Heroic Flaws

David and Bathsheba by artist Marc Chagall

King David is one of the truly great Biblical heroes.  He unified the twelve tribes of Israel, conquered the once dominate Philistines, expanded the borders and established Jerusalem as the nation’s capital. He also had a deep abiding loyalty to God that he expressed in song and dance. One of my favorite stories is how he brought the forgotten ark of the covenant (the holy box which contained the Moses’ stone tablets) to Jerusalem. As they brought the ark up into the city, “David danced before the Lord with all his might; David was girded with only a loincloth.” (2 Samuel 5:14).  His wife Michal was scandalized by his behavior, but he refused to stop.

David was the heroic leader, the model by which all future kings of Israel and Judah were judged. At the time of Jesus, one thousand years after David’s death, the people still yearned for a new “King David” to arise.  Many hoped Jesus would be that new king. As he entered Jerusalem the people shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Matthew 21:9.

Yet David had real human frailties, especially as a father and husband. He seduced his neighbor’s wife Bathsheba and then had her husband killed (2 Samuel 11). David’s son Ammon rapes his half-sister Tamar, but David refuse to punish him. So Absalom, Tamar’s brother, avenges her death by killing Ammon. He fled to a neighboring kingdom but eventually returns, only to lead a rebellion against his father, a rebellion that nearly succeeded (2 Samuel 13-17). David’s household was a real mess.

The contrast between David as King and David as husband/dad is so striking, yet true to life. God works through flawed individuals. When we read the stories of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and David, we discover that they all stumbled in their relationship with God and others. Yet God’s grace was sufficient; God’s power was made manifest in spite of their weaknesses.

If God’s Spirit can work through such flawed, broken human beings like David, God can certainly work through flawed, broken people like you and me. Maybe we just need to dance a bit more?

Lord Jesus, forgive me my sins of doubt and mistrust. Use me for your purposes today.

1 thought on “Heroic Flaws

  1. Sarah S

    One of my favorite memories of CAMP WAPO comes from this story. Late one night during our 2010 camp week, I sat on a bench in the middle of camp enjoying the relative quiet, the sounds of campers settling in, and the peace that I find there. Suddenly a cabin or two of middle school guys walked in front of me on their way to the dining hall. Soon after I could see lots of activity in the lower level of Martin’s Commons, and the lights flickering on and off for quite some time. Boys goofing around, I thought. When I asked one of the campers the next morning what their activity was the night before, he replied, “We were dancing.” Their devotion that night was on David – and these 13 and 14 year old boys danced with all their might. They found freedom to worship in a new way and I am certain they still remember that devo.


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