Blemish or Blessing?

To be honest, I cringe every time I come across that name. There’s a part of me that wishes that it wasn’t mentioned at all. And there’s another part of me that wonders at God’s divine purposes in recording it forever.

This morning, I came across that name in 1Chronicles. It was found in the section that followed the uninspired title in my Bible which reads, “David’s Mighty Men.”

David’s been anointed king after Saul’s death. David has moved into Jerusalem after defeating the Jebusites and taking their city. And then, the inspired record makes sure to remind us that he didn’t do it alone. That accompanying him were his “mighty men.” Those who came to David at Ziklag, when he was but a fugitive. With no fame or glory to be had in those days, they joined themselves to David, the son of promise.

Warriors ready to do battle, “they were bowmen and could shoot arrows and sling stones with either the right or the left hand” (1Chron. 12:2). They were not afraid to mix it up and they were intensely loyal to David.

And, of those mighty men, thirty were the crème de la crème . . . the best of the best . . . the elite of the elite . . . the mightiest of the mighty.

Thus, it’s only fitting that they should be remembered, that their names should be recorded. And in the middle of this heaven-appointed honor role, you come across that name. Get ready to cringe . . .

. . . Joel the brother of Nathan, Mibhar the son of Hagri, Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai of Beeroth, the armor-bearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah, Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, Uriah the Hittite, Zabad the son of Ahlai, . . .

(1Chronicles 11:38-41 ESV)

Uriah the Hittite. Ugh! Did we have to bring him up again?

You know, Uriah, as in Uriah the husband of Bathsheba. The same Bathsheba David brought to his bedroom while Uriah was out fighting on behalf of his king. The same king who got his loyal servant’s wife pregnant and tried to cover it up, first through trickery and then through treachery. The same loyal servant  who was one of David’s elite. One of the mightiest of the mighty men, Uriah.  The murdered man, Uriah.

Not the king’s finest moment.

And, for those of us who want to view David as somewhat of a hero, it’s something we’d just as soon not be reminded of. After all, this is David the giant killer. David the one chosen by God to rule Israel because he was a man after God’s own heart (1Samuel 13:14).

Protected by God while on Saul’s most wanted list. Vindicated by God through his ascension to the throne. Exalted by God through the promise that through his lineage, Messiah would come. So why be reminded of this blemish on such a legacy?

Because, for God to fulfill His purposes through David’s life, David, like all men brought forth in iniquity and conceived in sin (Ps. 51:5), would also have to be forgiven for his trespass and treachery. He would have to be graced by God, having no merit of his own from which to lay claim to the throne. Eternal provision made such that, for every act that might disqualify him–even the vilest of acts–atonement might be made so that reconciliation and restoration might be possible. So that God’s purposes and promises might be fulfilled.

The stain on David’s record, that name, a reminder of the salvation that was wrought at the cross. That blemish pointing again to the blessing of the shed blood of Christ, able to cleanse from all sin.

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

(Psalm 32:1-2 ESV)

Because of grace. For His glory.

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