Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the LORD said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.'” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel. 2 Samuel 5:1-3
Holy Scripture tells us that King David was a man who had found great favor with God. Following his anointing by Samuel, this once innocent young shepherd boy won a great victory over the Philistines by slaying the great warrior Goliath. Gaining the crown of Israel, David’s armies won many great battles and Israel prospered. David had found such favor with God that he was known as Israel’s greatest king. Hundreds of years later while teaching in the synagogue at Antioch, the apostle Paul said of David, “[God] raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will’ (Acts 13:22). Certainly David had found favor with God. Yet, even this man after God’s own heart was not without fault.
The sins of Israel’s greatest and beloved king are there for all to see. His offences were many, deceit, treachery, adultery and even murder. Certainly he was human and captive to the same sinful condition of all others. What sets David apart, however, is that though his sins were great, as they were pointed out to him his willingness to confess and repent was greater. David was remorseful and humbly bowed to God with a repentant heart. When confronted with his shameful acts, David knew he fell short of God’s expectations for him and asked God to forgive all that he had done.
Reflecting on David’s life, we sinners not only learn and understand that God is compassionate and just, but He is willing to forgive the sins of those who confess and strive to turn away from behaviors that lead away from God’s love. Through David we learn that a life of repentance does not simply end with forgiveness, rather it continues with the challenge for God’s children to live as a forgiven people. To forgive and to be forgiven means that even as someone sins against us, through the compassion of God in Christ Jesus we forgive them as we are also forgive and revisit the sin no more.
King David was Israel’s greatest King; he was a man after God’s own heart. David also was a sinner in need of saving and as such provides a wonderful example of repentance and forgiveness for God’s people. Through the life, death and resurrection of God’s only begotten Son our sins are forgiven. Through the grace made possible by Christ Jesus’ victory at the cross, our heavenly Father remembers our sin no more. As Advent people awaiting the coming our Lord and King, we remember the example of Israel’s greatest king and prepare to receive the one who is our eternal King, the babe who was born of Mary in the city of David.
Loving God, we give you thanks and praise that through your Son, Jesus Christ you have saved your people from sin and the grave. Give us the courage and wisdom of David, so that we may follow his example of repentance and live according to your will. This we pray in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, Amen.