Sermons
Worship Service begins at 10:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

Major Screw Up - March 17, 2019

2 Samuel 11 This is another one of those texts that makes you cringe. It’s not a bright spot in our history. And it’s certainly more than a blemish. David, the king of kings, the prize child of Israel for the ways he’s elevated…think about it…how many kings of Israel can you name? Probably not many. For many of us…only David. He’s kind of special in the history of the Bible. But, even though most of us know him by name, it’s not likely we’ve spent much time on this story. Not that it’s hidden, just that his fame supersedes his failures, which in and of itself, tells you something.
David is honored and revered as king. He has a palace, gardens, armies, servants, riches, and 6 wives to call his own. Yes, polygamy was still a legitimate thing in his day. And despite all that—or maybe he grew entitled

because of it, David saw his neighbor’s wife and decided he should have a chance with her. So he ordered her to the palace and raped her. Now, the text doesn’t use that term, but when someone who holds all the power tells you to do something, what do you do? You do it. You could argue she could have objected, it’s possible she did, but he was the king and she was a woman in ancient times. She had no rights of her own here. So David did what he wanted with a woman who rightfully belonged to another man, (yes, belonged, she was a woman in ancient times) assumed nothing would come of it, and sent her on her way. Only a few weeks later, word comes back that she’s pregnant. I’m sure he argued—after all how could a married woman be sure? Except that her husband was and had been off to war, and she had menstruated and cleansed before David sent for her—so she was sure.
David then tries to cover it all up—calling her husband back—urging him to go home—filling him with wine and sending him home to his wife. Only Uriah wouldn’t go. It was against the rules of war. He was a good and loyal soldier. So, David fessed up, owned his sin, made amends and helped Bathsheba and Uriah to live the best life possible. Eh! Wrong! No, he decided he’d rather kill a man than be found out, so he sent Uriah to the front lines to die. Which he did. David is not quite the hero we’ve heard about. He broke commandments 5-10. Murder. Adultery. Stealing. Bearing false witness. Coveting. Half of the major commandments in just a few weeks. David’s a jerk. I don’t mean to be judgmental here, but he covets, he lies, he steals, he rapes, he commits adultery, and murders. He’s not a model citizen, let alone what we would expect from a king. If I told you there was a man who put a hit out on another man, raped a woman, was a philanderer, and he covered it all up, who would you think we were talking about? Probably not one of God’s favored leaders. And yet, he’s the one we know—not for his sins and the 5 commandments that he broke, but for his poetry, his courage, and his time as a king. Which, I have to say, on the surface is disturbing. It is a problem to me that the great king of Israel is a rapist and a murderer. And we still like him. And we chose to remember him for other things.
But then that God-voice creeps in and says—“So you want all of us to be known by our list of sins? To wear a pendant with each of the 10 commandments we’ve broken?” Instead of wearing the names or initials of our kids, we’ll wear the numbers of the commandments we’ve broken. Is that what you want? Probably not. After all, we know this basic truth—“all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. We all deserve a necklace of shame. If David does, so do we. After all, he’s not the only sinner. And maybe his hero sash should be thrown out, and there probably should have been some justice for Bathsheba or Uriah, but unless we are without sin, we shouldn’t be throwing stones.
The gospel tells us we don’t have to wear our guilt and shame around our neck. We don’t have to wear it at all—we are given new life and a new reputation in Christ. Now, some people have a hard time letting things go. They’ve seen our sins. They know our numbers and they will not let it go. They come to us ready to remind us—hey, you forgot this! You don’t deserve to be free from what you did. People need to know the truth about you. And to them and to us, God says, “Yes, they do. People need to know the truth about you. You are a child of God, imperfect and messy, deserving of a yoke around your neck. AND you are a sinner saved by grace. The truth is you are forgiven, you have been offered a second chance—a new beginning through my Son Jesus.”
Now, you can choose the truth you claim. You choose which story to tell. You choose which truth governs your life. Will you hold onto the guilt and shame of the past—the failures? The vices? The sins? Or will you walk into a new future—defined by grace? Gifted by God?
If only it were so simple. Either I’m stuck in the past or I move into the future. A or B. One or the other. Ahhhh….if only my sinfulness would just stay in the past. But I’m a mess. I’m broken and imperfect. I fail in more ways than one. And while I try to be better, I haven’t arrived yet. So then what do I do with that? What do we do with that? After all, I’m not the only one struggling with the mess of my humanity.
I think maybe the answer is multi-faceted. Because it is possible through Christ to move away from the pain and chains of the past. We don’t have to stay stuck there. But it’s not as though once we break from the past that we never sin again. We still screw up. We still choose our ways over God’s ways. But we also don’t have to be defined by our sin. We can be defined by grace….by God’s goodness and forgiveness, by hope and healing, by acceptance and freedom.
So, I guess, the question in my mind is, what will I use to define me? Grace? Hope and forgiveness? Or sins and failures?
I’m a tactile person. I like to be able to touch things and feel them. As much as I’m stuck in my head thinking, I need something external to remind me….so today, I have some reminders for any who might like one. These rocks have different words written on them. Words like grace, faith, hope, love, acceptance, and forgiveness. They are reminders of the things we can choose to define us. Things separate and apart from our failures. As Rick sings and Miles plays, I invite you, as you feel led, to come and choose a rock. And if you don’t find one with the word you need, with the reminder you need to keep at your fingertips, there are some plain ones in the windows and some sharpies so you can write your own word.

 

Current Church News

  • Worship Time Change - starts - August 18th

    Starting August 18th, 2019 Sunday Worship go back to our regular worship time at 10:30 am Sunday mornings.

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Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary. William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

322 East Third Street
Moscow, ID 83843

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The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...