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WHAT IS THE LESSON FOR US TODAY OF THE BIBLE STORY ABOUT THIS UNPLEASANT INCIDENT WITH KING DAVID AND THE MARRIED LADY?

18 Apr

“…The rise of David came from the fall from grace of Saul, who chose to look great and popular in the eyes of the people instead of fulfilling the word of the Lord and for that God rejected him as King. In choosing David, God is looking for someone who can govern his people, but who will also let himself be governed by God rather than his own passions or desires for greatness.

That is why in choosing David God was not looking for human beauty or strength, as Samuel realised when he thought that Eliab, one of David’s brothers, would be chosen as king due to his great physical gifts. ‘The Lord said to Samuel: Look not on his countenance, nor the height of his stature because I have rejected him, nor do I judge according to the look of man: for man looks at outward appearances, but the Lord beholds the heart.’ David has something which is deeper and that pleases God, a heart that knows how to listen to God’s will and who rejoices doing it.

Yet, as we realise, David is not perfect and he fell into the same trap that all of us are every day in danger of falling into: he stopped fighting against evil, as we hear in Scripture:

‘…in the spring of the year, when kings go forth to war, David sent Jacob and his servants with him, and all Israel, but David remained in Jerusalem. In the meantime it happened that David arose from his bed after noon, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful.’

We all know how the story ends: adultery, betrayal, lies and the murder of Bathsheba’s husband. But we need to realise how it started. David was in Jerusalem, ALONE, when he was supposed to be in battle! Had he been doing what he was commanded to do, things would not have turned out as bad. When faced with his sin, however, David does not shun his responsibility and he is ready to take on the full, painful consequences of his sin. A Rabbinical commentary on David says that other kings in Israel, when accused of not obeying God’s word would say: ‘I have sinned; forgive me’. David, instead, would say: ‘I have sinned, correct me’.

King David is a word of God for each one of us about our relationship with God and our dealings with sin, there cannot be room for both in our lives. From David we learn that life is an every day fight against sin and evil that hurts and destroys our relationship with God and with each other. The moment we stop fighting against these they will knock us down with great and hurtful consequences to ourselves and to others. Yet God will be there with us, telling us: ‘Do not give up! Stand up and start fighting again!'”

(From: ‘The Story of King David’, Fr Paulo Bagini, Newsletter of Westminster Cathedral, London, 5.2.12)

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