My pastor is preaching a series on David. My pastor sounds so possessive. The pastor of our church is preaching a series on David. There we go. Our pastor is preaching a series on David and this morning he
preached prought on having a clean conscience. Which I thought was interesting in a series on David because when I think of David I think of two things. First, I think of his showdown with Goliath when he was a confident kid who was all, “What’d you say about my God?!” Then he cut off Goliath’s head. So cool. Second, I think about the Bathsheba/Uriah fiasco because for some reason of all the David stories that one has always stuck with me. You know the one. Where David, while totally peeping tomming it up, saw Bathsheba, said, “I must have her,” knocked her up, and then basically had her husband killed. Remember that one?
So I thought (at first) it was interesting (and perhaps wrong) to use David as an example of someone with a clean conscience. I mean, where was that conscience during the adultery and murder-plotting?
But then I thought some more, opened my heart and my mind up a bit, and realized that by using David as an example of a godly man (as God does throughout Scripture) God is teaching us a couple of big picture things.
1. God uses even losers like David. And also me. Okay so “losers” might be a little harsh, but the thing is that we can look to David as an example of a clean conscience even knowing about this huge colossal d-bag move of his because none of us are defined by just one event in our lives, good or bad. Despite his screw ups, David was described by God as a man after God’s own heart. God knows the depths of our souls and in the depths of David’s soul He saw Himself. If David’s sins didn’t keep him from knowing and being known by God, that means mine don’t either. Despite his screw ups, God used David to lead a freaking nation. And so many of the words David wrote (Psalms) are such a comfort and challenge to so many people today. Despite my screw ups, God uses me to lead a first grade classroom. And so many of the words I write are actually read by people, which is good enough for me.
This all reminds me of the story of Jonah and something my, I mean OUR, bible study leader said a couple of weeks ago about the J man. She said, “Jonah. He’s an idiot like I am.” Jonah hated the people of Nineveh. He flat out refused to preach the gospel to them. And yet he is the man God used to save that whole city. (And even then Jonah still didn’t get it.) God didn’t fill the Bible with stories of super awesome people who always got it right all the time because God knows that we are not always going to get it right all the time. God uses stories of real people who did real things for Love’s sake because He knows that we are real people capable of the same kind of big things.
2. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. The whole Bathsheba/Uriah thing happened because David, in his position of power, had grown lax and comfortable. He knew God was on his side. He thought he could chill. God’s got this war. I’ll just send everyone else and stay at home. They don’t really need me. Well, as my missions professor always says, “Pray like it all depends on God. Work like it all depends on you.” When David first saw Bathsheba and decided to sleep with her (even though they were both married to other people) he should’ve been at war with his troops. That was his job as king. What is my job as Suzanne? Where am I supposed to be? Am I chilling out when I should be on the frontlines? Am I expecting someone else to do my job while I’m setting myself up for a bad move?
My YouTube yoga instructor, Adriene, reminds us YouTube yogis to check in with our breath a lot. “Check in with your breath,” she says. She also tells us to listen to our bodies and find what feels good. Remember when Christians thought yoga was the same as devil worship? I remember people asking whether or not they could practice yoga as Christians. Now I’m saying that some of my most worship-minded moments lately are during yoga. When I calm my thoughts and check in with my breath, I’m giving myself space to listen, not only to my body, but to my soul. I’m reminded to check in with the Bible, the Words that are a fresh breath to my very self, and to listen to the Holy Spirit, to know His voice as well as I know my own body, and to find what feels good.
Just like it’s important to check in with your breath, to consciously breathe in and out steadily and softly and purposefully, many times throughout your yoga practice, it’s important to check in with your soul. To consciously soak in the good stuff steadily and softly and purposefully many times throughout your day. Find what feels good, what makes your soul sing, and then live the crap out of it.
3. We’re not garbage. We’re human beings. My first instinct was to discount David as a good example of a clean conscience because of one unsightly incident. My first instinct at times is to discount myself and others I know as good examples or useful missionaries because of one (or one hundred, in the case of myself) unsightly incident(s). But as I stated before, one mistake does not wreck us. Sometimes we straight up ignore our conscience and get on the boat to Tarshish or call up the married chick and sometimes we are tuned into that conscience like my friend Ryan watching a football game on his phone under the table at Thanksgiving. Either way, it’s not my conscience that changes. It’s not the Holy Spirit that leaves, it’s me who stops paying attention.
In God’s eyes, and in our pastor’s eyes, the Bathsheba/Uriah incident didn’t discount all of the good, selfless, God-honoring choices David made before and after. Of course there are consequences to our actions and some of those consequences suck because our actions were stupid, but the consequence is never that you are written off as a human. The consequence is never a lessening of our inherent value. The consequence is never fifteen years in an underground bunker. Hopefully.
I was talking with one of my students about a month ago about his behavior. His family belongs to a church (in fact I believe his father is a pastor, or at least on staff at the church) and he may even be a Christian. I was talking to him about how when we disobey those with authority over us (i.e. our first grade teacher) we are really disobeying God. I told him that God says that those who love Him will obey Him. He started to cry. I said, “Why are you crying?” He explained to me that he was scared that if he couldn’t obey he wasn’t going to get to heaven.
I looked him right in the eyes and I said, “If you have Jesus in your heart, there isn’t anything in this world that can keep you from heaven. Do you hear me?” This is a fierce truth. Once we are in God’s family, seated at His table, name written in book, on His side, no amount of screw ups can change that. We are never garbage. We are always, always, always, no matter what, Beloved human beings.