CONFIDENT IN FORGIVENES
Lord, we fully appreciate the most important aspect of our redemption: forgiveness.
Read 2 SAMUEL 23:1–7
These are the last words of David:
“The inspired utterance of David son of Jesse,
the utterance of the man exalted by the Most High,
the man anointed by the God of Jacob,
the hero of Israel’s songs:
2 “The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me;
his word was on my tongue.
3 The God of Israel spoke,
the Rock of Israel said to me:
‘When one rules over people in righteousness,
when he rules in the fear of God,
4 he is like the light of morning at sunrise
on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain
that brings grass from the earth.’
5 “If my house were not right with God,
surely he would not have made with me an everlasting covenant,
arranged and secured in every part;
surely he would not bring to fruition my salvation
and grant me my every desire.
6 But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns,
which are not gathered with the hand.
7 Whoever touches thorns
uses a tool of iron or the shaft of a spear;
they are burned up where they lie.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future” (Paul Boese).
David’s last words here complement chapter 22, about his early life, and reflect on his reign and on the monarchy in general by setting out two ways of leadership. Those who rule justly and fear God (3) implicitly acknowledge divine rule and God as the source of power; hence they will prosper. On the other hand, evil (literally, “worthless”) men (6,7) will be judged. The latter expression is used both of Sheba and of Eli’s sons (1 Sam. 2:12; 2 Sam. 20:1), who abused their power for selfish interests. Although David too misused his power once, he can confidently affirm God’s everlasting covenant with his dynasty because God’s forgiveness has wiped the slate clean.
Forgiveness can be as hard to receive as to give. For some, their sense of guilt is so overwhelming that even after being forgiven they torture themselves with their past sins, living under a cloud of guilt. By contrast, David’s assurance is staggering, given his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah. He speaks as if those sins had never happened! Not only does he and his dynasty have a future, but God allows him to flourish, even granting him his desires (5) as he walks in the Lord’s will. This demonstrates God’s overflowing generosity and grace to those who return to him and are faithful.
David’s words are also prophetic, made clear by the Hebrew for “utterance” in verse 1, which is generally used in oracles (typically translated “to declare”; cf. Isa. 1:24; 3:15). In the light of Israel’s history, this is both a warning and a foreshadowing of things to come. It implicitly challenges David’s royal descendants to seek God’s ways if they want to remain in power and hints at their fate if disobedient. However, it also points to the Lord’s ongoing faithfulness that will culminate in the rule of the perfectly righteous Messiah.
Are you unsure of just how important divine forgiveness is? Reference the list of benefits to us issued in Psalm 103 and see which one heads the list (3).
Lord, thank You for Your abundant grace. Teach us to live confidently in Your forgiveness and in faithfulness.