Sun, 28 January 2018
(2Sm.15:13-14,30,16:5-13; Ps.3:2-7; Mk.5:1-20)
“Many are saying of me,
‘There is no salvation for him in God.’”
Today David’s sins rise to his neck, and he is persecuted for them. But in accepting the persecution as chastisement from the hand of God, David regains his kingly stature, becoming once again humble and obedient to the Lord.
David’s son Absalom has successfully led a rebellion against him among the Israelite nation under David’s command. The king is forced to flee, and as he leaves, his son will lie with the wives and concubines he has left behind upon the same roof where David first spied the bathing Bathsheba. How his sins come to visit him!
But it is in mourning David flees Jerusalem and climbs the Mount of Olives – the hill upon which Christ’s own passion shall begin in the garden where He is taken by the sword. David “wept without ceasing. His head was covered and he was walking barefoot.” Repentant is the king in remembrance of his sins and the punishment now come upon him. And his sincerity he exhibits profoundly again, for as Shimei curses and stones him, though he is surrounded by soldiers he does not exact retribution or seek to stop him. Despite the fact this kin of Saul has no right to act toward the king in this way, yet David is struck to the heart by the truth of his words: “Now you suffer ruin because you are a murderer,” and leaves all in the hands of God, responding to his soldier, “Suppose the Lord has told him to curse David; who then will dare to say, ‘Why are you doing this?’” Open is David about the fact that even his own son is seeking his life, and so what standing can he expect to have with his enemies. As he endures his trial, he hopes only it shall be purgatorial: “Perhaps the Lord will look upon my affliction and make it up to me with benefits for the curses he is uttering this day.” And so he does not “fear the myriads of people arrayed against him on every side,” for he rediscovers his faith in God.
And as the Lord casts out the legion of demons from the possessed man of Gerasene, so He shall purge David of his sin. To whatever extreme our afflictions have grown, the Lord is present to save. For if this man who could not be secured with chains, who “uninterruptedly night and day amid the tombs… screamed and gashed himself with stones,” could be found by a word from the Lord “sitting fully clothed and perfectly sane,” what have we to fear of all the devils who accuse us of our sins? Jesus is mightier than them and there is no telling “how much the Lord in His mercy” can do when we fall on our faces before Him in homage. True repentance brings salvation to all sinful souls.
O LORD, let us come from dwelling among the tombs
to sit at your feet in peace.
YHWH, though our adversaries be arrayed against us on every side, you are there to rescue our souls. Though the devils press upon us and accuse us of our sins, you grant forgiveness… and bring us to our right minds. O let us proclaim what you have done for us! Though we have merited death, new life is ours in you.
How great is the attack of our foes in this dark world, dearest LORD. Do not sin and death rule in this forsaken place? Does Satan not have great power to harm your servants? Yet so much greater is your power, for you look with pity upon our afflictions and cross the sea to come to save us. It is our sins that cause us to weep and mourn – but our sins you take from us and so free us from the chains of the evil one.
The stones that shower down on our heads we accept as chastisement from your hand, knowing they shall bring cleansing of our guilt and that of others. O LORD, we beg you to stay with us.