Our as-yet-nameless bible study group (four years on) that meets on Wednesdays (used to be Thursdays) with fluid membership requirements (think we’ve narrowed it down to female?) is currently doing a series on choices. (Perhaps we should have started with this one all those years ago…)
Anyway, this series started with a detailed look into King David, specifically, his streak of bad, badder and baddest decisions (sometimes only incorrect grammar will suffice) involving sleeping late, adultery and, ultimately, murder.
There’s a point where God is giving David a royal rebuking through the prophet Nathan and he (Nathan) says:
“And here’s what God, the God of Israel, has to say to you: I made you king over Israel. I freed you from the fist of Saul. I gave you your master’s daughter and other wives to have and to hold. I gave you both Israel and Judah. And if that hadn’t been enough, I’d have gladly thrown in much more. So why have you treated the word of God with brazen contempt, doing this great evil?
That one line, “And if that hadn’t been enough, I’d have gladly thrown in much more,” just grabbed me.
Can you imagine? Here’s David, caught out by God in the most horrendous of acts, a “great evil”, and basically God’s saying, I would have given you more if you had just asked. David, in essence, stole out of pride and out of fear. He stole Uriah’s wife, and he then irrevocably stole Uriah’s life, leading also to the unnecessary deaths of other soldiers in his army.
Could all this have been avoided if David had just asked God for what he wanted?
Now, I sincerely doubt God would have just handed him Bathsheba, but perhaps in the asking, another option would have come about, one I am fairly sure wouldn’t have involved adultery, lies and murder.
Interesting to note that, according to the law given to kings of Israel, David already had much more than he should have. Deuteronomy chapter 17 details the guidelines, the “laws” for Israelite kings and among them are:
“…The king, moreover, must not acquire a great number of horses for himself…he must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray…he must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold…and not consider himself better than his brothers.”
Before Bathsheba came on the scene, David already had more than one wife (in fact maybe around 5-7 of them). He was a very rich and powerful king. But God says he would have still given him more.
As Christians, we claim to have given up the driver’s seat, to be living for His will. But how many decisions have we made on the sly, not bringing them before God because we’re afraid of the answer he’d give us?
How do we reconcile that fear with verses like Matt 7:9-11
“If a child asks his father for a loaf of bread, will he be given a stone instead? If he asks for fish, will he be given a poisonous snake? Of course not! And if you hard-hearted, sinful men know how to give good gifts to your children, won’t your Father in heaven even more certainly give good gifts to those who ask him for them?”
Or Rom 8:32:
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
My daughter is relentless in asking for a puppy. Despite having heard ALL the very valid reasons of why we can’t get one at the moment. But she keeps asking…and asking…and asking. And you know what? At some point we probably will get one, even though all those reasons still exist. It’ll just mean a bit more juggling and sacrifice…on our part. Not hers. Because who will walk the dog at 7am after the first three months? And rush to get home from work for the afternoon? And pay the dog walker when that can’t happen and the kennel when we’re away…
It sounds a bit audacious, presumptuous even, but maybe I should try taking a leaf out of her book and just ask for what I want with that simple confidence in His love, trusting that whatever is provided will be a good gift full of grace.