For the last few months, I’ve really been regretting something that I did. I screwed up royally. I wore my sin right out in public, and then covered it up with shame. Because I did it in public, I even tempted others to sin, people I know and care for, pray for. No one had to point out my sin to me; I recognized it immediately. Within the hour I was asking for forgiveness from God and the people who were present. Over time, the shame has dissipated, but the regret remains.
Tonight I was spending some time with God—I’ve gotten back to the point where I can do that without pain. One passage of Scripture led to another, and I ended up reading about Bathsheba. You cannot deny that Bathsheba screwed up royally; there are whole chapters to prove it (2 Samuel 11, 12; Psalm 51). OK, maybe she chose not to resist royalty out of fear for her life, but have you heard of Esther? She stood up to royalty and changed history; there’s a whole book about it. Now if Esther’s man, a pagan, listened to a God-fearing woman, don’t you think that the man after God’s own heart would listen to one? Unlike Esther, Bathsheba screwed up royally.
Flip forward a few chapters to where David is about to die. His leaders are a little confused about who will be his successor. And how does he answer them? He calls in Bathsheba (1 Kings 1:28). Yeah, guess who becomes the next king: Bathsheba’s son. Guess who fulfills the promise God had given to David: Bathsheba’s son. Guess who builds the temple, the house for the Name of the Lord: Bathsheba’s son. Guess who provides us with several books in the Bible: Bathsheba’s son. Guess whose bloodline gives us Jesus, the Promised One: Bathsheba’s son (Matthew 1:6-16). God uses “screwed up royally” to give us “total redemption.” He takes the worst and turns it into His best: His Son. Through the woman whose actions (aka sin) bring about the death of the innocent man she loves and her very innocent newborn, God gives us life. He takes what she does wrong and makes everything right.
God even uses sin for His glory. Where sin is, grace abounds (Romans 5:20; 2 Corinthians 9:8). I’m not telling you to go sin so that God can glorify Himself through you (Romans 3:7-8). Look up "antinomianism" in your dictionary of theological terms before you try that one. But I am telling you that God is bigger than our sin. That’s the main plot of the Bible—taking what Adam and Eve and everyone after them did wrong and making it right.
How did Joseph get to Egypt to provide food for the Hebrews and others during severe famine? His cockiness matched with his brothers’ sin put him there. What happened because Moses killed a man? He learned how to live in the wilderness and found a burning bush with God in it, and then he led the Hebrews back to the Promised Land. Who was the Chief of Sinners? Paul, the guy who wrote half the New Testament and convinced the descendants of those Hebrews in the Promised Land that people like you and me can receive the Promise, too.
What if Bathsheba hadn’t screwed up royally? Would we have ever had Solomon? How would history be different without him? What if Joseph’s brothers had never sold him into slavery or if Moses had never murdered a man? What if Paul had never persecuted the Church? God still would have accomplished His plan, but what mercy and love would we have missed knowing about without all these major screwups?
I don’t understand why God chooses to use even our sin to glorify Himself. But think about it. Is there anything He can’t use to glorify Himself? I don’t understand how He takes our worst, bypasses good and better, and fashions it into His best. That’s the definition of redemption, and that’s what makes Him God. We cannot screw up God’s plan. Read the end of the Book. His kingdom is bigger than our “royally.”
Go ahead, call me Bathsheba. My regret ends in redemption.