Sunday, January 21, 2007

No plaster saints

Today I heard a reasonably good sermon on Psalm 51. For those familiar with it, it is about s words. Sin, sex. The second one is pretty popular, the first not so. The king of the nation of Israel gets the hots for a married woman, gets her up the duff and has her old man done away with. Sounds like a plot for a murder mystery.

Whilst adultery might be passe today, it's a betrayal in many ways. David writes in his Psalm that it is against God alone that he has sinned. In this, it isn't that he doesn't acknowledge that he wronged the man he had murdered by proxy, nor the woman he got pregnant (no matter how much she enjoyed it), nor his commander in chief or his nation (note that adultery would have been looked down on then, whereas many people probably admired Clinton!). What he sees at the bottom of his behaviour is rebellion against God.

David is no plaster saint, not pretending that his excreta has no odour (to make polite a popular expression). He calls a spade a spade (though in this case he first needed the prophet Nathan to point it out). David is a model for Christians, not in his ethical behaviour, but in his penitence. Not only that, for the likes of me, Psalm 51 is the preacher's Psalm. David calls on God to make him clean of his sin, and then he we be able to teach the congregation. The Christian preacher deosn't stand above but along side those to whom he or she is teaching. They are to be humble and not present themselves as bullet proof. Too many have fallen pray to temptation (typically sexul, though often too, money).

It is also the loser's Psalm. Too much prosperity teaching focusses on being a winner (not in biblical terms). David writes Psalm 51 from the perspective of having lost much. In fact, only the loser cannot admit their weakness, the winner with no weaknesses simply doesn't exist.

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