Smeagol is Free!
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Thoughts on God: Covenant Fidelity

"Did you know that Uriah the Hittite was one of David's mighty men?"

I was just about in tears when Dr. Ligon Duncan posed that question to us this past April. I remember sniffling a little as I sat there, one of thousands of men, yet having the suspicion that each and every one of us was feeling very alone and exposed under God's piercing gaze. Dr. Duncan had just read with us through 2 Samuel 23, the chapter where the names of David's mighty men are listed. In the midst of this list is found the story of the three who went to Bethlehem to satisfy David's craving of water from the well at the gate. As Dr. Duncan took us through that tale, we found that the three broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well at the gate of Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. This was surely no small task, despite the lack of gory and glorious detail. What did David do with this water, this precious water that these men were compelled, not by command, but by love, by covenant fidelity, to risk their lives to obtain ?

He poured it out to the LORD.

It was a response that I didn't understand for a long time. It didn't make sense to me. Reading through that passage, I figured that there had to have been some significance I was missing, but didn't really think such significance would have been...well...significant. Little did I know how wrong I was.

I have many acquaintances, people that I know and love to interact with on a daily basis. But I cannot say that I have many friends that I know I'll be friends with for life. Those precious few are the ones that, when I think about them, I often wonder, "God, why?" I don't understand why I've been given their friendship, their love. I take them for granted, I'm unfaithful to them, I do not love them as I ought. They're the ones that would go through the desert, break through a camp of the Philistines, and bring me water from home. They're the ones I've looked in the eyes and confessed sin to, time and time again. They're the ones I've stayed up late with, until late turns into early, the ones I've betrayed, the ones that have forgiven me, the ones that remind me that we kneel at the cross together, shoulder to shoulder. They're the ones that I've had phone calls with that I wish never had to take place, phone calls where I say, "I'm sorry...I'm so sorry...I don't know what to say," and they say, "It's okay, John, you don't have to say anything...that you're there at all is enough."

David was shown a love from his mighty men that he knew he was not worthy of. That's why he poured that water out on the ground, declaring to the LORD that he would, in effect, be drinking the blood of those three men if he drank the water they lovingly risked their lives for. He was shown a covenant fidelity, a covenant fidelity that he himself did not keep.

"Did you know that Uriah the Hittite was one of David's mighty men?"

David betrayed one of his own. When Dr. Duncan posed that question to us, we knew exactly what he was really saying. Suddenly, the covenant fidelity of God was thrust forward. How so? We read through the opening verses of Psalm 51, reminded that David's plea unto the LORD for breaking covenant fidelity with Uriah was really a plea not for forgiveness for sin against Uriah, but against God. What's more, David's plea for mercy was based not upon David's own covenant fidelity, but on God's!

When I think of all the times I've broken faith with Andrew, Scott, Brian, Goose, Gary, Jon, Kev, Pablo, Jim, Chriyus...the list goes on...I think of God, because that's who it really comes down to. The covenant fidelity they show me is really a reflection of the covenant fidelity that God has graciously granted us in Christ. The covenant fidelity I've broken with them and so many others is really a breaking of my covenant with the LORD. It's a manifestation of my sin, of my unworthiness to ascend His holy hill and dwell in His presence. Yet, just as with David, my plea for mercy is not based upon any faithfulness or righteousness on my part I might point toward; rather, it is based upon His covenant fidelity toward us in Christ, a covenant that writes His law upon our hearts, that forgives our sins, that remembers every unfaithful sin no more. Even in David's day, the cross of Christ shone forth in a faithfulness that transcended the unfaithfulness of man. David's life, saturated as it was in both sin and surpassing grace, shows us this.

posted by Bolo | 9:47 PM
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