We really can’t begin to fathom the harsh brutality of the ancient world.
Where the only moral code was Might Makes Right. Where if you saw something you wanted you simply took it and killed whoever you needed to keep it.
Areas of land. Herds and flocks. Resources and riches. Even people.
Why do you think Abraham introduced Sarah as his sister? Twice? She was beautiful, and Abraham knew that Pharoah and King Abimelech would kill to get her. Isaac later told King Abimelech the same thing—that his wife Rebekah was actually his sister. And for the same reason.
He was afraid of losing his life because someone with power wanted something Isaac had.
That’s exactly what King David did.
He took Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed so he could keep her.
In any other culture of the ancient world that wouldn’t have been considered unusual. David was the king, after all. Nobody would have blinked twice.
But this was Israel, and these were the people of the Living God. And their moral code was well-defined and absolute and handed down to them by God himself.
The prophet Nathan came to David and told him a story. “A rich man who owned a great many sheep and cattle had a guest drop in for dinner. Rather than kill one of his own animals, the rich man stole the pet of his neighbor—the only lamb the poor man had—and butchered it and served it to his guest.”
David was furious. “As surely as the Lord lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man!”
2 Samuel 12:5-7, NLT
We know what happened next. David humbled himself and repented because he knew he had sinned before the Lord.
King David didn’t give a shred of grace to Uriah. According to scripture he didn’t really view it as wrongdoing until Nathan turned the tables on him.
But tables always turn.
We like to see other people get what they deserve. Don’t we? And we especially like to receive grace that we don’t deserve. I certainly do.
There’s nothing notable about that. Nothing righteous about it, and certainly nothing worshipful. Every heathen in the world fits that pattern. But giving grace away goes against our nature.
Today, give the grace that you desire to receive.
Not simply because you never know when the tables will turn. But also because it follows what scripture tells us to do:
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10, NIV
Giving grace to other people—especially those who don’t deserve it?