There are times when I really don’t understand the Bible.
Times when I look at what God says in his revelation of himself to us and I think, ‘Really?’.
And it’s not usually the proverbs or the prophecies that trip me up. It’s the people. It’s the work and trials and goofs of God’s people that have me perplexed and frustrated and rolling my eyes.
Because, who does these things? Who thinks these ways?
What has me all tied in knots is my continued journey through the History books in the Hebrew Bible. I was reading and writing through the story in 1 Samuel about Saul and David and the juxtaposition of the two as leaders and followers of God. And I got it. One did good and one didn’t.
I understood how Saul strove beyond and around and underneath what God wanted him to do in his own struggle to figure out what life was for him. His insecurities and impatience were something I could resonate with.
Saul just didn’t get it.
And I get that. I get not understanding what God was doing and the waiting and the striving. I get that.
And in all of it I wanted to be like David. I wanted to understand and trust that God would make all things right in his time. That going before God is not the way forward and when we follow God we see him move mountains.
I wanted to be that person.
And then, I didn’t want to be like David anymore.
Through the abuse and murder and bad parenting and ostrich-head-in-the-sand, I didn’t want to be like him anymore.
Because how could David be someone after God’s own heart when he did all these things?
There’s no easy answer for that.
How can God love any of us when he looks as the sin in our lives? When he sees the times we’ve gone our own ways, hurt people, left our relationship with him low on the list?
How can we be people after God’s own heart when there are aspects of us that are intrinsically unlovable?
Why did God love David?
Because David was his child. And Saul was his child and I am his child.
God’s love for David, for Saul, for me, does not waver in the midst of our sin and neglect.
As I look at David, and frankly, judge him for committing sins I can’t imagine committing, I see something that still draws me.
It’s how he loves God.
David’s love for God is one that is centered around trust, obedience, repentance, worship, joy, and engagement.
David continually sought God. Sought him for direction, in the depths of his true repentance, when he was weak and weary and overrun. In his imperfection, David continually sought God and listened for his voice. He poured himself out before God, all emotions on display. The Psalms are his testimony of the desire he had to have this deep relationship with God.
God’s grace and forgiveness are freely given and not earned. But deep relationship with God requires of us. It requires us to listen, to seek God where he is found in the everyday and unusual. When we seek God we will find him, his ever-present self waiting in love for us.
I recognize myself in Saul, but I also see myself in David. A flawed person who is loved by God. Forgiven, equipped, bolstered, heard, poured into and poured out for his glory and by his grace. Imperfect and in relationship with the One True God.
“For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You give me your shield of victory; you stoop down to make me great.
You broaden the path beneath me so that my ankles do not turn.”
2 Samuel 22:32-37
What drew me to David in the early part of his story is what inspires me still after the mess and sin. He knew his God. He knew God’s love for him, his mercy and grace. And he continually sought God to know his Savior better. He trusted and knew that God’s ways and forgiveness surpass what we can know or imagine.
Seeing myself in David’s sin and devotion gives me a bigger picture of God and who he is to me and who I am to him. And I want more.