My kitchen was clean. The pile of papers and kid toys that often rested on the table were gone. Only an unidentified sour smell remained, but I had no time to deal with it. Guests were arriving soon, so I pretended the bad smell did not exist. Then I opened the refrigerator, and the smell became unbearable. It turns out, the black beans were spoiled. Now that I knew the source of the problem there was no escaping it; I was compelled to deal with it. I threw away the smelly beans, washed the container, and hoped the awful smell would dissipate quickly.
Today’s scripture helps us understand that we can look clean on the outside while “smelling” dirty on the inside. David has become so familiar with his sin that it no longer bothers him. In his mind he is a king who simply welcomed another wife and baby into his palace, but David’s actions displease the Lord. Despite David’s moral failing, God loves David and sends Nathan to deliver a parable capable of provoking David’s basic human senses to see the gravity of his sin. As a former shepherd boy, David understands how humans can grow fond of animals under their care and the great injustice the poor man suffers. The parable infuriates him. At this point, Nathan breaks the news: David is the sinner. Now he has the opportunity to repent and reconnect with God.
When sin settles in, we risk becoming familiar with it. But God’s love always makes a way for us to live free from the sting of sin. David receives a parable to reveal his wrongdoing; we have been given Jesus Christ.
Loving God, open my eyes to see the gravity of sin in my life. Open my ears to hear the forgiveness you freely give through the work of Jesus Christ. May I walk in the freedom you purchased for me on the cross. Amen.
David thinks he has gotten away with adultery and murder, but God sends Nathan to tell David a story. The story angers David, but Nathan reveals that the story is really about David’s own sin. Indeed, it can be tempting to condemn others’ sin, while we justify our own sin. Psalm 51 is David’s appeal to God for forgiveness and restoration. If we want to please God in our own lives, what does this look like? Ephesians tells us that the signs of a redeemed life include humility, love, patience, and building up one another (the opposite of what David displayed). In John, Jesus has crowds following him because they want a free meal. The lasting nourishment they truly need, Jesus teaches, comes through believing that God has sent him.
• Read 2 Samuel 11:26–12:13a. The Lord has put away your sins. How has God’s forgiveness changed your life?
• Read Psalm 51:1-12. When have you felt “unclean” before God? How did God restore you?
• Read Ephesians 4:1-16. Who has been essential in your walk with Christ?
• Read John 6:24-35. God’s presence in our lives is as important as food. How do you feed your soul?
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