David’s sexual dalliance or his murderous plot? There were good reasons to justify himself just like any other self-made person: “I’m in charge here, and I deserve to do what I want.” Consequences? Easily arranged—in order to avoid the law’s death sentence for adultery. Victims? Hardly noticeable.
Under the sometimes lurid exterior of King David’s adultery is another sad story: the moral descent of a person who yields to the temptation of thinking that he is god. Theologians call this “self-idolatry.” Today we meet an apparently righteous guy who is slowly decaying inside his own self-image: a man of unquestionable authority, a man unafraid to use that power to satisfy his own urges for pleasure. King David is a person who can do no wrong, someone privileged—in literal Latin, “operating according to a private law.” No mea culpas for David.
Sometimes not for me, either.
I’ve never stolen another person’s spouse, and I don’t recall having arranged for anyone’s death. My sins are small, economy-size. Sure, there are lots of them, but they’re easily admitted. So I can rest easy because I think I’m basically a righteous guy. I deserve to be forgiven, right? No foul, no problem.
But inside that unrighteous notion is this dangerous notion: I also have trouble admitting that I’m not god. I think I can do whatever I want simply because it pleases or entertains me. I don’t always count consequences or victims of my small-and-continuing sins. I sometimes believe that mea culpa does not apply to me. In the long run, this does not make for easy—or righteous—living.
Lord of life, bring me up short when I think that my self-idolatry is not obvious. Lead me to confession. Amen.
The Bible is filled with the stories of imperfect people. David is a classic case. In Second Samuel he commits adultery, tries to cover it up, and then plots a murder. How can this be the same man who penned this week’s psalm, which decries the foolishness of people who act in a godless way? Like us, David was a fallen person who needed God’s extravagant mercy. In Ephesians we read of this same extravagance given through Christ, whose power can do what we cannot—namely redeem all of us who are also foolish and fallen. The Gospel author demonstrates the power of Jesus through what he describes as “signs,” which Jesus performed not primarily to amaze the onlookers but rather to point them to his identity as the Son of God.
• Read 2 Samuel 11:1-15. How often do you consider the ramifications of your decisions and actions on the wider body?
• Read Psalm 14. How frequently do you find yourself envisioning a life free of constraints? What does that life look like?
• Read Ephesians 3:14-21. How does “being rooted and grounded in love” manifest itself in your life?
• Read John 6:1-21. When have you tried to force God into a mold of your own making to serve your needs?
Responda publicando una oración.