For the past four month I've been working through the Old Testament. The Old Testament is tough. So tough that I'm finding my head hurts and I just feel spiritually drained after my days reading. The Old Testament is dense, strict, and rich in the history of the world. And to be honest, it is a lot of information to absorb. (I know, I know. That's why they say you shouldn't read through the Bible too fast.) I am not an expert on the stories of the Kings, the prophets, the Judges, the priests, or anyone in these books. I have so much more to learn and study, I know. But here's what I do know. No one is perfect in the Old Testament. Not even close.
The great stories we read about Moses, Noah, King David or King Solomon are simply portions of a life. Sometimes the ones we hear about most often omit the struggle, the disgust and the humanness in each person.
We forget that even though David was a brave soldier with enough faith to defeat his giant and save Israel (1 Samuel 17); even though he spared King Saul's life twice when most wouldn't have in the name of self-defense (1 Samuel 24 & 26); even though he proved to be faithful to the end, a man of God that understood God's way is perfect and the word of the Lord is flawless (2 Samuel 22); he was also an adulterer that slept with another man's wife, had the husband killed, then took his wife for himself (2 Samuel 11). He also was the father to a son, Amnon, who raped his sister, Tamar, and then was killed by his brother Absalom (2 Samuel 13) who eventually would conspire against his father and rebel against his country until his death (2 Samuel 15 &18).
Are you keeping up?
Yes, David did many great things. He also did some pretty horrible things too. He was foolish. He begged for the Lord's forgiveness. He was not perfect. His life was messy, complicated. But he loved God.
And that's just one example. Don't forget Moses, the poster child of the Old Testament, disobeyed God and tried to take credit for himself (Numbers 20). Noah was a naked drunk (Genesis 9). Lot offered his virgin daughters to a group of men to have sex with them. Those same daughters later got Lot 9 (yes, their father) drunk, slept with him and became pregnant (Genesis 19). Hosea married a prostitute that kept selling her body to men after getting married (Hosea 1).
Are we sure this is in the Bible? Did I read that correctly? What brokenness! What filth! Surely, if God can work through these wretched people, I am not hopeless. I am not saying this to make myself better. No, I've never committed incest, or killed somebody for my own benefit, or pretended to possess the powers of God, or been a prostitute. But that doesn't make me better. It just reminds me that redemption wins. Always. It just does. There is nothing that come between me and my God. Nothing that will make Him love me less, nothing He won't forgive.
That doesn't mean I should live a life where I do what I want or sin how I want whenever I want (Romans 6:1-2). It just means I am forgiven. There was not a single perfect life lived in the Old Testament.
Enter Jesus. For it is by grace we have saved through faith in Jesus. (Ephesians 2:8)
We are broken, people. All of us. Every day. There is not a single day I have gone without sinning. But I also have not gone without God's forgiveness - His mercies are new every morning. He wipes my slate clean.
In Revelation 7:14, it says, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." I cannot even pretend my robe would not be drenched in filth and shame and guilt and lies and gossip and brokenness without the blood of Jesus. So then, "Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water." Hebrews 10:22.
Ah, yes. Praise Jesus. Sweet redemption.