Sunday, May 8, 2011

Airing Our Dirty Laundry

Commentary on the Sabbath School Lesson for 5.14.11

Have you ever heard of an “Intervention”?  Wikipedia describes one like this:  
“An intervention is an orchestrated attempt by one, or often many, people (usually family and friends) to get someone to seek professional help with an addiction or some kind of traumatic event or crisis, or other serious problem. The term intervention is most often used when the traumatic event involves addiction to drugs or other items. Intervention can also refer to the act of using a technique within a therapy session.
“Interventions have been used to address serious personal problems, including, but not limited to, alcoholism, compulsive gambling, drug abuse, compulsive eating and other eating disorders, self-mutilation, tobacco smoking, "workaholism", and various types of poor personal health care. Interventions have also been conducted due to personal habits not as frequently considered seriously harmful, such as video game addiction, excessive computer use and excessive television viewing.”[1]
If you’ve ever watched the show, “Intervention” on the A&E channel, you already know that they often don’t end the way the organizers hope they will.  I’d like to point you to an intervention in the Bible (Yes there was too an intervention in the Bible…at least one, anyway),  that turned out exactly like the Organizer planned it.  In fact, it may have been the easiest intervention in history.  From what I can tell, interventions are usually a surprise event for the “guest of honor”, who might describe it more as being “blindsided” or “sucker-punched”.  I guess it all depends on your point of view.

Anyway, here’s the one I’m talking about:    
“The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, ‘There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor.  The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
“‘Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.’
“David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.’
“Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: “I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.  I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.”
“‘This is what the LORD says: “Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.”’”  I Samuel 12:1-12

Wow!   That is really direct and to the point.  Most interventions are very carefully worded.  They are filled with something called an “‘I’ statement”. (And no, that’s not a bank statement you get on the computer.)  An “I statement” is a way of helping people say things to each other without making accusations.  For example:  instead of “You never make your bed!”, you’d say something like this: “I get angry when I see you didn’t make your bed.”

That being said, Nathan and God did not worry about using “I statements.”  What Nathan did do though was start off with a parable to side step a lot of what would surely have been defensiveness and denial.  Using the parable also put David in a position to see what he had done the way God saw it.

The instant that Nathan said, 
“You are the man”, David;s heart was broken.  “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’
“Nathan replied, ‘The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.’”  I Samuel 12:13
Did you catch that?  The exact moment that David admitted his sin, God forgave that sin.  No dramatic music, no special effects, just forgiveness.  When David quit concealing his sin, his sin was covered.  One step, done.
We try to make things so complicated, and somethings are, but this isn’t. 
Here it is from David, himself:
“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
“Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
“For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
“Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.
“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble   and surround me with songs of deliverance.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
“Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
“Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.
“Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!”  Psalm 32
David learned the hard way that having your sins hidden is not at all the same as having them covered by Jesus’ forgiveness.

The question we have to ask ourselves right now is, “What am I trying to hide from Jesus?”  Wouldn’t we so much rather have whatever it is covered by Jesus’ robe of righteousness so that we can stand before God with nothing to hide?

Me, too!

[1] Wikipedia, “Intervention (counseling)”,

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