2 Samuel 12:13-14 - David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." And Nathan said to David, "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you [by the wife of Uriah] shall die."
This devotion pairs with this weekend's Lutheran Hour sermon, which can be found at lutheranhour.org.
Years ago, I visited a church. Inside the church building, in the back, hanging on the wall, there was a wooden cross on display that had been splattered with paint. It looked like it had been vandalized. And, according to a placard posted on the wall next to the cross, it had been. Years ago, someone broke into the church sanctuary and dumped out paint on the carpet, threw it on the altar and pulpit, and splattered it on the walls. Some things, the church had to throw out. Other things, they repaired. But this paint-splattered cross, they left as is. Instead of hiding it, they displayed it as a sign of embracing the sinful world as it is, even including the people who had vandalized their church. Telling the story of that desecrated cross didn't change the character of the crime committed. But it did change the outcome.
On The Lutheran Hour, we've been listening to the life of King David as recorded in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel. Now David—he had some highs and he had some lows. And his lows were really low. The events recorded in 2 Samuel 11 and 12 are beyond tragic. David plotted, schemed, and conspired. He vandalized the kingdom with his sin. He desecrated the sacred status God had given him. And from this point on, David's career and family enter a slow, but steady downward spiral, not to recover for a thousand years.
It was around that time, a thousand years later, when a follower of Jesus named Matthew wrote a biography about his Lord. Matthew believed that Jesus, whose body had been desecrated on a blood-splattered cross, Jesus is risen from the dead. Matthew believed that Jesus is the promised Descendent of King David, about whom God promised: "I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever" (2 Samuel 7:13b). And when Matthew told the story of how Jesus came to be born, he didn't hide David's shame. Matthew explains that Jesus was the "son of David," through the lineage of Solomon, who was born to David "by the wife of Uriah" (Matthew 1:6b). Right there in the middle of the Messiah's genealogy, on display, is a sordid affair of adultery, deception, and murder. Telling this story, as Matthew does, in Jesus, it doesn't change the character of the crimes. But it does change the outcome.
Jesus changes the outcome. You and I have been vandalized by sin—by our own sins and the sins of others. But when you come to Jesus, just as you are, broken, desecrated, in a downward spiral, you don't have to hide anything from Him because Jesus promises not to throw you out. When Jesus forgives, it doesn't change the character of sin. Sin is still sin. And even forgiven sin can have devastating consequences, as it did in David's life. But Jesus promises to come and change the outcome.
THE PRAYER: Come, Lord Jesus. Come quickly. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Rev. Dr. Michael Zeigler, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour.
1. When have you seen the outcome of a crime reversed, even as the crime remained what it was?
2. Read all of 1 Samuel 11 and 12. What in these chapters "gets" you?
3. Why was it important for Matthew to mention David's sin when he shared Jesus' genealogy?
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