When God Loves Me Too Much to Let Me Get Away With Murder



"Grace saves me from my sin; it does not 
remove the consequence of my actions."

Have you ever done something that you regretted before you'd even finished doing it? No? It's just me...okay!

I'm going to be very real here. I make bad decisions all the time. Well, maybe not all the time, but more often than I'd like to admit. Underneath, I'm really just a haute mess with a little coffee and a lot of Jesus in me!


I take comfort in knowing that I'm in good company. Many of the people I admire most, the people who have encouraged and lifted me up are, in fact, also humans who make mistakes, messes, and bad decisions.

One of my favorite examples of this human condition I find myself in is David, King David.

David's story is inspiring because it wasn't an easy life. As a teenager, he is anointed and named to be the successor of the current king, Saul. But David isn't the son of Saul. But that's okay because Saul is the first king of Israel, so we can get over the whole royal lineage thing, right?

Well, no. Not really. But that's a blog for another day!

David, though, from the outset of his story demonstrates an amazing relationship and faith in God. During a visit with his brothers, David steps up to take on the behemoth Goliath, a Philistine who's been taunting the fighting men of Israel. Despite being just a teenager, a shepherd no less and not a warrior, David assures the King that he can take on Goliath and be successful:

"The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." (1 Samuel 17:37a)

And successful he is!

But his life doesn't get easier. Saul is aware that David will succeed him, and overcome by his jealousy and inability to recognize his personal value, Saul becomes David's greatest adversary. David spends the years after killing Goliath running and hiding from Saul, sparing Saul's life because David fears the LORD and respects the role of authority Jehovah has placed Saul into. When given a chance to kill Saul and protect his own life, David refuses saying,

"The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD's anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the LORD's anointed." (1 Samuel 24:6)

David is the REAL deal!

And then he fails.

David stumbles across a situation where he should have just run, but instead, he gives into temptation. Something has happened to David prior to this, as he's made smaller decisions that show a lack of good judgment. He sends his fighting men out to battle but stays behind in Jerusalem.

While there, he does what people do. He works some, he rests some. And one afternoon, David decides to step out onto the roof of his house. While there, he catches a glimpse of a beautiful woman bathing. A woman, it turns out, who is married. To one of his powerful fighting men. Who is away fighting for the nation.

A quick reminder here: Temptation itself is not sin. David could have chosen to hightail it out of there and back into his house. Even his recognition and thoughts, "What an amazingly beautiful woman!" was not sinful.

Until he decided to pursue her.

Oh, David.

To make a long story short, David pursues her, gets this woman pregnant, and then hatches a plan to make it look like the child is not his. In the end, David plots to have her husband killed in battle. And as a consequence of his guilt, the child conceived dies shortly after birth. David takes the woman as one of his wives, but David and his reign as king are never the same after.

In the midst of this, Nathan the prophet calls on King David. God has revealed to Nathan what has actually happened, and Nathan confronts David using a parable. David becomes very angry. He's indignant about the injustice Nathan shares through the parable. And then it happens. Nathan tells the King, "Sir, respectfully, you're the jerk in the story."

It doesn't end there, fortunately. Though God could have chosen to remove David as king rightfully (it's certainly what I would have done!), He does not. There are consequences that will plague David for the rest of his life and reign, but God does the unthinkable,

And Nathan said to David [prophesying as the LORD gave him utterance], "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die." (2 Samuel 12:13b)

Wow!

Simply wow.

Justice in the Biblical sense has always been an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a life for a life. David had a guy killed to hide the fact that he had gotten the said guy's wife pregnant! Justice--what would have been fair--is for David to die.

But God spares him from the ultimate payment for his sin.

This is the same thing God did for us on the cross, taking Jesus as our payment, and then defeating death FOR US.

WOW.

But wait. There's still a consequence. God spares David from capital punishment, the justice the law requires, but David still isn't able to walk away as though nothing happened. Nathan pronounces the consequence of his bad decisions: David's household will be plagued by fighting, even his own children will raise the sword against him. His wives will be taken from him and they will be defiled by his neighbor in public view.

Ouch.

I'm not sure what's worse here. Being David and knowing these things are going to happen, or being part of his family and having to live through the painful consequence of his sin. I'm not going to sign up for either.

Except when I do. All the time. I make impulsive decisions; I give into temptation when instead I should simply flee the evil one. I do it ALL THE TIME. Sigh. I'm human like that.

Where have you given into temptation or rushed into a decision that turned out badly?
Take for example, debt. Credit cards. I seem to make this bad decision over and over. I want something. I don't have enough money to buy it now. And for whatever reason, instead of choosing wisely to wait, I put it on a card. On plastic.

For just 24 low payments of $25 each, you can own something that only cost $150 if you would have only saved up for it. But no! I gave into temptation, and instead it's going to cost me $600! Never mind that in addition to it costing me four times as much, it's also creating an inability for me to provide for my family. That "low payment" equals money I don't have to buy groceries.

So I pray, Abba Daddy, forgive me for being impulsive and giving into my flesh! Thank you for saving me from my sins and promising me eternal life. Can you also forgive my debt? Will you create a bank error in my favor? Will you give me some sort of financial blessing to erase my poor decision?

But it doesn't generally work out that way.

(I'm not saying that God can't or won't send blessing even in the face of our mistakes--after David lost the child conceived with Bathsheba in sin, they later have another child together. You'll recognize his name, Solomon. What a blessing! But that blessing didn't negate the consequence of what David had done.)

WHY?

God is a just God. There are other people involved and affected by my bad decisions. So what if God did forgive my credit card debt completely? How would the bank employees whose pay is funded by my interest payments get paid? How would that be just?

And back to David. How could God have refused to allow consequences when David had a man killed?

God must be just to everyone involved, and not only to those who love and serve Him. I wish sometimes this weren't true, but it is. That means that although I know that the ultimate payment for my bad choices--eternal separation from God--is off the table, there are still consequences for my failures.

Though they are uncomfortable, I take comfort knowing that like David, God loves me and has spared me from what I deserved.

What were the consequences of your bad decision? How did God spare you from what you really deserved?
If God had removed all consequences of your sin from you, how would that affect your relationships--with Him and with others?
'And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,

"My child, don't make light of the LORD's discipline,
and don't give up when he corrects you.
For the LORD disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child."

As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn't discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.'
(Hebrews 12:5-8)

I'd love to hear how God is revealing His love for you as His child through the rough moments of discipline and consequence. Please comment and share this post with someone you think it would encourage.

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