Does God really forgive me? This is one of the greatest struggles for many. We keep a running list in our heads of each time we’ve blown it, and we hold it against ourselves devaluing who we are in Jesus. How can God forgive people who continue to mess up? How can God not hold it against us? His love is greater than our sin.
Even though Jonah had disobeyed God, turned and ran the opposite way God was still willing to not only forgive Jonah, but rescue him and give him another opportunity to walk in obedience.
Recently I was studying the story of David and Bathsheba found in 2 Samuel 11. This is the soap opera story of the Bible. It’s absolutely crazy. The scripture opens
2 Samuel 11:1 (ESV) In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
David as King should have gone out to the battle, but instead he was in a place he wasn’t supposed to be! He stayed in Jerusalem and sent Joab in his place. It’s great that David had an army and servants so capable, but he should have been there. Some times you and I wander into places we shouldn’t and temptation is always stronger there.
We face temptations God never intended for us to face when we go where God never intended for us to go. The greatest way to avoid temptation is to stay far away from places and situations that would certainly tempt you. Don’t go to that party. Don’t ride alone with that girl in your car. Don’t hang out with people are doing drugs.
David was in a place he shouldn’t have been. One day he was on the roof and he saw an astonishingly beautiful woman… and she was bathing. David being a man, liked what he saw. Instead of looking away and pushing the image from his mind, he began investigating, “Who is that woman?” He found out she was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, who was away at the battle where he should have been.
David called her to his palace and it was on. Not long after Bathsheba shows up again and says the words that made David’s heart sink, “I’m pregnant and as you know, my husband’s at the battle so it’s definitely yours.”
In a panic David devises a way to cover it up. Listen, whenever you find yourself trying to hide something, STOP and COME CLEAN. The cover up always makes things worst.
David calls Uriah home and tells him to have some time off, drink some wine, and the most important part of his plan, enjoy his wife. However, Uriah was an honorable man and as long as his companions were at the battlefield he refused to enjoy the comforts of home. He slept in the palace courtyard instead of going home.
Next David tried to get him drunk. Even in his inebriated state Uriah stuck to his convictions and again slept in the courtyard. So David sent him back to the battle.
This is where the story takes an even darker turn, David sent with Uriah a note for Joab that would seal his destiny. David instructed Joab to put Uriah on the front lines of battle so that he would surely be killed. It worked.
David was relieved, but as you can imagine God was not happy. In chapter 12 God sends Nathan the prophet to confront David on his sins, “You committed adultery and even though you may not have pulled the trigger, you are responsible for the murder of Uriah.”
This is where David differs so greatly from King Saul. He didn’t deny, or make excuses for his sin.
2 Samuel 12:13-14 (ESV) David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.”
David repented and God forgave. Yes David still suffered consequences, his son died. So how do we know God truly forgave him? David and Bathsheba, even though their relationship started in scandal and sin, eventually they had other children. Their second child was named Solomon, who eventually became the next King of Israel and the Bible says the Lord loved him. (2 Samuel 12:24)
Another child of David and Bathsheba was Nathan. (1 Chronicles 3:5) That is significant because it is through David and Bathsheba’s child Nathan that generations later would come Jesus. (Luke 3:23-38)
This is how we know God forgives completely. Even though their relationship started with such wickedness, God took their brokenness and their mess and brought forth the Messiah who would pay the ransom for all our sins. In fact, in the ancestry of Jesus, there’s quite a few stories like this one. His family history is full of broken, messed up people who did great wrong, yet God forgave so completely that through their lineage, Jesus was born.
Can I let you know that when God forgives you, He forgives you completely. He will never withhold His love from you. When we blow it, He is not waiting to crush us, but gently pick us up and help us to move forward into His plans.
God demonstrated His ability to use people’s mistakes for His glory and He hasn’t changed. He can take our brokenness and use it for great good. Even when we flat out run from God, he still has a way of putting us in the middle of His plans.
Jonah 2:10 (NLT) Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.
Suddenly, Jonah found himself on his way to Ninevah.