Saturday, September 16, 2006

Memories can Haunt or Humble

To say that Dale Ralph Davis' commentaries are excellent requires, as far as I'm concerned, about as much proof as the statement that God is Trinity. They are top-notch: concerned with the detail of the text, yet rigorously applied to real-life in a way that fires the heart as well as educating the brain. What more can I say?

I was massively struck this morning by DRD's examination of 2Sam 23:8-39, particularly vs 39. He says this on p. 256 of his 2Sam commentary (Fearn: Focus, 2001).
'Uriah the Hittite' (v. 39). That last name is loaded - with the raunchiest memories. But Hertzberg has suggested that the wickedness of David should lead us on to the grace of God. Our rubric for this section was: 'The Memories that can haunt us.' But they need not. Not if they humble us instead. This is the testimony of the chief of sinners in 1 Cor 15:9-10. There Paul asserts: 'For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called "apostle," because I persecuted the church of God; but by God's grace I am what I am...' There it is ... An indelible memory, but Paul alows it to humble him, for it is on the basis of this fact that he is (note the present tense) the least of the apostles and unworthy to be called such. And in this humility he moves beyond the despair of that memory to walk in the grace of God (v. 10a). This is not just for kings and apostles. When our most appalling memories are immersed in divine grace there is still a holy sadness, a godly grief, a broken heart, but the memories no longer haunt us.
Man, how come I'm only hearing this now? Praise God - in a week where I've been struggling with this precise issue, he uses DRD to show me the way. Honestly, not just these last few days but for ages and ages I've been worried about a right Christian relationship to past errors. They were predestined and are pardoned, but also matter massively, still affecting those you love, and others too... But where does one stand on such a spectrum? One end is almost flippancy - to which I want to say: yes they were predestined, but you're still responsible, or some-such thing. The other end is almost madness and despair: of course they matter, and their evil may still remain, but you are pardoned. It is hard to stand in the right place with stuff like that.

And for a while now I'd been beginning to understand how the gospel allows me to think of myself as lowly and weak, since there's no need for pride or position as a child of God - allows me to go around being gently surprised when things go well, because I am forgiven, have been made a child of God, and will be in Glory. I'd just not been convinced it was in Scripture, and thus DRD's stuff here is pure gold...

Memories can either haunt or humble.

Pray God I learn to choose the latter.

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