were a child, the unwanted food on your plate probably didn’t become more
appealing when your mother reminded you that children in Africa
were starving. Similarly, knowing that the current downturn does not compare
with The Depression doesn’t necessarily make our own lives less stressful. And
when we live with constant tension we are more likely to make serious mistakes.
Even great Biblical leaders faltered.
ten chapters of the second book of Samuel are almost entirely packed with accounts
of King David’s wars. Challenges and
attacks follow upon trials and tribulations.
If he wasn’t fighting the house of Saul he was fighting the Philistines.
All of a
sudden, chapter 11 reveals an entirely new scene. King David appears to be smitten by Batsheva,
the wife of one of his officers. What
follows leads the prophet Nathan to severely castigate the king, and while God
accepts David’s repentance, the baby born to David and Batsheva dies. However, in chapter 12 they have another
baby, Solomon, who later becomes the most successful king of Israel and the
builder of the temple. After this excursion into David’s personal life the
narrative returns to his frightful struggles to build a kingdom.
well-known instance of a lengthy narrative being interrupted by what appears to
be a totally extraneous story involves Joseph. Genesis 37 relates the jealousy
his brothers felt for Joseph, leading to their selling him.
picks up the story of Joseph being purchased as a slave by Potiphar in Egypt. But what happens in the intervening chapter
details what appears to be a somewhat unseemly relationship between Joseph’s
brother, Judah and someone he thought was prostitute but who is actually his
former daughter-in-law, Tamar. Genesis
38 concludes with the birth of Judah and Tamar’s twin boys, Peretz and Zerach.
strange interruptions of a narrative are linked because Peretz, the result of
the story in Genesis 38, is the tenth generation forebear of King David (See
the end of chapter 4 in Ruth).
stories, David with Batsheva and Judah with Tamar seem shockingly
improper. While ancient Jewish wisdom
emphasizes that they are not as bad as they seem to be on the surface, there
was certainly misconduct. In the midst of difficult times, Judah and David
behave badly. However, both men acknowledge their weakness and are sincerely
repentant. Through working on rebuilding themselves they become even greater
Jewish wisdom explains that rising above their flawed moments propels these men
to greatness. Having overcome dark moments, Scripture gives us a glimpse into
the purpose of their lives. Both these events directly led to the construction
of the Temple in Jerusalem at the hand of Solomon. We can stay
on God’s roadmap even if we can’t see it while running out of gasoline in the
middle of a traffic jam.
we all find ourselves in the midst of turbulent events that swirl around the
foundations of our lives. That is not an
excuse for sinning, but neither is sinning an excuse for giving up. Precisely
at times like these we need reminders that there is a roadmap. If we detour we can
get back on the path and even the wrong road can trampoline us to a higher