Summary: Don’t try to quibble when it comes to accepting God’s view of things.
Title: Nobody loves a lawyer
FCF: You can’t argue your way out of judgment. You can only appeal to the mercy of Christ.
Nobody loves a lawyer.
I can say that as somebody who once wanted to be a lawyer. Nobody loves a lawyer because at one level, we know that the law should so clear. Too often, it seems that the rich go free and the guilty walk. It has been said that only difference between a dead snake in the road and a dead lawyer in the road, is that there are brake marks in front of the snake. But, I think it was Ambrose Bierce who said it best. He defines a lawyer as this: “One skilled in the circumvention of the law.” I know shouldn’t be so hard on lawyers, it’s just that 95% of them give the rest such a bad name!
In all seriousness, attorneys do good and noble things. They defend the poor, they seek justice. But often, when we use the word “lawyer,” we’re not thinking about that – we’re thinking about the guy who can get us off even when we don’t deserve. When I talk about lawyers this morning, that’s the usage I want you to hear – not the profession. Something in sour souls, of course, knows right from wrong. The question is, are we going to listen to it? Or will our inner lawyer win out?
The law, of course, is clear, even without one to speak it. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not kill. That shalt not bear false witness.” It’s hard to argue with “not.”
I think sometimes we fancy ourselves as little Davids, facing the Goliaths of our own temptations, hoping that we can be victorious. But in our scripture this morning, the King of Israel is an older man now. You may even remember that David was called, “a man after God’s own heart.” But David was also a sinner, just like you and me. The difference was, he was a shepard-king, not a lawyer-king.
In 2 Samuel, we get the big story of David. And it does include his famous fight with Goliath. But so much of the book deals with an incident that defines the peak of David’s reign. It deals with the most famous King of Israel, not in glorious battles or righteous crusades, but in terms of how he treated a man named Uriah, and his wife Bathsheba.
If you know the story, you’ll remember that David stayed home while he sent his men off to war. While his fighting men were away, he spied a beautiful woman taking a bath on the roof. In his heart, he wanted her. You could even say he coveted her. He let his desire take over, and he committed adultery with her. This soap opera might have ended there, but then, she became pregnant. They might not have had DNA evidence, but everybody would have known that she couldn’t have gotten pregnant while her husband Uriah was away at war. This scandal was going to break.
And so, David concocted a plan.
David told his general, “I want you to attack the city.” But, you’re not going to win this battle. Instead, I want you all to fall back – all except for Uriah. The general “followed orders,” and Uriah was killed. Problem solved. You might even say, “Mission Accomplished.” David had won.
Nearly a year has passed. David did right by Bathsheba. He married her and brought her into his house. The child was born, and David has gotten away scot-free. Call it executive privilege if you like, but David probably slept at night, secure in the knowledge that this scandal was behind him.
Until, one day, the prophet came.
<1 Sam 12:1-7>
This is not a story unique to the Bible.
Just in the past few weeks, we have learned that our President has been circumventing the law. The media likes to call it “domestic spying.” Depending on your politics that term may or may not be overstated, but one thing cannot be denied – it’s being done without the approval of courts specifically set up to monitor such a thing. The law is crystal clear, thou shalt get the approval of the court. But he covered it up. And for a year, he got away with it. Even now, there are lawyers arguing the case.
And don’t think this is relegated to Republican administrations only. I’m suspect if David had a press conference, he might have been tempted to declare, “I did not have sex with that woman!” How many months did we have to debate what our definition of “is” was? Normally a President in his second term doesn’t have to concern himself with fund-raising, but he passed the plate so he could pay the lawyers justifying his every move.