If you haven’t been following along with the Family Matters series at the Vine at FPC Lakeland – I highly recommend going back to the website here and downloading the messages… Last week, I was privileged to hear Kenny talk about the danger of making relationships an idol and the valuesingleness plays in our understanding of the family. It was challenging to say the least, and it raised some deeper questions in my mind about the value of the family and the importance of keeping God first. It’s not that families do not matter, because they do… but on what do we hold when families fall a part? Where do we turn if our ultimate goal in life is marriage, kids, and the white picket fence in the suburbs, but that vision of our future is lost or destroyed by infidelity, abuse, neglect, or worse?
Unless there is a greater or more substantial reality in our lives, we will individually be demolished like the relics of an ancient monument which has lost its significance…
This week, I’m looking at this sort of brokenness and specifically at the one person who probably understood the broken family better than any other biblical figure: David. If you know the Bible you might be tempted to scratch your head and ask, “Isn’t he the one who killed Goliath? Isn’t he the one who was called ‘a man after God’s own heart’?” Of course, you’d be right… That is David. The pinnacle of the Israelite kingdom. The name upon which the hope of the Jewish nation rested for hundreds of years. But David also caused some pretty harrowing harm in his home and the home of one of his most trusted military leaders. The story goes in 2 Samuel 11-12, that a relative;y bored King David saw a beautiful woman (named Bathsheba) bathing on her roof, and deciding he must have her committed adultery with her thus conceiving a child. This is a problem for the king seeing as the woman’s husband (Uriah) is a key part of David’s army. Through a series of failed attempts to cover up his indiscretion, David decides the man must die rather than being exposed, and so has Uriah killed in the heat of a battle… In ch. 12, David is called out by his most trusted prophet, Nathan, and is put to shame. Nathan calls out this prophecy against David:
Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says theLord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.
David’s family is broken from here on… the child conceived with Bathsheba dies, one of David’s elder sons becomes a murderous rebel who seeks the throne on which his father sits, and there is a stream of violence, malice, and worse following David through the rest of his life. David’s family is broken, and it was his own fault.
Most, if not all, families experience some level of brokenness. Some of it we may have brought upon ourselves as in David’s case, and some may be the result of actions taken by parents, spouses, or children. There are millions of children and adults who can attest to the painful scars left behind by the shards of families smashed to pieces, and the question that haunts those homes is often, “What now?” What do we do in the face of a situation like the one David caused?
David had a response, and it is recorded in Psalm 51. I’m going to talk about this in more depth on Sunday, October 6th – but it is enough to say now, that David responded by turning to the one relationship that mattered more than all the other relationships in his life. If he had a hope of setting right the branches of his family tree, he had to set right the roots of that tree by seeking to mend his relationship to the God who created him. As you read the Psalm you may notice David puts the onus for mending the relationship on God. As a sinner who is apt to break what he touches, David comes to the realization, that unless the Lord cleanses him he will never be clean… unless God his Savior restores him he will never know joy again.
When things break, it is painful. When relationships break, there is heartache. When emotions are torn apart, there is extreme sadness, frustration, and anger.
So, we must turn to the relationship that cannot break, because it was not ours to forge. We must begin to heal by turning to the one who promises to never leave nor forsake us. We must lean into the arms of our Father.