April 24 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.” ~the prophet Nathan to David, 2 Samuel 12:9

Our hero falls. David may be the ideal king, but he is not perfect. Indeed, he fails miserably. Although I have read the story many times, I still wince when I arrive at 2 Samuel 11. As David surveys the city and spies a beautiful woman bathing in full view of the palace (one must think she knew what she was doing), I want to yell, “David, look away. Look away! This time, please go back inside.” This man who loves God gives in to lust and takes another man’s wife into his arms. I weep when I think of David’s sin. And I weep when I think of how he tried to cover it. Bathsheba’s husband becomes the hero. He has more integrity than his leader!

How easily we humans fall. We know this is true because of our own experience, and we know it as we turn the pages of Scripture. Biblical characters are not whitewashed; we are allowed to see the lives of our heroes in their entirety, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David were great men, but they were also sinners. When we read Scripture, it is as though we are looking in the mirror. Yes, that is me, or That could be me if I don’t make some changes. We grieve over David’s sin, but we also grieve our own foolishness and wrongdoing. Together we remember that there is only one perfect Hero. He is the one entering Jerusalem on a colt in Luke 19. There is only one perfect King. He is the one who will come and rule the world.

The story of David’s fall is a call to humility. If he could fail, anyone can! The British writer G. K. Chesterton noted the need to be ever vigilant: “I must be prepared for the moral fall of any man in any position at any moment; especially for my fall from my position at this moment” (Orthodoxy). Do not be shocked when you hear that others have failed; and please, for your own sake, do not be smug. Humility helps us remain on guard. Humility helps us recall that it is only the grace of God that keeps us from falling. Let us then cry out for it every single day. Let us be on guard and pray for ourselves and for those we love that we’ll be protected from the Evil One. Yes, there is life beyond tragic moral failure; however, if we can avoid the pain of a terrible fall, by all means let us do so.

“Lord, command what you will, but give what you command,” Augustine prayed when he was battling lust in his own soul. May God give us the grace we need to do what he calls us to do and to be the people he wants us to be! Pray now for yourself and for those you love.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.