Welcome to A Scarlet Cord of Hope, the 2021 advent series of University Fellowship Church Women written and read by Jaime Sherman, who penned our Christmastime narratives from biblical, Jewish, and historical sources to tell how God wove hope from creation to the creche and who continues to point us to the final fulfillment of hope in the one-day-soon second coming of Jesus Christ. Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.
today’s suggested reading
II Samuel 7, Psalm 51 and 32
After God’s people established themselves in Canaan, they grew concerned that the prophet Samuel was getting older and that his dishonest sons, the dishonest judges Joel and Abijah, would take over leadership of Israel. So they demanded from Samuel a king to rule over them.
The prophet grieved, for God was their king, the One Who had rescued them from Egyptian slavery and made them His people. But God instructed Samuel to give the people what they wanted even though he knew they would quickly regret their demand.
The handsome young Saul was anointed as the first earthly king of Israel, but his disobedience cost him, and his family after him, the kingship. In the midst of a series of epic adventures that are recorded in I Samuel, the prophet Samuel anointed the second king of Israel, a young shepherd boy named David from the line of Judah. God’s Spirit was with Him, and in time David was crowned as king over all Israel and given God’s promise that his kingdom would be established forever — not because of any goodness on his part but because God’s plan to weave His scarlet cord of hope through the line of David.
“And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me,” God told David. “Your throne shall be established forever” (II Samuel 7:16).
David’s life story was a messy one. While he is known as a man of valor, prudent in speech, and as the psalmist bringing a sacrifice of praise before the Lord, he had an ever-growing, ugly rap sheet that couldn’t be expunged from the eyes of his subjects or the ridicule of his enemies. His record wasn’t from reckless days of youthful indiscretion but from an ever-darkening trajectory of sinful choices as he aged.
Adultery and murder topped the list and forever altered families and individuals in David’s realm, and yet God never withdrew His love from the one He called a man after His own heart. Knowing well the ugly choices David would make throughout his life, God had still chosen a young boy whose very name meant “beloved of God” to lead His people.
When faced with his sin time after time, David repented and surrendered himself to God, knowing that God would one day send One to restore all that was broken. After the prophet Nathan confronted David about his sexual sin with Bathsheba and the ensuing murder of her husband, this humbled king went before God to confess the evil of his deeds, actions he knew would forever alter his life and the lives of others in his home and kingdom. In Psalm 51, a song for mercy, David submits himself to the all-powerful Judge:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar. Psalm 51
After his prayer for mercy, David recounts the forgiveness and steadfast love of God, knowing he is forgiven. By faith he holds onto the promised Messiah, who was present at Creation, who was watching when David sinned, and who would one day die for his sins. He declared:
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. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! Psalm 32
As you read or listen to II Samuel 7 today, you will get a complete picture of God’s covenant with David for an eternal kingdom and ponder David’s prayer of gratitude. In Psalms 51, then 32, you’ll feel David’s grief over his sin and the gift of forgiveness from the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel. In humble prayer to Him, confess how you have lived in rebellion to Him, ask for Him to renew a right spirit within you, and then celebrate that He is your salvation and your hope for tomorrow.
Jaime Sherman is a writer and editor for ufcwomen.blog but most importantly a child of the King of kings, the wife of one amazing man for nearly 20 years, and mama of five girls and one boy. Learn more about her adventure in writing and enjoy some free resources on our main page for this series.