By John Greco
First Kings opens with David reigning in Jerusalem. But this is not the David we remember—the David who slew Goliath with a stone, the David who lived out in the wild, keeping one step ahead of a murderous king, the David who danced freely before the Lord as the ark of the covenant was brought to Zion. This David can no longer fight, run, or dance. He is frail, sick, and old. He’s unable to keep warm, no matter how many blankets are brought to his chambers. His story, this side of heaven, is coming to a close. He knows it, and so does everyone else.
David was far from a perfect man. Years earlier, he sinned with Bathsheba, and then he murdered her husband, Uriah. David repented, and I believe God cleansed his heart, just as he asked Him to (Psalm 51:10), but still I wonder if all those memories—the shame, the sorrow for sin—came rushing back into his heart when Bathsheba entered his room in those final days. She wasn’t there to bring up old wounds, however; she was there to fight for her son, Solomon: “Now, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you to tell them who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him” (1 Kings 1:20). David didn’t refuse her.
Throughout his life and reign, David trusted God to be faithful, despite his own sins and weaknesses. That’s why I think it’s so fitting that Solomon was given his father’s throne. As the son of Bathsheba, Solomon was a product of David’s sin. Solomon wasn’t the son who was conceived by the original illicit act, of course. He came sometime later, after Uriah was gone and David married Bathsheba. But still, Solomon would never have been born if David hadn’t sinned in the first place. Solomon is, therefore, a product of David’s weakness while also being a testament to God’s unbreakable promises. He is an image of beauty wrought from brokenness, light pulled from darkness, and redemption pieced together from bits of rebellion. In that, there is a flashing neon sign pointing to the gospel.
None of us deserves to be a recipient of God’s grace and mercy, yet here we stand. And not only that—the Lord is taking our brokenness and turning it into something whole and new, something truly beautiful. Like Solomon before us, we will someday reign (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:4–6). When that day comes, it will not be because we’ve earned it or in any way deserve it. It will be because God is faithful and loves us more than we can possibly imagine. But that’s how redemption works—we trade our junk for His glory. Remember, it was sinful hearts that sought Jesus’s blood, but it is only Jesus’s blood that can cleanse sinful hearts. God is in the business of making the dark and ugly places of life into something new and beautiful. In that, there is hope for us all, no matter how high the stack of regrets we may carry with us.
Written by John Greco