Summary: Ash Wednesday: Are we open with others and God about our sinfulness? We learn from king David’s life that God honors openness and "bared-soul" confession. (Note: While sermon is original, the theme is based in part on sermon helps from Concordia Publishin
A man after God’s own heart… a woman after God’s own heart? – Beloved, let us take an honest inventory – see how we stack up: My overdependence on food for comfort instead of God has created its own public witness. We know that Jesus’ divinity peeked through at his transfiguration - - but for me, a judgmental spirit works its way to the surface. We all say that we love other people, but truth be told, for me it’s not that way – I don’t like all people – in fact, I feel much more at home with folks that look and talk and come from backgrounds like mine. As far as patience is concerned – I sorely lack it. - It shows, too - I will blow a gasket and let my wrath fall upon anybody that crosses me. And you don’t have to spend too much time with me to know that my tongue is like a carving knife – tearing through my friends and family with gossip and slander. Even when I don’t intentionally gossip about others, it is just so hard for me to really be kind and speak well of some people – you know, the people that are just impossible to deal with. There are even times when these things result in a focused anger – maybe even hatred – of a person, sometimes even a member of my own family. And authority? Truth be told – I don’t have much use for any kind of authority… I know that I’m supposed to honor my parents and those in authority over me – but have you seen how my parents embarrass me; do you believe who the nation, the city, the school district elected; do you know the clown that I have to work for; how about the bimbo who is the department head – or the bozo the church called as the pastor? How can I possibly honor that kind of person?
A man after God’s own heart… a woman after God’s own heart? – Hmmm, just the public behaviors seem to rule out that possibility. If I were to start thinking about my secret life – that would really blow any chances for that title. If you only knew what goes on in my thoughts… if you only knew what happens just between me and my computer and Internet connection… if you only knew where my mind goes when I see an attractive person of the opposite sex… if you only knew how quickly that I would trade my morals and integrity for just one really quick splurge of emotion and physical rapture… if you only knew how much it bothers me to have to come to church on the only day that I have to rest… if you only knew how quickly I forget that hour on Sunday morning after I leave church… if you only knew how long it has been since I opened my Bible to spend time with God. Truth be told – honestly – I only want to have to deal with God when the chips are down – so I sort of treat Him like my ace in the hole instead of my Creator, my Lord, my Savior and Heavenly Father.
David – the second king of the people of Israel and Judah: - here we have a man who was an ancestor of Jesus; a man greatly revered as king of the people of God; a man of valor and courage and skill granted many victories and honors by God; a man who was a musician, a poet and who had a sensitive spirit for things of God; a man who was praised and honored. Here we have a man with many, many moments of personal integrity and uprightness – and these recorded in the Scriptures. Here we have a man whom the Scriptures call - a man after God’s own heart.
And yet, we know that David sinned – both privately and publicly. We know that he dishonored God with both his words and his actions. You see – David had a hard time with monogamy. He had a number of wives and was ever expanding his harem by taking on more concubines. This had created some incredibly – I mean incredibly impossible family situations. Because he had sons and daughters from different wives – one of David’s sons had an incestuous desire for one of his half sisters – and followed it through by raping her. David – in the worst traditions of the uninvolved father - knew about what happened and didn’t deal with it. This caused the young girl’s brother, Absalom, David’s son – to take matters into his own hands. So Absalom killed the half-brother who had raped his sister. Talk about dysfunctional families! David - a man after God’s own heart? – how can this be?