Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Greatest Among You

I have always said that my firstborn son would be named David, because he is the greatest man in the bible. Jesus himself is called 'Son of David.' David was a great king. But he was also a great human being, in the broadest sense of the word. YWHW called him "a man after My own heart."

Jesus said, "he who is forgiven little, loves little." David had much to be forgiven. First, he commits adultery with another man's wife. Then, when he finds out she is pregnant, he tries to cover it up. Then he orders her husband be killed. This is not how a man acts, at least not a noble man.

But David is great, even in his sin. When he realizes what he has done (thanks to Nathan the prophet), his repentance is sincere. There is no doubt David had a lapse in judgment. But God is merciful, and he who is forgiven little, loves little. There is a moving humility in David, an openness before God. He is brazen, because he trusts God. He eats the showbread. He dances almost stark naked before the Ark of the Covenant. He takes down a giant with a sling. He expresses himself unabashedly before the Lord, as recorded in the Psalms.

Paul was also a great man, but in a different way. He was not weak, but strong. He deplored immorality. He was a zealot. He also suffered from pride, the "thorn in his flesh." He expected everyone to be strong like him, though he made concessions for human weakness, (i.e., marriage?!). He was a serious man. He did not dance half-naked before the Ark. He did not dance at all. There was no time for dancing when the Second Coming was at hand.

I am proud to share a name with this man. But I do not feel I am like him. My heart is closer to Peter, the Rock who denied Christ three times, who abandoned Jesus at the cross, who "wept bitterly" at his own cowardice. To think that God made a great adulterer and murderer into a great king, and an apostatizer the foundation of the Church, says something about our weakness as human beings. There is no room for pride, nothing to boast about. Our weakness plays a part in our salvation; "My grace is sufficient for thee." When the heart pines for God, the foundation has already been laid, and it is on this that God builds his kingdom within.

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