Years ago I walked up the sidewalk into a strange new world. I was entering a Texas Department of Criminal Justice maximum-security penitentiary. The concentric chain-link fences topped with rolled razor-wire and the sign reading “No Hostages Exit Through This Gate” were daunting new images. After hearing the heavy iron doors clang behind me, I saw hundreds of incarcerated men, all dressed in matching plain white clothing which stood in stark contrast to guards and officers dressed in starched dark grey uniforms with polished black boots.
Each of these inmates had been convicted of a felony, some multiple felonies. Some were murderers. Some were rapists. Some were worse...
Bad men, right?
If they were bad, so was King David... and for that matter, so am I.
David was chosen by God to be king of Israel. He was plucked out of obscurity, snatched from the shepherd’s field, from poverty and drudgery. By God’s gracious election, David sat upon a throne and governed with absolute sovereignty.
He had been “a man after (God’s) own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14) whom God saw as “better than” his predecessor (1 Samuel 15:28). He’d lived up to God’s expectations until one day... his train jumped the tracks.
“In the spring when kings march out to war, David” stayed home and “strolled around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing—a very beautiful woman” (2 Samuel 11:1–2, CSB).
We all know the story. Along with the story of David’s conquest of the Philistine giant, it’s probably the most famous, or infamous, event in David’s life. Sadly, the conquering king became a “conquering” creep.
Seeing a pretty girl at a distance was no crime, no sin. But staring, ogling, imagining and lusting became sin. Using the power of his office to conscript her into his adulterous services was tantamount to rape. Then, to cover up his crime, he conspired and finagled to have the girl’s husband murdered. David was guilty of murder. He might as well have pulled the trigger!
David, God’s chosen king was a criminal... a rapist and murderer. He deserved a six-by-nine cell in a maximum-security facility. He deserved God’s wrath.
But God is gracious and merciful. God is forbearing and forgiving. God didn’t give David what he rightly deserved. Nor has he given me what I deserve! He lovingly gave His sinless life to redeem every felonious criminal, crook and creep.
David became the great, great, great... grandfather of the Lord Jesus... I became a child of the King. How? Grace!