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Meet the Bible Cast: King David

2 Samuel 11

Rocks crunched under the worn sandals dragging across the beaten path, one foot struggling to keep up pace with the other. A staff aided his slow, steady, determined stride. Beads of perspiration clung to his brow, the taste of salt fresh on his chapped lips. He halted with a weary sigh, and then took in a deep breath of fresh cedar. His eyes raised to the high roof towering over the city of Jerusalem. With one more heavy breath, he scuffled up the polished stone stairs to bring his message to the king.

The palace doors thrust open with an echoing thunder. David looked up with a start from the scrolls he had been pouring over to see the familiar tattered robes, peppered hair, and strong resolve.

“Nathan,” David greeted the prophet, abandoning his scrolls and reaching arms out for a joyous embrace.

Nathan stood statuesque, his crooked spine then straightening as he began to speak.

“I am not here of my own accord,” he began.

David withdrew his arms, his face falling.

“Let me tell you a story, My King.”

David, nonplussed, obliged with a nod.

“There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

Filled with anger and rage, David lashed out, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

“You are the man!” Nathan’s shout reverberated throughout the palace walls.

He moved toward Israel’s king, continuing in a harrowed tone.

“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 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.’”

David stared at the condemning prophet, stunned in disbelief. His foul secrets swirled in front of him, smiling their sickly, chilling smirk.

He crumbled to his knees, convulsing and then taking hold of the prophet’s gnarled hands in his own, smearing them with his tears.

“I have sinned against the Lord,” he cried in anguish.

“The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die,” Nathan comforted.

But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”

The man of God turned away with a painful glance and shuffled across the lustrous mineral floor, leaving a trail of dust in his wake.

David froze in a far-off look, absorbed in his own thoughts.

It was just a look. And then a thought. After that, a yearning desire.

I ordered men to her door. “You are needed by the king.”

I always get what I want.

I received a message soon after. A child. This was not my plan.

He was supposed to return. His loyalty for his men went too far.

What could I do? I, a king! I had no other choice. It wasn’t really my fault. He could have lived. But then I would have had to find another way…a king’s reputation is everything. A reputation for a life. Was that the trade? A moment of justification leading to a lifetime of anguish.

The turmoil inside my soul rages in a fit of desperation and confusion.

Chaos in my mind ensues and takes root. I cannot bear this torment.

I dare not seek Your face. To look upon Your glory in my shame.

Soon, the sun’s rays hid behind the night sky.

A day passed. Then, two.

“Eat, my Lord,” the king’s servants begged.

David refused. He dressed in sackcloth, begging God for the life of his son.

Seven days in total went by.

Whispers dispersed throughout the palace. The king’s son had died.

David stood up, brushing off his grime-filled knees from the ground. He methodically washed, covered himself in lotions and perfumes, slipped out of his sackcloth and into a robe of purple wool, walked into the house of the Lord and worshiped.

God, You always see me. You saw me in the fields as a lowly shepherd boy. You saw me in the caves, hiding from my enemies. Where can I run or hide that You are not there? Now you have seen me in my moments of great weakness and dishonesty. In my moments of sinful humanity and disdain. Have mercy on me, Oh God. Do not turn away from me. Cleanse me of my sin. Create in me a pure heart. Restore to me the joy of my salvation. I will sing to you a new song for You have been good to me.

David wiped away his tears, feeling a new sense of purpose, hope, and joy. God saw David. He turned his mourning into dancing, his sadness into joy with the birth of another son, Solomon. Nathan returned to the king’s palace with his gnarled staff and tattered soles to rename Solomon as Jedediah-the one the Lord loves. Peace and forgiveness burst forth in a cloud over David’s earthly throne.

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