When you think about Christmas, what comes to your mind? A young couple looking for a place to rest for the night…? An over-crowded stable…? Stars, shepherds and wise men…? The nativity scene that we have in our minds gives us a wonderful picture of mercy and hope…but it is not the full picture of Christmas. The major themes of Christmas match the themes in David’s life–Sin, Rebellion and Justice. These “Christmas themes” emerge as when we consider Sheba’s Rebellion from 2 Samuel 20.
Sin: After 2 Samuel 11, we see the consequences of David’s sin with Bathsheba. The REST OF DAVID’S LIFE is marred by his selfishness and disregard for the glory of God. Thus, even the “man after God’s own heart” has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. This week, we’ll see this theme continue as David is met with more deception, murder and loss.
Rebellion: The time of rebellion and revolt against David’s kingdom does not end with Absalom. In fact, there is now a man who can “do more harm than Absalom” that is revolting against God’s anointed. Sheba appears to be a man with much influence and power, as he is able to draw the men of Israel away from following David with a word! At the same time, David’s former general sees his replacement as an enemy and a threat to his personal reputation–despite the clear instructions from the King for Amasa to lead. As a result of David’s sin and lack of leadership, this rebellious general takes matters into his own deadly hands.
Justice: Despite the deception, murder and rebellion, God puts down the revolt and brings the rebels to justice. David’s kingdom is again preserved and David seems to have learned from the experience with Absalom, as he quickly disposes of Sheba and his revolt. Despite David’s past failures, God’s justice prevails.
Perhaps you’re thinking: “What does this have to do with Christmas?” Come on, we don’t hear songs on KSBJ about our sin and rebellion, and God’s just punishment against that sin–we hear “Happy Holidays,” and “Santa’s Comin to Town!” But, Christmas is centered on these very themes. God did not send his Son into a world of “good hearted, safe people.” He sent Jesus to a place where people would hate him, reject him and ultimately murder him! Because of sin, we have Christmas. The best way to think about sin is to think of it as rebellion. We are rebelling against our Father, our holy, creating and sustaining God! Instead of worshipping God for who He is and giving thanks to Him, we shake our fists in his face and choose our own path. Because of rebellion, we have Christmas. And God’s justice is prevailing as he sends Jesus to earth! God’s glory is at stake as He has ” passed over former sins .” So, more than a cute baby in a manger, Christmas is about God punishing His son in our place! So we cannot think about Christmas apart from God’s justice.
One theme that also appears over and over in David’s life is mercy! Think of God’s response as David repents, after being confronted with his sin by Nathan: ” The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die ;” This is the essence of Christmas–Mercy! It’s not that God simply winked at David’s sin, or denied it. He knew that sin and the sins of all who would believe would be atoned for at the Cross. This week at Redeemer, we will consider the themes of sin, rebellion and justice, from the merciful shadow of the Cross of Jesus.