2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a
When I was a teenager and young adult my father would express his disappointment in my poor choices by saying, “After all I’ve done for you, you go and do this.”
Frankly, I didn’t see where one had anything to do with the other. I wanted to suggest that if he did anything for me perhaps he could tell me what I needed to do in order to repay his kindness.
Better yet, don’t bother doing anything for me and I won’t have to live with this guilt trip you’re putting on me.
I don’t like guilt. I especially dislike parental guilt. It makes me feel like, well, a child. When my father imposed this on me I felt small and ashamed. It was a terrible feeling and I would have done anything to get beyond it and set it aside.
Yet, isn’t that what God is doing to David in this passage? “I anointed you king over Israel and delivered you from Saul’s power. I gave your master’s house to you, and gave his wives into your embrace. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. If that was too little, I would have given even more.” (2 Samuel 12:7b-8)
You can read the, “After all I’ve done for you” in this passage. I cringe and remember my father’s words. I feel angry at them and wonder what God is up to? Is this a major guilt trip or what?
As a matter of fact, yes. It’s a guilt trip because David is guilty. He coveted another man’s wife; he took her and impregnated her; he had her husband killed along with a few soldiers for collateral damage. He murdered to cover up his sins. God is angry; God is infuriated.
Would we want God to be any other way? Would we want God to be someone who looked the other way? Would we want God to indulge us when we sin? Perhaps we would in the short term. After all, who wants to face the judgement seat when we’ve sinned?
In the long run, though, we want God to love us. We want God to be involved and mixed up in our yearnings and our hurts and our pain. We want God to come alongside us when the going gets tough. We want to know that God is there celebrating with us when life is good. That calls for God to love us with every fiber of the heavenly being.
If God loves us that much, then we have to understand that God is hurt and angered when we sin. Because when we sin we deny our humanness. When we sin, we deny who we are. As unique creations of God, that hurts our Creator. God loves us and cares for us so much that God can’t possibly let this go. To look the other way would mean that God doesn’t care enough. For God to indulge our sin would mean that God was indifferent towards us.
That’s surely not the case. For proof, look at the empty cross. John 3:16 states it all: God loved us so much that he sent his son into the world. This son lived and walked among us and then voluntarily went to the cross because he loved us so much.
My father loved me very much. He stood by me even when I made poor choices. And when he expressed his disappointment in terms of what he had done for me, I realize that he what he did for me is love me. He provided for me out of that love and he expressed his disappointment because he loved me too much to let me go on with my poor choices.
God, in Christ, meets us in the midst of our journey through life. Wherever we are in that journey he stands with us and loves us. He loves us so much that when we sin, he reminds us of all he’s done for us: cross and grave and resurrection.
Thanks be to God.