Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fatherhood & Forgiveness

King David is a hero of mine. He was a man after God's own heart who was dearly in love with God and earnestly followed him. But today I want to look at David's failings and perhaps a look in to perhaps what had a big part to play in them. His lack of assurance in his sonship.

David's sin with Bathsheba was massive. He took his neighbours wife and tries to cover it up, when he can't conceal it he kills her husband. Nathan rebukes david David for what he has done and perhaps in one of the most understated verses of the bible it says "the thing David had done displeased the Lord". In response to what he had done David wrote Psalm 51.
This Psalm is definitely seen as model prayer of seeking forgiveness. Keith Green has a killer song about it and I'm sure the Psalm is sung in differing forms around churches still. There is definitely a place for this as the Psalm is full of desire, wholehearted petition and elements of hope. However it misses something key - assurance, thanksgiving. David doesn't acknowledge that his sins have been forgiven that he is thankful to God for the fact that this will happen. He is desperately longing for the forgiveness of sin; but its seems like this longing is never realised. As people in the new covenant, this Psalm HAS to lead us to the cross. A place where we have assurance in the forgiveness of sins.
David however was given a message of "you are forgiven, but you're gonna pay" said to him in the words of Nathan in 2 Samuel 12:14 "you're forgiven but your son will die". How would this make you feel? How would you feel if your Father in heaven said this to you? We look at this through our eyes which have seen the realisation of acceptance and forgiveness of sins in Christ however most times we act like David. We are not so sure that God has truely forgiven us and we earnestly seek him but we don't act like we have a blessed assurance. We feel like he's going to take something away from us to punish us for what we have done with the one hand, while forgiving us with the other.
David was restored with God to a position of favour; but it could seem like he was lacking a joy in his relationship as he lacked assurance and confidence in who he was. Following the writing of this Psalm several things happened in Davids life that demonstrate this. I will post this in my next post, but first let me just give a couple of points in relation to Davids relationship with his earthly 'fathers'.

1. Jesse. In 1 Samuel 16 Samuel comes to annoint Sauls replacement. Who does Jesse think of? Everyone BUT David. Jesse doesn't even consider him.

2. Saul. Saul was David's father in law who David has honoured and what does he do? He tries to kill David.

3. Samuel. Samuel was a good man to David, but it seemed like he was there for him in crisis but did not have enough time to fully develop a relationship with him.

So where does this leave us? It leaves us with 2 points. One, our earthly fathers have a huge impact on our lives. When we are poorly fathered we can suffer from a lack of assurance, a lack of confidence, a fearful relationship with God, passivity, self-pity, introspection, low self-esteem, a constant seeking of approval from those around us.
Two, when we read old testament stories like this we need to see the full revelation of God in Jesus Christ. As Boyd says, we need to view things from the end to understand the means and ways. We have in Christ what David wouldn't have even dreamed of, a freedom from guilt and freedom to be released into our masculinity that God the Father has created us to walk in. This freedom comes from the forgiveness of our sin and a true understanding of what it is to be in actual relationship with the Triune God.

I'm so thankful to Abba Father for the fact that he is my Father. A Father who rejoices over me and rescued me because he delights in me. And for the earthly father he gave me who has a hugely significant part to play in the man I am today and has been an incredible example of what it is to walk in the ways of Jesus and his kingdom.