Shepherds, Thieves and Heirs

By: Tracy Cooney
It started in secret, but David’s sin that began behind closed doors was beginning to seep out from the cracks. Nothing could stop it. Not even the body of a dead man. The prophet came to him with a parable, one that would hit close to home for the shepherd boy turned king. But David wasn’t the hero of the story this time. He wasn’t the protector of the sheep.

No, the shepherd had become the thief.

The blood of Uriah would drip down through David’s line, leaving its violent stain on his children, weaving itself into the very thread of Israel’s history. When Bathsheba was listed in future genealogies, she would be called the wife of Uriah, reminding all who read that she had never been David’s for the taking.

But rather than craft a comeback story, David penned a hymn of repentance. He wasn’t concerned with protecting his position of power, but with returning to his first love. More than anything, he feared losing the Spirit that fell on him as a boy in Bethlehem. It wasn’t time for a public relations campaign, but for brokenness, an examination of the darkest parts of his heart. And true heart cleansing is a bloody business.

Looking our sin square in the face is ugly and brutal. We would prefer to gloss over it and explain it away. We like to toe the line, offering an apology that is just remorseful enough but still protects our good standing with others. This simply will not do. When we downplay our sin, we make light of the wounds that paid our ransom. We look at the stripes on our Savior’s back and mutter, “those don’t seem so deep.”

There is a time to be wretched and mourn and weep. It’s the only way to begin to comprehend the kind of mercy it would take to save us. True repentance isn’t about restoring a position but returning to a Person. So, we face our brokenness head on. We confess. We were meant to be shepherds but acted like thieves.

And then we remember that the One who came by way of Uriah’s wife loved thieves until the day He died.

While the man hanging next to him looked like just another fellow criminal, the thief saw a Savior. He felt the weight of his guilt. He had never been more exposed to it than in that moment. Yet he didn’t ask to escape punishment. He just wanted to be with this Jesus. So, with his dying breath, he asked for rescue. And with the Savior’s dying breath, He offered it.

The thief became an heir. Jesus Christ’s broken body paid his admission into the kingdom.

Our sin was great. It was great indeed. Hallelujah, His love was greater.
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