2 Samuel 24:14 (KJV) And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.
This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. I’ve read it numerous times before, but today I am challenged to be very honest with myself. I had to try to imagine what it must have been like to be David in this situation. It’s easy for us to say that we would have made the same choice as David. However, when really thinking about it and divorcing ourselves from the knowledge we have about the ending of the narrative, I am not so sure it would be so easy for us to make the same decision.
Given what we know about our contemporary context and culture, we have become increasingly selfish with each passing generation. I am not so sure that many of us would honestly be thinking about protecting anyone other than ourselves. Let’s be genuinely honest with ourselves. None of the options presented to David seem to be an ‘easy fix’ for the situation. That’s because God doesn’t offer what Dietrich Bonhoeffer calls ‘cheap grace’, it is always ‘costly grace’.
Sometimes conflict causes us to forget about what we know to be true about God.
Seven years is a long time to watch the people suffer under your leadership from famine. Three months is also a long time to be on the run from your enemies. With this also comes death, and possibly captivity. Three days of pestilence is not a long time when considering the timeframe. However, those will be three very long days considering the circumstances. Why? Because even with the significantly reduced amount of time of punishment, the outcome is still going to be the same: there will be death. The same amount that will die over the seven-year period could be the same amount from the three-month period, which could be the same amount from the three-day period. It doesn’t matter. Death is death.
David, however, teaches us a very valuable lesson. Regardless of the choice and the outcome, we can always rely on God to be consistently merciful. Even if He doesn’t relent, we know that if His hand is in the situation, there is always hope for healing and restoration. We cannot say the same thing about humanity. We must agree with His assessment. At some point, our faith leads us to believe that God will not allow us to overtaken by our situation, but will provide a way of escape so as to not allow it to consume us completely.