So, David gets what he wants. It is good to be the king, right?
David also had Nathan the prophet, and Nathan tells him a story about a rich man and a poor man that involves the rich man taking the poor man’s sheep to feed a guest. I mean just don’t flat out accuse the king of adultery and murder, now do you?
Nathan uses this base story and David is rightfully incensed by this injustice and thus convicts himself. Nathan is no dummy. Nor despite his actions, is David and so he repents.
After David’s confession, Nathan gives absolution as he says ‘Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child that is born to you shall die.’
Sin changes things, yes there is healing in confession, but there are still consequences. When the children’s animated series VegiTales tells this story, King George (aka David) covets his neighbors duck, and the bit about adultery and murder is not really dealt with. I can understand there is only so far you can go with fruits and vegetables telling biblical tales to children. As I thought about it they really do have a point in telling the story this way.
Earlier in our reading as David is uncovered Nathan says to David “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more.”
That last line is beautiful, “and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more.” David, King David, with his kingdom, and all that entails was not content with what he had, he was not content with all that the Lord his God had given him, so this tale of sin starts by not trusting that God had provided enough.
The royal setting of this tale should not absolve us from learning from this story. How often do we not trust God and put into place plans and schemes to get what we want? How often do we try to control things only to find our tweaking of our situation leads to more troubles. I am not saying that we ought not plan, and work and do, but when we force the issue and do not trust that God will provide, we can mess things up and the results are often not pretty.
The story today ends with the death of the child, but this is not how God ends things. Even out of this mess, of greed, selfishness, adultery, and murder, God will yet do a new thing that will bring life. Time and time again this is how God works in scriptures and in our lives, thanks be to God!