Tuesday, March 20
This is a Psalm of David after he had gone to Bathsheba.
David’s conscience kicked in when Nathan outed him. But to suggest he was sinful as an infant – good grief! I know about the original sin idea, but it’s hard for me to swallow that a baby enters the world as a sinful creature. It seems like a lame excuse (“oh, I can’t help it, I was born that way”).
David’s sin was a gross abuse of power. Imagine a political leader sending a man to the front of battle certain he will be killed to cover-up the leader’s elicit relationship with the man’s wife. No doubt the community was in uproar! This is a timeless story. Our communities are often victims of the abuse of the powerful.
What is David’s image of God? He calls on God to be merciful, thinking the worst will happen to him for his egregious behavior. We know the rest of the story – God supposedly causes David’s first-born son to die, but spares David and gives him another son (Solomon).
I’m not real fond of this image of God. This story is often used to illustrate the grace of God. I find that disturbing. This is not the kind of justice I want in my community. How should I view God in my time and place? Certainly understanding of our existence is very different than it was for David and his people. But, the big question may be the same: should the application of justice be different for the powerful as compared to the rest of us?
-Submitted by Doug Cleveland
How often do you turn to God for mercy? When God is characterized by judgment, how is that characterization harmful to those who might be in need of a source of mercy? Can anyone not be in need of a source of mercy?