what was right in the sight of the Lord, and did not
turn aside from anything that He commanded him all the
days of his life,
except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite."
(1 Kings 15.5)
David was a man's man. As a young
shepherd he tamed the outdoors, protecting his flocks
from lions, bears, wolves, and other dangers. When
Goliath, "the uncircumcised Philistine," threatened to
terrify Israel into submission, David killed him with
nothing more than a river-stone (albeit with laser
precision to the head) and a lethal swipe with
the giant's own sword. As King of Israel,
David ruled with power and polish.
This rugged, handsome, fearless, and
brilliant military strategist would make a good
President these days in most people's eyes. Calculating
and creative, methodical and musical, shrewd and
sensitive; the perfectly rounded leader.
Except in the matter of Uriah the
Actually, that was no small matter. In
short order, David violated three of the ten
commandments -- do not covet, do not commit adultery, do
not kill. Despite his genius and greatness, David
harbored a fundamental flaw.
We're inclined to dismiss David's "slip"
because our heroes often have clay feet; private lives
that fail in the public spotlight. Infidelity and
impropriety hardly tarnish our heroes who lie and deny
their way through most scandals.
But David stands out as a real hero
precisely because of the way he responded in the
aftermath of that sordid episode.
Nathan the prophet, subtle and smooth,
told a story of a poor man whose only lamb was
commandeered by a wealthy bully (2 Samuel 12:1-4).
David, inflamed with anger at the injustice, demanded
that such a bully be executed! "You are the man!" said
Nathan, perhaps with some tremor in his voice.
Would David lie and deny? Would he
justify and excuse his actions? Would he protect himself
with more violence?
In perhaps the most poignant moment of
his life -- faced not with Philistines or foxes but with
his own inner demons -- David confessed his guilt and
condemned himself to death. God, with grace, did not
require David's life, though Bathsheba would bury her
Our culture worships
power, courage, fame, and success. We want to
emulate those who excel in these areas. They are our
heroes. But David's most heroic moment came in
admission and confession. His decision to accept blame,
to acknowledge guilt, and to receive consequences
outshines all his military conquests and royal
True heroes continue to model such
humility, honesty, and integrity. May we be among
In HOPE --