Sunday, August 14, 2016

Going for the gold!

Have you been watching the Olympics? One can’t but marvel at the awesome abilities of these athletes. Usain Bolt in the 100 meter race; Michael Phelps in his twenty plus gold medals in swimming; Kerry Walsh Jennings in beach volley ball; Simone Biles in gymnastics; the list is a long one. Each one of them the best at what they do. They inspire many, become role models for others, and set a high bar for others.
In the Bible we find many such individuals. People who inspire, who serve as role models, and set an example for others to follow. Noah was one who carried out God’s mission in building the ark in spite of the hostile world in which he lived. Abraham is called the ‘father of believers’ because of his strong faith in God’s promises to make him the father of a great nation, and that the Savior would come from his seed. Sampson is called such a hero, not because he was a great role model, but because of his great strength used in God’s cause.
Another such role model is King David. He came from humble beginnings. He was simply a young shepherd boy at his home in Bethlehem. His father’s name was Jesse. His journey to greatness began when God called upon him to be king of Israel. On his way to the throne, he defeated mighty Goliath with a sling and a smooth river stone. Some after he was recruited by King Saul and given a command position in the army. Every fight he took on, he won. Not because of his strength or ingenuity. Not because of his fighting prowess. He succeeded because God promised to be with him and bless him. David put his trust in God, sought his guidance, and was not disappointed.
He fought the Philistines on more than one occasion and always came away the victor. He conquered the Edomites, the Armenians, the Jebusites – taking over their fortress which was then called the City of David or Jerusalem. He waged war against the Ammonites killing over 40,000 soldiers. He built a fabulous palace; became extremely wealthy and prosperous. He succeed at everything he did.
Then his sinful nature got the best of him. While his army was off to war, David stayed home. From his palace window he saw a beautiful woman named Bathsheba. His lust for her led to his demise. He slept with her, fathered a child, and engineered the murder of her husband to keep his sins secret.
It wasn’t until the Lord sent the prophet Nathan to David did David come to repentance. For months he thought he could hide his sin but it didn’t work. His conscience condemned him and so did God. Finally, he confessed his sin against the Lord and asked for his forgiveness. Nathan assured him that his sin was forgiven (2 Sam 12:13). “The Lord has taken away your sin.”

We are not likely to win a medal in the Olympics. Nor are we to match the accomplishments of King David. What we all have in common is sin. Sin, if left unconfessed leads to God’s judgment and condemnation. Confessed, as David did, it leads to peace with God, forgiveness and salvation. That’s what it means to “go for the gold!”