Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Bible WTH moment: Psalm 51

Okay, am back. I was busy working on my novel so I just took some chapters from my Bible study book and scheduled them all this month. Now am back, having finished the first draft of my novel.

Okay, every once in a while as one reads the Bible one encounters a "what-the-heck?" moment. So here is the latest one. Everyone knows my dislike for King David. So here goes: Psalm 51:4 "Against you, you only have I sinned."

2 Samuel 12:13 "And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die."

Okay, the epigraph at the beginning of Psalm 51 states that David wrote this psalm when Nathan the prophet came to him to rebuke him about taking Bathsheba as his wife after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba and killed her husband Uriah the Hittite. (And honestly, this isn't the reason I dislike David. I dislike him because of his treatment of Michal his wife. He's just way spiteful.)

Now, in this psalm, David says, "Against you, you only have I sinned." And he is talking to God. So what are we to make of this? Is David saying that he sinned against God alone? that any sin we commit is ultimately against God alone??? ALONE???? He doesn't say "I sinned against you in addition to sinning against one of my best friends by murdering him." He says "I sinned against you alone."

Okay, we can try to get away with this with some weasel theology like, "Well, David was saying God is in everyone we hurt."

1 Corinthians 8:12
But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
Genesis 20:6
And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.

I understand that when it comes to sins, every sin is a sin against God. But I dunno. That God ALONE part. When David adds the YOU YOU ONLY...well, what the heck?

David was called a man after God's own heart in the beginning of his ministry as king. But when he died one wonders. In one version his last words are a death list to his son Solomon, telling Solomon to kill everyone who had upset him while he was alive. In the other version, his last words are Uriah the Hittite. Interesting last words. While alive, did he have it in him to ponder his cruelty to Uriah? Is that why he died with such guilt and unforgiveness. Unforgiveness toward himself, and unforgiveness toward his enemies. Did David do the little gave of "I love God with all my heart so I don't have to love my neighbor as myself?"

So many Christians just worship David because God says David never turned his heart aside from him. But, David turned his heart from people pretty easily. He was pretty unforgiving toward his enemies and toward Michal, his wife. And after he didn't sleep with her out of spite and unforgiveness, his sin rebounded to him because later Absalom slept with David's concubines and David couldn't sleep with those women. Yep, he had bragged about not women having him. And who knows, maybe some of those women had laughed at Michal when David rejected her. But they ended up in the same boat. Christians don't look at the Bible and see that.

So if someone sins against some unsaved person and kills that unsaved person and that unsaved person goes to hell? It's only a sin against God. So if a person declares war against an entire people and murders them all and they all go to hell and their children grow up wounded and emotionally maimed ....it's only a sin against God?

So, can a human being be sinned against?

Jesus said we could be.

Luke 17:4
If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."

1 Samuel 2:25
If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him?

1 Samuel 19:4
And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good:

1 Samuel 19:5
For he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the LORD wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?

2 Chronicles 6:22
If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house;

Matthew 18:21
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

Is David really even thinking of the harm he did to Uriah? Is this his way of not delving too deeply into his guilt? After all, he gets forgiven and he keeps the prize of his crime? Imagine someone commits adultery, ruins a marriage, gets saved, but still doesn't care that now the betrayed spouse is walking around being destroyed emotionally (and perhaps financially, if it's a cast-off wife) and yet the now saved adulterer goes about with a happy marriage? I can't figure David out. The only way I can get around this is by saying, "Well, God is gracious. He's gonna give David a full reward in heaven. It's all grace." And yet, this confession just doesn't sit right. Remember the oldtime folks when forgiveness was preached with restitution? Heck, back in those days if someone had an affair and left a spouse to marry the adulterous partner...then got saved. Heck, folks would leave the adulterous partner!

In another Psalm, Psalm 41:4 we get, "I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee."

Then there is sinning against one's own soul
Proverbs 20:2 "The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul."

1 Corinthians 6:18
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

So, is it my problem? Do I want folks to totally understand the pain of the one they have wounded when they confess? Am I asking the impossible? Am I just too shallow to understand David's confession? -C
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