An audio drama with four characters:
The Imagined Voice of the Holy Spirit,
and Bob Dylan
(Note: If you’re reading this via email or RSS feed, this post is best read from the site by clicking on the title above. And now… on with the drama…)
In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath my feet flood every newborn seed
There’s a dyin’ voice within me reaching out somewhere,
Toiling in the danger and in the morals of despair.
He was restless.
Bored with the battlefield, if you could imagine that.
He was everybody’s darling – the “Shepherd of Israel,” they called him. Proof that good guys really can come in first, even if they weren’t born into it.
His thoughts weren’t racing – they were pacing:
“I know I ought to go to work, but I don’t want to. I’m just not motivated. Anyway, the army’s in good hands. They don’t need me. I think I’m entitled to some time for myself.”
Watch, David, watch. Nobody can do your responsibility, truly, but you. Be alert to the danger, even when it doesn’t look dangerous. That thing your grandma used to say about idle minds and the devil’s workshop? Pay attention.
Up from his afternoon nap one lazy day, he takes a stroll along the roof of the palace. From his vantage point, he sees a woman bathing.
She is stunning.
But he’s seen women before, and, if he may say so himself, he knows how to treat a woman. Unlike some of the lugs and thugs he’s come across in his day. So seeing this one is no big deal.
Run, David, run. The first look is unavoidable. The second is irresistible. Being in authority doesn’t make you immune from disaster. Nor does it entitle you to violate the trust of those who serve you. Hey, maybe there’s still time to catch up with the troops. Get out!
Still, he loves God. After all, he’s the chief musician, the innovator of all things worship. When he prays, God talks back. He has mastered his spirit, ruled over his desire for revenge, and yet broken forth in amazingly free and spontaneous public worship.
He’s a giant killer with a giant heart for God.
So where is God now?
“Oh,” he says, “God understands. I’ll deal with Him later.”
Pray, David, pray. If you EVER needed to deal with God, it’s now. Don’t wait until you’ve made a tragic mistake. Talk to him BEFORE you screw up. There’s more to grace than covering failure. He also offers strength to avoid the stupid choices in the first place.
Don’t have the inclination to look back on any mistake,
Like Cain, I now behold this chain of events that I must break.
In the fury of the moment I can see the Master’s hand
In every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand.
“Make the call. Find out who she is. No, no, I’m just curious. But while you’re at it, ask her to join me in the palace for, uh, dinner. That’s it. Dinner.”
Turn, David, turn. CANCEL the stupid call. Cancel dinner. Fast and pray instead. Send an embarrassed and humble apology for the misunderstanding. Invite YOUR wife to dinner, not somebody else’s. Court HER. Tell HER how grateful you are for her. You think you’re the only guy in town who’s tempted? And don’t EVEN start with all that “unmet needs” yap. Nobody’s buying that but you.
Too late now.
We have a “situation.”
Let’s see if he can fix this…
Her husband will be an honorable victim, she’ll be the grieving widow, he’ll be the comforting friend, and they’ll be proud parents.
Hey, all’s well that ends well.
No point hurting more people than needed. After all, he feels really bad about this, but he can’t undo what’s been done. (Remember, murdering babies wasn’t an option back then. So he settled for the next best thing.)
Anyway, he has to think of what’s good for the country, right?
Confess, David, confess. Any way you slice it, covering up your sin won’t prosper you. Committing more sin to cover up previous sin CERTAINLY won’t prosper you. Anyway, if you were concerned about the good of the country, you wouldn’t have toyed with the temptation in the first place. You aren’t protecting anything but your own charming reputation. You may be surprised how forgiving people can be if you’re willing to be honest and humble yourself.
Oh, the flowers of indulgence and the weeds of yesteryear,
Like criminals, they have choked the breath of conscience and good cheer.
The sun beat down upon the steps of time to light the way
To ease the pain of idleness and the memory of decay.
He believed the lies.
Sucker-punched by the flowers of indulgence.
He believed that covered sin is concealed sin. He had convinced himself that everything was peachy because nearly a year had gone by and no one had confronted him with it.
He believed wrong.
They didn’t have personal injury attorneys around back then. But they did have prophets. And the echoes still ring in his ears: “Thou art the man!”
There’s nothing covered that won’t be revealed. You get to decide who reveals it.
“God isn’t the issue.”
Strangely enough, he sincerely believed that, in the fury of the moment. He forgot the most important discipleship principle of all:
If you’re in covenant with Me, I am ALWAYS the issue.
“I wasn’t there, so it’s not my fault.”
God begs to differ. “You have choked the breath of conscience. You killed your friend with the sword of your enemy.”
Manipulation is participation, even when you’ve left the building. Own up.
“Okay, I was wrong.”
And you’re forgiven, the prophet said. But there’s hell to pay, starting with the death of the, uh, ‘situation.’ Like Cain, you will behold this chain of events – you’ll have war and rebellion in your own household as long as you live.
Sin has consequences. But grace has even greater, more wonderful consequences. Receive it! Walk in it!
He entertained and actually believed the stupid, stupid idea that his failure didn’t affect anybody but him.
Wrong again. The “pool of tears beneath his feet floods every newborn seed.” Some blunders reap a whirlwind that devastates an entire family, a whole nation, even generations to come.
But here’s the wonder of grace. Soon another baby would arrive. Same adulterous dad. Same sinful mother. And this baby was hand-picked by God to be Israel’s next king, and the wisest man who ever lived. And through this man, generations later, the Son of God entered the world. Take your failures there. Regardless of the impact of sin, the impact of grace will always be greater.
I gaze into the doorway of temptation’s angry flame
And every time I pass that way I always hear my name.
Then onward in my journey I come to understand
That every hair is numbered like every grain of sand.
He’s shaking now.
Doubled over with unspeakable pain.
The death of an infant had rocked his world. But this? The death of a son he never could reach, no matter how hard he tried? It shattered his life.
“O my son! My son Absalom! Absalom, my son! If only I had died in your place, my son! Absalom, my son!”
You think he ever stopped to gaze at a woman bathing again?
To his credit, no. He never repeated the same mistake twice. That’s why God referred to him as a man after his own heart.
Fast forward, years later. That special son – Solomon – now rests after dedicating the temple his father had long ago envisioned.
He has a Visitor.
“As for you, if you walk before me as David your father did…I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a man to rule over Israel.’”
Be like who?
I wonder what he meant by that.