As I prayed this morning, so saddened by the news of another leader confessing “moral failure,” I remembered a story that renewed my hope.

Here’s the story re-told:

Once upon a time,
a man
a young man, a small shepherd,
was chosen by God to be king…

a son, a friend, a husband, a father,
persecuted by the then-king, nearly killed more than once,
he knew he was a rescued man, and
he loved God because God first loved him.

His love spilled over in poetry and music —
he even danced shamelessly before the Lord,
much to the chagrin of his wife.

The people loved him, sang his songs, and celebrated his victories,
“Saul has killed his thousands,
but David his ten thousands…”

He was almost a hero.
but he wasn’t.

God was the true hero of this story, always is.

The man-king,
perhaps weary of feeling persecuted,
for sure forgetting whose he was,
stopped getting up early to lead his men into battle.

In fact, he took a vacation, a vacation from
serving and celebrating God as his rescuer.
While lounging on his roof,
surveying the kingdom he had begun to think
he had built,

he saw a woman. A bathing woman. Someone else’s wife.
And he forgot everything he thought he knew.

Losing his God-saned mind,
he took the woman
as his own, not remembering
she was
God’s daughter,
another man’s wife.

The other-man’s-wife conceived a child.
The sin-crazed man-king devised a plan.
He summoned the other-man home from battle,
sent him to be with his wife.

The other-man refused to take comfort in his wife
while his companions still fought.

So the sin-crazed man-king devised another plan.
One that made perfect sense to a mind that had forgotten
the holy God who rescues
wretched sinners.

He plotted the other-man’s death.
This time, his plan worked,
he married the other-man’s-wife.

But God sent
a friend to the man-king.

Not just a friend, a counselor, a prophet, a wise man
who listened to God.

The prophet-friend told
the man-king a simple, sad story
a rich man and a poor man.

The rich man, so selfish he would not spare
one of his sheep
to feed a guest,
took the poor man’s beloved
killed it,
and served it for dinner.

The man-king was outraged
on behalf of the poor man.
How could a man be so cruel, arrogant,

His prophet-friend
answered simply,

“You are that man.”

The God-graced words
made a direct hit
on the fallen-man’s heart.

The chosen king, the failed hero,
the man after God’s heart,
crushed under the weight
of sin’s dark reality exposed,

cried out the words
God gave him to say
for all of us,
“I have sinned against the Lord,”

His plea of mercy rose,
to the
holy, just, and compassionate God,
for rescue again.

And the Ever-living, Ever-loving
our cry,
sending the One True King,
the Only God-Man-Hero

who died and lived
to save
the man-kings
who could never save

“This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.” 1 Tim. 1:15-16

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