Everyone knows the name. Even if you aren't a churchgoer, you've likely heard of the name. But even the average churchgoer might not be aware of all the details of King David's life. Blame it on the preaching, church politics or the incessant need for biblical characters to be moralistic heroes, but we don't always hear the dark parts of their lives. In truth, King David was a murderer and sexual aggressor, if not worse.
The #metoo movement fights back against men using their power over women to fulfill their own needs, often and usually sexual needs. This is precisely why King David would fall in line with their criteria. Now, remember David was extremely powerful. He was the ruler of the great people of Israel. At a highly important time in their history as well. But King David finds himself distracted. Distracted by a naked woman bathing on her rooftop. Enter, Bathsheba.
David has the urge to know this woman more intimately. He uses his power to have his men bring her to him and has his way with her. The text doesn't even discuss whether the act was consensual or not, and I will not assume one way or the other but the situation doesn't look great either way. This alone could be seen as damning enough. However, David takes it another step further. To add injury to insult, Bathsheba is married. Not only that but married to Uriah, one of David's friends and officers in his army. Bathsheba discovers she is pregnant with David's child and David seems to have a real problem on his hands.
So, David decides to have Uriah sent to the front line and orders the other men to abandon him, leaving Uriah to fall to his death. This is the man after God's own heart. This is the man who dances for God in worship. The man behind so many famous Psalms and sermons. "Be like King David!" they say, "Have faith and strength like King David!"
Of course, I am not here only to bash on King David. Nor am I here to say King David isn't a man after God's own heart. My point here is to rid the idea of moralistic heroes in the Bible. These are not people to pattern our lives after. These are terrible, sinful and shameful people. Just like us.
Is not King David a man after God's own heart because of the grace and forgiveness he has received? Is not King David dancing before God because of the underserved mercy he has received? In no way is this an out for the terrible things he had done, but there is something to note about how we all find ourselves in the same shoes as him: GUILTY.
We may not have done or even come close to repeating the atrocities he has, but we all have had our fair share of disobedience and sinfulness. That's the point. We are not to emulate and lift up characters like King David or others from the Bible but rather to relate to their failings and put our faith also in the great forgiver. The great giver of grace. Grace for people like King David and grace for people like you and me.