May God Deal With Me Rather Than Man

Before David got up the next morning, the word of the LORD had come to Gad the prophet, David's seer. ''Go and tell David, This is what the LORD says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.''
So Gad went to David and said to him, ‘’Shall there come on you three years of famine in the land? Or three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you? Or three days of plague in your land? Now then, think it over and decide how I should answer the one who sent me.''
David said to Gad, ''I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for His mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.''  

 2 Samuel 24:11-14

David had sinned and there were three consequences: first, three years of famine in the land; second, three months of fleeing from his enemies; third, three days of plague in the land. None of these were pleasant options. It is interesting that all these plagues were part of the consequences that Moses had said would come upon Israel if they violated their covenant obligations to God (Deuteronomy 28:15-25).

David’s response was an insight into both the heart of man and the heart of God: ‘’I am in distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for His mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.’’  David was quite advanced in years at this time and had seen quite a bit in life. In his youth, he had been subjected to the brutality of King Saul. He was on the run for years, sleeping in caves to elude capture. He himself had sinned by taking someone’s wife and authorizing the death of the person. He had seen rape and violence in his own household. His own son had usurped the throne for a period, slept with his concubines in the sight of all Israel and caused thousands of people to die in battle.

David knew that humans could be cruel and merciless, but God is merciful even in judgment. David himself had experienced divine mercy by being pardoned when God should have killed him for his sins. He had seen God take away the first son he had with Bathsheba, in judgment, but he had also experienced divine mercy when God blessed them with Solomon and sent Nathan to name the child Jedidiah because He loved him.

Choosing to fall into the hands of God rather than man was not a debatable thing for David. The contrast is clear. The Bible describes the heart of man as desperately wicked and beyond cure (Jer. 17:9).  But God describes Himself as the ‘’. . . compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (Exodus 34:6-7). Man is wicked; God is merciful!

But my question is: As Christians, who have the Holy Spirit of God in us, and who are being changed daily into the image of Christ, should our hearts be still wicked and beyond cure? 
Shouldn’t we be seen by others as merciful, compassionate and abounding in love?

Prayer: Search my heart O God and cleanse every form of wickedness in me. Amen.