The greatest men in the Bible were guys that made terrible mistakes and realised they were sinners, that they needed God. But I never got too much encouragement from those who were so perfect like Enoch, who walked so close to God that he got completely out of touch with humanity, so God had to take him out of this World because he was no longer any use to Man. I take a lot more heart from the pathetic stories of the drunks and the harlots and the publicans and the sinners who came to Jesus for love and mercy.
In fact, one of the worst characters in the Bible is my greatest inspiration!--One of the most wicked men in the entire Bible, who was a murderer, an adulterer and a liar, but whom God turned around and called a man after His Own heart, King David! (Acts 13:22)
The most encouraging thing about David's example was not his perfectionism, but his human failures, sins and shortcomings, which gave God a chance to get all the glory, and show there's hope for me--and you! I always figured if God could forgive even as bad a guy as David, surely He could forgive me! I think King David's been an encouragement to a lot of people.--To know how much mercy God has and how much forgiveness He has, how good He can be if you'll really repent like David did!
He was one of the biggest sinners in the Bible and did some of the most horrible things! But look what a marvellous change occurred in him when the Lord really humbled him.--It came through a humbling of his spiritual pride.
But he had to be completely exposed--his wickedness and his sins and his weaknesses. He was sitting up there on his throne so high and mighty and seemingly so perfect and self-righteous. The Prophet Nathan came along and pointed the finger at him and said, "Thou art the man!" (2Sam.12) "You're the wicked one, the sinner!"--And then the judgements of God began to fall and he just lost everything, everything but Bathsheba, she stuck by him. He lost all his other wives. He was absolutely stripped except for a few loyal friends and followers.
A guy couldn't have gone down in worse defeat than King David did! And the worst of all his sins was that he had become a self-righteous hypocrite because he covered all of his other sins up and pretended to be so righteous, judging other people's problems. That's when the Prophet came along and exposed him!
So David really went through a lot of things. He apparently had a lot of spiritual pride that had to be humbled, because look what a great hero he was to begin with! Even as a little boy he was a great hero! He even fought and killed a lion and a bear to protect his sheep. (1Sam.17:34-37) Then all Israel knew what a great hero he was when he killed Goliath, the giant! They were praising his name above King Saul, saying, "Saul hath slain his thousands but David his tens of thousands!" (1Sam.18:7-9) So it could be that he was quite proud.--Which is no doubt why the Lord had to finally really humble him and disgrace him and really debase him down to the bottom before he finally really became humble and sympathetic to others and wrote those marvellous Psalms!
So David is a dandy bad example, yet a great example of a great man who was apparently lifted up in pride for awhile and thereby got into great sin and thereby had to have a great humbling, a great judgement, a great confession and a really terrible stripping of everything.
His was a great sin and it was a great dealing of God with him for his iniquity, but it was also a great repentance, and as a result, a great forgiveness. But it cost him the child of the woman he loved the most, the wife that was dearest to him, Bathsheba! But praise God, as a result of his repentance through having gone through that soul agony of the loss of that first child of Bathsheba, God forgave, and in His mercy gave him another one named Solomon, who became a very great king, the wisest and richest Israel ever knew!
Though they were great sins, he had a great repentance, and therefore God had a great forgiveness for him, because they had a great love for each other in spite of everything!--And from that squeezing and twisting of David's life came forth the sweet honey of the Psalms and the fragrance of his praises to the Lord for His mercy! It was all God and all grace, and none of himself or his own righteousness!--A lesson that has been an encouragement to other great sinners like me and you ever since! (Continued in Part IV The Difference between David and Saul )
My name is James Arendt. I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the southeast side of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom.
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