Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

I have a bad habit of measuring someone's degree of self-centeredness by the number of times they use the word 'I' in normal conversation. As an observational tool, it works pretty well, but improper when used as a method of judgment. It probably stems from teaching junior high school long enough to note that almost any early teen's favorite subject is themselves, and from encouraging them to note the importance of other people in it. It probably also indicates my own weakness in this area and, like former smokers, I react strongly to the smell of second hand sin.

That is one of the reasons David of Israel impresses me so much. 2Samuel 22 and 23 captures his last inspired words, the ones in which he enumerates his achievements as king and, characteristic of a man after God's own heart, he speaks nothing of his own accomplishments. He mentions little about Goliath, or of his own mercy and respect for his predecessor Saul, of his rescue of the ark of the Covenant, or any of his battle victories. He does spend a great deal of time singing the praises of his 37 mighty men. Of himself, he discusses his own sin, specifically that of pridefully counting his people. David remembered this vividly. God punished him harshly for that pride, striking down seventy thousand men with a plague, a punishment that demonstrated his sin by reducing exactly what he had elevated in committing it.

More importantly, though, in these final words, David glorified his God. He finished the story about the census by explaining how God redeemed his sin in that the whole ordeal ended when David purchased the threshing floor that eventually became the site of the new temple. The story David wanted ultimately to tell was not his own. He wanted to tell his God's. David saw little of himself in his mirror. He saw the reflection of God's glory.

The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!--2Samuel 22:47

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