Have you ever wondered about God's grace? Ever done anything that you knew did not deserve God's grace, yet you received it nonetheless? In this week's study, we look at an expression of God's grace that is marvelous, breathtaking and inexplicable, reminding us all that God's ways are not our ways. Let's look at that incident of what can only be labeled as remarkable grace.
LOVED OF THE LORD
In the last study, we saw that the baby from David's illicit affair had died after Nathan confronted David about his sin. The king had fasted and prayed while the baby was struggling to live, only to have the child die. Then we read about the next significant event in David's life that is beyond human comprehension:
Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him; and because the Lord loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah (2 Samuel 12:24-25).
After David had an affair with Bathsheba after which she gave birth to his son and after David had her husband positioned on the battlefield where he was certain to die, and after David took his widow as his wife, a baby was conceived and came forth who was named Jedidiah, which when translated means "loved of the Lord."
That alone is almost too much to take in, but then when you realize the baby's other name, the incomprehensible is even more mind blowing. The baby's other name was: Solomon. Yes, the wisest king to ever walk the earth, apart from King Jesus, was conceived after his brother had died as a consequence of his parent's sin. The words of Isaiah the prophet are most certainly true:
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:6-9).
THE GRACE "PROBLEM"
Of course, there's no "problem" with grace. It's as vital to us as the air we breathe, but the challenge is that we can count on it and even depend on it to the extent that we willingly do wrong, knowing that God will cover it by His grace. In the early church, some thought, "Well, if grace comes because of sin, then we should sin as often as possible so there will always be an abundance of grace!" Paul rebuked their wrong thinking, yet repeatedly wrote that they should count on and glorify God for His grace.
The truth is that we can count on God's grace, which should set us free, not to act willfully, but to be ourselves. Think of it: If God were going to "get" you for sin, He has had plenty of opportunities to do so by now. Yet, He has not. Therefore, you can come to God as you are, confessing what you've done, and you can indeed count on His grace. That should set you free!
It should set you free to be yourself, to venture out in faith, making your best faith estimate of what God would expect of you, knowing that His grace goes with you. That grace is able to take your failures, even those you caused by your stubbornness or presumption, and cause them to work together for your good. If God could work out David, Bathsheba, Uriah, and a dead child to produce Solomon, then God can work out your situation for His own purpose through His remarkable grace.
You may have read what I just wrote and question its validity or accuracy, and I wouldn't blame you if you did. When we try to talk about and describe God's grace, we struggle to find the words--or at least I do--words that adequately portray God's thinking and ways where grace is concerned. Let me close by saying that I'm glad God is in charge of dispensing grace, for we would not do a good job for the very reason I just mentioned: We don't understand it. But I do understand enough to know that I wouldn't be writing today if it wasn't for His grace and I don't anticipate that any time soon He is going to shut off His grace channel to my life (or yours) that has flooded and surrounded us with His goodness all the days of our lives. Have a blessed week.