A crowd of onlookers stand silently while he tees up the ball. He waggles and wiggles…starts the club back once…twice…places the large driver just behind the ball and stands still…focusing all of his attention on that little white round object. The throng is as quiet as a Vikings fan during a football game…and then…THWACK. A mighty swing from the mighty Tiger Woods and the ball sails seemingly endlessly straight ahead and the crowd yells…..YOU DA MAN!
When they yell that I don’t think they’re calling into question Tiger’s real manhood. At least I’ve not seen him stop and look down the front of his pants to make sure. No, it’s an endearing phrase in our current culture. YOU DA MAN means something like, “I wish I could hit a golf ball like that” or, “WOW, that’s amazing. Only a REAL man can do that”. But that phrase hasn’t always been received with such adulation and reverence.
As I continued reading this morning in 2 Samuel, I read these words, “You are the man!”. But they didn’t come from a cheering crowd aimed at an incredible athletic achievement. In fact, they were probably the most empty words that one of the most revered Kings in all of history ever heard. They came from Nathan and he said them to King David.
They were said in reference to a story that Nathan shared with David about a rich man who took a poor man’s lamb which had been like part of the family…like my dog Ginger is to our family, and killed it for dinner because he didn’t want to use one of his multitude of herds or flocks. This jerk took the only little baby lamb from this poor sap and killed it when he had plenty. I get angry just thinking about it. And, so did David. “WHO IS THIS GUY?”, yelled David. I’ll string him up by his toenails…I’ll torture him and use him to make sure everyone knows that this is not acceptable. “Where is he…bring him to me”, demanded David. In fact,”I WANT HIM DEAD!” Then Nathan said those 4 empty, crushing, convicting words to David…”YOU ARE THE MAN”. I don’t think David picked up his Taylor Made behemoth, tipped his hat and began walking down the fairway. Nathan’s tale was an allegory that identified what David had just done in real life. They meant, “BUSTED”!
This story is one of the most frustrating stories in all of the Bible. Here’s this king, David, who has everything anyone could want. And, he’s a man after God’s heart. I mean, he’s fearless (can anyone say “giant slayer”?), valiant (who else could refrain from striking his murder-minded pursuer dead while he slept?), God-fearing (always asking God what and how he should proceed in conquests) and a leader of men and nations. Yet, here he is on a beautiful day, taking a stroll on the roof of his not-too-small pad. It’s spring time. Birds chirping, sun shining, the smell of lilacs all around (I don’t really know if they had lilacs in Israel then but that’s what I smell in the spring). It’s G O R G E O U S. In fact, it was also a time when REAL men went to war. And, this cat has everything a man could want? So, why, David, would you do what you did? Why would you…a man with the world in his hands…look around and fix your eyes on something you didn’t need or that could only bring you trouble!!! Think Adam and Eve in the Garden. They could eat from ANYWHERE and from ANYTHING sans one little ol’ tree in the middle. Sin. It is so enticing. Why is it that the forbidden draws us to make such poor decisions. Why when there is so much good to look at on the internet, so many turn to pornography? How can a marriage that looked so promising on the wedding day and a couple that has so much in front of them turn into a nightmare of bad, selfish choices? David knows. I know. And, you probably know.
It’s SO EASY for me to get angered at David in this story. Man…you are NOT the man, David. You creep. You loser. How could you do that to Bathsheba and Uriah. And, on top of that, Uriah never falls for any of David’s ploy. He honors his military comrades and says, “Hey…if they are out there fighting, I am NOT sleeping in a bed with my wife.” That makes this even more infuriating to me.
Then, I remember the too-numerous-to-count times when I chose the path of self indulgence. I walked the path of lust-driven, self serving, shameful and making consequent bearing decisions. In fact, that’s just about every day.
I’m still mad at you, David for your choices. But, God not only forgave you (though the consequences were pretty stiff if you read on) but continued to use you. That means there is hope for me. God calls me his child. Jesus Christ’s death gives me hope that even when I didn’t know Him, He loved me enough to die for my sins…sins I hadn’t even committed yet. 100% of them.
You know…when I hear that saying “YOU DA MAN” I’ll probably think about it a little more intently. It may be that the person that’s receiving that deserves to hear it as David heard it as much as he does as an affectionate statement. We are men. That’s why we need God!