David was king because of God and yet David acted as if there was no God in this story of ‘devouring’, corruption, unspeakable acts.
Parts of the story of David are difficult story to hear. This is one of the. We find it offending us. It’s about behaviour we would rather not discuss. It is not a nice story. It’s a story you might expect on TV but not in Bible. On TV it would carry warnings: For a Mature Audience; it contains Violence, Adult Themes, Sexual References, Nudity and perhaps more.
This episode is not so much about adultery and murder as about a willingness to break the rules. It’s a story about power, abuse – and foolishness… Worst of all, David confronts us with our own humanity. We all do it in various ways: I won’t get caught; what I do won’t matter; just this once… They’re aspects of our willingness to break the rules, our willingness to be foolish…
There’s an attitude abroad in society: “Get what you can, while you can,” perhaps epitomised by the “All you can eat…” style of restaurant. They can bring out the worst in us. The more we get, the more we want. Despite finite and often scarce resources we try to satisfy wants rather than needs.
Jesus offers another way. Our God is a God of abundance, not God of scarcity. Jesus reveals God’s abundance time and time again through the Gospels. Jesus doesn’t just give enough but rather, more than you can poke a stick at; more than we can eat; more love than we dare ask for. Indeed, In Jesus offers a radically different way.
Jesus’ kingship is not like David’s or any other. Whereas David satisfied his wants by breaking the rules – ‘devouring’ others – Jesus offered himself as the Bread of Life… Gathered at his table we are offered, in the words of an early liturgy, ‘the Bread of Heaven in Christ Jesus’.
(Adapted from a sermon from many years ago, which may have drawn on material from other, long-forgotten, sources.)
© Jeff Shrowder, 2012.
More for Sunday 17B…