, God sends a prophet named Nathan. Nathan is in the court of David and tells a story of how a rich man steals a poor man’s pet lamb. David, a former shepherd boy, hears the story and becomes furious at the injustice done to the poor man. At that point, Nathan said to David:
You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! Why (I)have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? (2 Sam 12:7-9)
God sent a prophet to hold David accountable. He immediately was convicted and said, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan went on to explain the additional consequences of David’s sin – you will have trouble in your household (competition and evil between siblings) and the baby conceived will be born, then become sick, and die. David immediately repented and fasted in response to God’s judgment.
You may wonder, “Where is the grace in this story?” God did not kill David. God did not remove David as King. David will suffer from more tragedies in the future because of his sin, but God will stay loyal and keep on loving David.
Every man I know has made some big mistakes. We deserve God’s judgment, but we are blessed to receive God’s grace when we have made Jesus our Lord and Savior. Grace allows us to start again with new wisdom. Here are the lessons of grace from David’s story.
Lessons of Grace
1. Grace allows us to approach Almighty God.
We can pray in the name of Jesus, our High Priest, and God welcomes our prayers. As men, we are co-heirs in Jesus, and when tempted and need help, we should always go to God first and often.
2. Grace reminds us that no man can be “good enough.”
Men, you cannot be perfect at work, at home, or with your buddies. You and I will make mistakes, and God’s grace allows us to live in the freedom of love and acceptance instead with the pressure to live up to our own or other’s expectations.
3. Grace empowers us to move on and do “Whatever It Takes” to be a Godly man.
David mourned his mistakes and the death of his son for a period. Then he surprised his advisors by ending his period of grief and moving on. Not able to change his past, David refocused on God. As David’s son Solomon wrote later:
“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven… 17 I said to myself, “God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man,” for a time for every matter and for every deed is there.” (Ecc. 3:1, 17).
Every man will meet God someday and will give an account for his sins. At that time, you will need and depend on the grace of God to see you as a follower of his son Jesus Christ. Until then, be a Godly man who knows the lessons of David, lives with grace daily, and shows grace to the people who matter most in his life.
Paul Arnold is a husband, father, grandfather, and currently serves as a chaplain to a senior living facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He hosts several podcasts – Man to Man (career advice for men) and Pardon the Confusion (Sports) that are found on iTunes and www.redcircle.com