The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

2Samuel 19:16-40

I have been reading and meditating on the return of David to his kingdom in 2 Samuel. As well as an actual historic account it is a time period rich with prophetic significance. The king returns to unite and restore the kingdom, but at the price of the death of his own son; lifted up on a tree and pierced. David's reaction at this time is one of the few precious insights we have in the scriptures into the Father's heart as he expressed the amazing depths of his love for the world when he sent Jesus his son to die (Abraham and Jephthah are two others).

I was struck by the account just before he crossed back over the Jordan, and the three characters that came to meet him there: Barzillai the companion, Shimei the curser, and Mephibosheth the cripple. The good, the bad and the ugly. One had stayed loyal and faithful to David even in his darkest hour, one had displayed outright rebellion against him, and one despite his best intentions had felt that he had failed and let him down: The friend, the foe and the "failure".

All three present themselves to the king at his return.

Although these three characters are separate individuals in this account, I see them also as representatives of aspects of our own lives. The good, the bad and the ugly that lies within each of us. We often like to pretend that we are all "Barzillai". That's the side we like to project to the world around. We like people to see what we get right. The times when we are strong in the Lord. The exploits of faith. We are not so quick to acknowledge the times when the unruled flesh rises up in selfish rebellion to the the rule of God, or the times when despite our best efforts we fell flat on our face!

But God doesn't want us to put on a fa├žade when we come before him. He is not fooled by our "best face". He knows us warts and all. He want us to submit all to him. The great grace of our kingly Father is revealed in this account. He does not just reward the good... he forgives the bad, and restores the ugly. No sin is too bad, no failure too shameful. The king extends his grace to all who come to him and desires to bring his rule, order and peace once again.

Jesus take me as I am,
I can come no other way,
Take me deeper into you,
Make my flesh life melt away.
Make me like a precious stone,
Crystal clear and finely honed.
Love of Jesus shining through,
Giving glory back to you.
~ Dave Bryant, 1978 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music


SilverS said...
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Tim Coles said...

I think that is spot on Chris! Love that song as well, it reminds us that there is nothing we can do ourselves to make ourselves acceptable to God but come to him in humility. In fact it's a huge relief that we don't have to make ourselves acceptable first - who wants that pressure ;-)