Within minutes they were bickering over who of them would end up the greatest. But Jesus intervened, “Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It’s not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant.
“Who would you rather be, the one who eats the dinner or the one who serves the dinner? You’d rather eat and be served, right? But I’ve taken my place among you as the one who serves. And you’ve stuck with me through thick and thin. Now I confer on you the royal authority my Father conferred on me so you can eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and be strengthened as you take up responsibility in the congregations of God’s people.
“Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I’ve prayed for you in particular that you do not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start.
Isn’t it amazing to consider what kind of Savior we have? He knows what our desires are and the motives that carry them, but He addresses us with mercy and loving authority. With perfect kindness He leads us with His example. How else could we follow someone so contrary to us, but that He showed us what good reasons we have to forfeit our own ways.
But GOD was not at all pleased with what David had done, and sent Nathan to David. Nathan said to him, “There were two men in the same city — one rich, the other poor. The rich man had huge flocks of sheep, herds of cattle. The poor man had nothing but one little female lamb, which he had bought and raised. It grew up with him and his children as a member of the family. It ate off his plate and drank from his cup and slept on his bed. It was like a daughter to him.
“One day a traveler dropped in on the rich man. He was too stingy to take an animal from his own herds or flocks to make a meal for his visitor, so he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared a meal to set before his guest. ”
David exploded in anger. “As surely as GOD lives,” he said to Nathan,”the man who did this ought to be lynched! He must repay for the lamb four times over for his crime and his stinginess!”
“You’re the man!” said Nathan. “And here’s what GOD, the God of Israel, has to say to you: I made you king over Israel. I freed you from the fist of Saul. I gave you your master’s daughter and other wives to have and to hold. I gave you both Israel and Judah. And if that hadn’t been enough, I’d have gladly thrown in much more. So why have you treated the word of GOD with brazen contempt, doing this great evil? You murdered Uriah the Hittite, then took his wife as your wife. Worse, you killed him with an Ammonite sword! And now because you treated GOD with such contempt and took Uriah the Hittite’s wife as your wife, killing and murder will continually plague your family. This is GOD speaking, remember! I’ll make trouble for you out of your own family. I’ll take your wives from right out in front of you. I’ll give them to some neighbor, and he’ll go to bed with them openly. You did your deed in secret; I’m doing mine with the whole country watching!”
Then David confessed to Nathan, “I’ve sinned against GOD.”
Nathan pronounced, “Yes, but that’s not the last word. GOD forgives your sin. You won’t die for it. But because of you blasphemous behavior, the son born to you will die.”
After Nathan went home, GOD afflicted the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and he came down sick. David prayed desperately to GOD for the little boy. He fasted, wouldn’t go out, and slept on the floor. The elders in his family came in and tried to get him off the floor, but he wouldn’t budge. Nor could they get him to eat anything. On the seventh day the child died. David’s servants were afraid to tell him. They said, “What do we do now? While the child was living he wouldn’t listen to a word we said. Now, with the child dead, if we speak to him there’s no telling what he’ll do.”
David noticed that the servants were whispering behind his back, and realized that the boy must have died.
He asked the servants, “Is the boy dead?”
“Yes,” they answered. “He’s dead.”
David got up from the floor, washed his face and combed his hair, put on a fresh change of clothes, then went into the sanctuary and worshiped. Then he came home and asked for something to eat. They set it before him and he ate.
His servants asked him, “What’s going on with you? While the child was alive you fasted and wept and stayed up all night. Now that he’s dead, you get up and eat.”
“While the child was alive,” he said, “I fasted and wept, thinking God might have mercy on me and the child would live. But now that he’s dead, why fast? Can I bring him back now? I can go to him, but he can’t come to me.”
David went and comforted his wife Bathsheba. And when he slept with her, they conceived a son. When he was born they named him Solomon. God had a special love for him and sent word by Nathan the prophet that God wanted him named Jedidiah (God’s Beloved).
2 Samuel 12:1-25
I don’t often think about how God sees sin. Most often I am content to ruminate over what I think on the matter. I am much more of a philosopher — as I believe we all are — than a theologian, or even one who submits to theology in all of it’s authority. I like to consider what I believe about a matter, and then consult what others’ have to say about it. It is not my immediate response to ask God what He thinks, how things are according to His judgments. Quite frankly, His judgments seem criminal to me. Either they cause me to fear, feel guilt or question what I would really rather blindly believe. But, He doesn’t offer me that option, He comes right out and presents the truth and insists that I do something about it: either live with it, or take it to court.
Since I often don’t feel like I can live with it — because submission to His rules seems impossible either because of what I want to do or because of what I don’t want to do — I take it to court.
“God,” I say, “this doesn’t work for me. I don’t know how you thought it was a good idea, but I don’t like it. Do Ya think we could come up with a new plan; a new method for living…together, so I could have more of a creative part? Because I can tell that you didn’t really include much of my input — and we know I have ample supply for both of us! So, how about it? Ya think? Huh?”
I want to be for His plans, I truly do, but I am always surprised when I found out what they are. I get close to them and gasp: they couldn’t be further from what I think will work best for me! I often go through a period of grieving, where I struggle with what God has for me, and what I wanted for myself. I realize that I can’t have both. I can either have God and all His wonderful plans that will take me deeper into His love, especially with all those pressures I hadn’t counted on in my own plan, or I can have my plan, which really isn’t much of a plan, it’s just focused on having the fullest experience of leisure and comfort that I can manage on this earth.
Hard choice. One I can’t trust myself to make. I look to Him, to remind me of how intimately attuned He is to my best interest — the interest of my heart in increased godliness, the interest of my mind in increased wholeness, the interest of my soul in increased satisfaction, the interest of my heart in increased joy — the ability to grow in the love of God for me and mine for Him. Isn’t that really all there is?
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
1 Corinthians 13 (emphasis mine)