Food for Thought-Reflections on 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13 (David, Nathan, and the Death of Uriah)

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It can all go horribly wrong very quickly. If there’s one lesson to take away from the story of David, Uriah, and Bathsheba it is this: God’s plans are delicate. Why do I say this? Because David’s encounter with Uriah reveals that the most fragile human actions can derail years of divine planning and action. In one fell swoop, David has undone God’s vision for Israel, David’s leadership of Israel, and his integrity as the leader of the nation All of which seemed set in stone as part of God’s immutable plan just a few verses before.

It’s not supposed to work that way. We’re told God’s plans are as solid as the Great Wall of China. If God has a vision for you and your life, you can count on it being fulfilled. Hundreds of memes says as much across various social media platforms every day. Yet David, a man after God’s own heart, is able to undo everything that God had envisioned for David’s life. Clearly, there are connections between what we term as “God’s will” and our own actions which we’ve don’t like to make or discuss. Are God’s purposes and plans all they’re cracked up to be or do they hinge more on our participation that we’d like to admit? By putting all the emphasis on the strength on immutability of God’s plan, do we let ourselves off the hook? If something goes wrong, do we then create a convenient person to blame, the one who set us up with these expectations in the first place, God? I think so.

None of us are in any position to pass judgment on David’s relationship with God. David’s actions were reprehensible and led to the death of an innocent man. We know what David did was wrong. We’ve all been in the wrong, in one form or another. Perhaps not to the extreme which David felt, but we’ve been there. My question is what lies beyond that sense of wrongness. Beyond the wrong lies the relationship with God. David’s lies in tatters. David is David and we can’t change that reality. However, he’s in a place we don’t want to be and cannot rightly judge because of the unique nature of his relationship with God.

I do not want to judge David’s relationship with God. It is God’s relationship with David which troubles me. So much time, money, and effort has been invested in making David into the person and leader he has become. David has an understanding of morality, scripture, and his place in Israelite history. Despite his flawed humanity and penchant for brutality, he is the anointed one of Israel. David is a messiah. This doesn’t matter. Sinful David, the all too human Messiah, is too much for the God who placed him on Saul’s throne. Uriah’s death is the beginning of the end of David, King of Israel. God turn his back on his chosen as quickly as he has anointed him. God says, “I am making trouble come against you from inside your own family. Before your very eyes, I will take your wives away and give them to your friend and he will have sex with your wives in broad daylight.”

That’s brutal. It’s pornographic. That’s inexplicably profane. You do realize 2 Samuel 12:11 (quoted above) is a description of divinely ordained rape. This makes me extremely uncomfortable.  To tell you the truth, it makes me more than a little sick to my stomach to think this is how God (the creator of the universe) is pictured as punishing his beloved.  Why would the writer of 2 Samuel do such a thing?  I don’t want the God I worship ever being OK with rape, at any time, in any form.  That’s one heck of a way to treat the anointed one of Israel and his family. No hint of forgiveness, no sense of reconciliation, no sense of anything other than total public and abject humiliation.  So I guess two wrongs do make a right?  Is that what God is telling us here?

Don’t get me wrong. I have no intention of sleeping with a strange woman and sending her husband off to die. I condemn David’s actions with every fiber of my being. However, God’s public shaming of David is way over the top, out of line, humiliating, gross, disgusting, and not very, what’s the word, Christian.

Calling Them Like I See Them,

Richard

Food for Thought-5 Good Ideas for July 31st, 2015

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1. How did you do with your gratitude points? Pick three new things today. Try making this a habit. Two days ago, I talked about releasing things that may be holding you back. Yesterday we looked at gratitude for things already present in our lives. Are there things we need to pick up? As we let go of negative emotions are there things like humility, patience, and gentleness we need to pick up and embrace? Release something negative and replace it with something positive.

2. No one makes good decisions when they are physically or emotionally starved. If our emotions (our mental state) are malnourished we’re going to go after psychological junk food and make bad decisions. Setting ourselves up for healthy emotions is like going to the grocery store on a full stomach. You make better decisions and buy only what you need. One way to do this is to surround ourselves with people who bring out our best.

3. Words shape our beliefs and actions. Think about the words you use today and how the land on the ears of the people around you.

4. Metaphors can tell a great story or distract us from saying what we really mean. Communicate for a day with as few metaphors as possible.

5. If you can empower someone else to be better, do better, or feel better you can do the same for yourself.

Food for Thought-5 Good Ideas for July 30th, 2015

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1. Start with some specific gratitude. Write down three things for which you’re grateful. What, in your life, at this moment, are your grateful for? Put that down on paper.

2. Look at those words and let the words look at you.

3. Why are you grateful for those three things? What is about those three things, that if removed, your life wouldn’t be as rich full as you see it today? Think about those answers in your mind.

4. On your list of three gratitude points, pick one with which to engage today. If you are grateful for something, can you acknowledge that gratitude beyond writing down on a piece of paper?

5. Write down three ways you might engage with one of the areas of your life that fuels your sense of gratitude today.

Food for Thought-The Therapeutic Architecture of My Office

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Come and take a seat,
In the place,
Well prepared,
By the window,
Near the tree,
This is here,
For you,
and your spouse to be,
To see each other,
While I look beneath,
The tiny fissures,
Between the smiles,
Where you’d rather,
Not be bothered,
About things,
Not printed, placed,
Or even sold,
Instead,
We shall speak of love,
And emotions old,
And confront,
Questions lingering,
round the northwest corner,
Of your soul,
Why are we here?
Why do we love?

In these moments,
Fleeting and mere,
Ask them now,
For the demands of life,
Stalk us in ways,
We know not how.

–Richard Bryant