|a new heart seeking a beatiful God|
2 samuel 11:3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
As the Pastor preached about the sin of David, i was reflecting how we have the modern day Nathan in the Rev Franklin Graham calling Obama a sinner and a non Christian.
Geist: So therefore, by your definition, he’s not a Christian
Graham: Again. You’d have to ask him. I cannot answer that question for anybody. All I know is that I’m a sinner and that God has forgiven me of my sins. Because I put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ. That’s all I know.
Geist: Do you believe that Rick Santorum is a Christian? Graham: I think so.
Graham: Well, because his values are so clear on moral issues. No question about it. And I just appreciate the moral stand that he takes on these things. So I believe that he is. He comes from a Catholic faith; I’m Protestant so there are a lot of differences between what he believes and what I believe. But yet I think he is, no question, I believe he’s a man of faith;
The son of Billy Graham, the Rev Franklin Graham who is also a frequent visitor to the City Harvest Church Singapore entered into the political fray by claiming indirectly that Obama was not a Christian. Starting off with what seemingly a humble and pious religious language, Franklin claimed that he is a sinner saved by grace but then described Santorum as a Christian simply because of "moral" values. Franklin later clarified that his angst against Obama related to gay rights and abortion.
Was Rev Franklin Graham earlier statement of faith, a false repentance, for being a Christian was obviously gauged by his own standards who is moral or a good person rather than by the saving grace of Jesus Christ. What would Franklin know about Santorum, who is closely aligned to the secretive Catholic sect of Opus Dei, protecting the worship of Mary, the Pope and the Saints contrary to the salvation by faith in Christ alone. Is this more holy than Obama who entered the gates of the church whilst helping the poor and the outcasts of the community even though as a Harvard Law graduate he did not need to do so.
Who is a sinner? Are we sinners due to what we did or did not do religiously, or the harm that we have caused. Is sin imputed on us simply as a state, or does sin comes from within how we caused harm in our relationships with God and men/women.
David was a person after God's heart even before the encounter with Bathsheba. His faith was developed in the long stints of self reflection in the quietness of the life as a shepherd boy. Whilst the sheep were gazing, he was reflecting on God. Yet, often we cannot see our sins, and our own self reflection (ie being our own Nathan) is often artificial. We see Franklin Graham starting off his condemnation of Obama by first stating that he was a sinner! Actually, Franklin was proclaiming the opposite that he was a saint because the measure used was morality, ie good works and not faith in Jesus Christ. He was leveraging on his pedigree as the son of Billy Graham who was very close to a saint for many christians.
God did not interrupt the sex life of David with Bathsheba. The angel of God didn't condemn David for adultery even though it was against the ten commandments. Why? because King David had a certain right and privilages as the King. It was an abuse of power just as the rich man in 2 Sam 12:4 refrained from taking one of his own sheep and instead stole the ewe lamb beloging to the poor man. Yet, the King owned everthing and so strictly it was not adultery and Bathsheba herself did not resist sleeping with David but who could deny the King.
The act of sin came against the Ten commandments, "thou shall not kill" because it was without justified reason and mitigation. They were going to war and killing the enemies, but the enemies were nations led by other gods and deities and it was a religious wars for the survival and expansion of Israel. God did not condemn David for killing the enemies of Israel in warfare. But the case of Uriah was different, because he was considered part of the Jewish community even though a Hitte, and was fighting on David's behalf.
It was when the son was born that the Holy Spirit sent Nathan to confront David. And when the Spirit of God came upon Nathan he prophesised that the son of David will die, the child that David so loved will die because the son was born out of sin. The child was innocent but had to die because there was no way out of the Mosaic Covenant which applied within to the people of Israel. Once there was death, under the moral laws which was without grace, the innocent life must suffer.
The price of the sin was paid with the death of the innocent child to the heartbreak of Bathsheba who was also the innocent victim now losing her husband and her child. Yet, the grace of God came because she was to have many more children by David.
Ps 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Even though the penalty for sin was paid and judgement executed, David was mourning about the possibility that the Holy Spirit of God may depart from Him. Surely the Holy Spirit of God is everywhere we may say? The Holy Spirit can be everywhere but He is like a wind and whom He chose to minister no one can dictate or control. He knew that when the Holy Spirit leaves him, there would be no joy in his religious faith which consisted of following the religious laws - for he knew God's heart not through the law, but through that soft heart of communion with God.
David wasn't demanding with God, with long prayer shopping list before God, or pouring out his heart and frustration before God. He didn't do that. Once the judgement was executed and his son died, he just stopped mourning and prayed that his heart be renewed. Our walk with God is often one way, of us telling our stories and grumbling, but seldom is our relationship with God mutual of two parties enjoying that sweet fellowship with each other. It is no more God and us, but being one with God for in Christ we became a child of God.
The incident with Bathsheba showed that David even though so self reflective was not exempted from having sin come into his heart. The sin made his heart impure, made his standing before God compromised. And under the law, there was little that could be done because the Mosaic law was based on works and not grace. What David prayed for, was grace and mercy before God. And special dispensation of grace and mercy was granted unto him to restore a clean heart for he knew that good works and the animal sacrifices of atonement alone would not be sufficient.
And once sin is imputed unto us, the penalty of sin is death. We may be self reflective, and ask for mercy and forgiveness, but still there must be the death of an innocent party. We may even have a humble and contrite heart and a saint on earth, yet we face death if the sin imputed on us is not transfered by us unto the forehead of Jesus Christ, our sacrificial lamb.
The Rev Franklin Graham re-iterated that Santorum is surely a religious person of faith but God sees our heart, God sees his heart. Surely a heart that is meek and humble keenly aware of his own sin and the grace found in Jesus Christ, would not have insisted of taking away the basic rights of the poor person in the bible who lost a young lamb he had loved to the rich man.
The rich man had it all, so does the majority being straight having a right of marriage, relationships and freedom. Yet, the gay minority who are poor man in the spirit having suffered rejection and discrimination are now denied of relationships and Franklin Graham have the audacity to talk about faith and right morality.
Are we the rich man, the King, the oppressor, or are we the poor man, the Uriah' of the community so loyal to the God, hard working, tax paying and law abiding citizen yet denied the basic rights of life and dignity. Uriah's life was stolen from him. He lost his dignity and face for all would know how his wife was taken from him. There was great injustice done to Uriah. It wasn't about the sex with Bathsheba or the adultery, but it is about a basic justice for a man who ultimately lost all - his family, his life all the whilst being faithful to God and the nation.
Self reflection will often not save us, or give us a new clean heart. Others in our lives who calls us to be accountable to certain faults that we may have may also not save us. Because ultimately no one knows what is the state of our hearts. And once sin entered, we can't change the state of our hearts even if we recognised our sins because we are already condemed. In fact, to appease our sin consciousness, we may even commit more sins or blame others such as gays being blamed for the abortions and adultery in the straight community. We cry out to God - "Look at the homosexuals - they are far worst sinners than us - to hide our own sins which cannot be washed away!".
The focus of our moden day Christianity is so often about sex when it should be about causing no harm. We have in the case of the sin of David, the sin of murder that he was finally reprimanded for. How many thousands upon thousands of gay people have died just because of the rejection, discrimination, and denial of basic rights by Christians! We too are implicated.
In Singapore, we blame gays for leading us down the slippery slope of immorality, yet we do nothing when thousands of babies are being aborted and killed every year. Our righteous indignation was raised when the Government tried to repeal the laws against gays (377A) with strong voices in parliament, at the pulpit, and in thousands of organized emails to the members of parliament. But where were we when thousands of babies were aborted? Do we expel those who have the abortions from the congregation just like we shut the doors of the churches to gays!
The desiring of a clean heart does not come with self reflection even by the Spirit of God, but having that righteousness imputed upon us by the blood of the lamb, by Jesus Christ. ie our hearts can never go unclean even though we may commit sins from time to time. Our eyes will then be unto God and we will walk on the road of righteousness because we have entered into a righteous state. We do right naturally because we have a clean heart and this clean heart is given by God's grace and mercy in Jesus Christ. There is no more the penalty of death for our sins for Jesus died for us and has arisen to claim victory over death.
Create a clean heart within me O Lord, let me desire to look upwards on to Christ, and desire the fellowship with the Holy Spirit of God. You have not called me to be sin conscious, but to be conscious of your love, grace and mercy that good works will come naturally. For such as this, there is no law.
Lord, David called for a clean heart when he committed grave sin against the innocent. But today, we call for a clean heart because much sin and harm have been committed against us by people of faith until we have departed from your presence fearing that You too would reject us.
Forgive us O Lord, forgive the GLBT community for straying away from your love, grace and mercy in Jesus Christ. Give us a new heart today to renew our faith again and give us that renewed joy of salvation and peace in our lives and despite the hardship and injustice of life, that we may find in You the grace, love and mercy to live our lives with joy and gratitude for being a gay person. We need a touch from You and revival for the GLBT community.