The Brutally Honest Surgical Self-Confrontation


Why doesn’t Nathan simply rebuke David on the spot? Why the long story and the strategic side-tackle?

It’s because before confronting ourselves, we need to undo our self-righteousness.

We each have a nearly impenetrable fortress of resistance when we’re called out on our wrongs. It keeps us blind to our blindness.

The way that God punches through David’s self-deception is one of the most lauded turns of literary brilliance in written history. Nathan doesn’t simply accuse David. Nathan peels back David’s self-righteousness by turning his rules against him. David is knocked over by the weight of his own standards. The very mechanism by which David has condemned the guilty to cover his guilt is turned on himself. His excuses have become his own liability, like a sword with a blade on both ends. It’s what Jesus meant when he said, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  

David required a brutally honest confrontation, but it would take more than a lesson in theology or a list of sins. No one changes that way.

God rebukes David by first removing any possibility of an excuse or objection.
God revokes David’s self-righteous capacity to absolve his own sin.
David needed to confront himself, before the sight of God, without the slimmest avenue of escape or deflection.

If you want any hope of change, freedom, progress, recovery, and growth: you’ll need to confront yourself, too. It’ll be the most painful thing you’ve ever done, because we’re so used to protecting our fragile, brittle egos. But it’s more painful to stay stuck in the lie.

If you’ve ever tried to confront your friend about their thing, you were amazed at their automatic defenses and sudden snarling. I’m sometimes surprised by my own excuses, too. When I’m guilty, I attack. It’s the perfect way to get out of accountability. When someone does something wrong, it’s all their fault, but when I do something wrong, it’s my environment or my family or my stress. When we get caught red-handed, we go into a monologue of rehearsed responses that we almost really believe, because it took so many steps of rationalizations to get there.

When you want to escape by saying, “Well-what-about-them?” — God will twist you around to say, “Well-what-about-me?” The only thing that will destroy hypocrisy is humility. Part of humility is to quit holding up a mirror at others and to use it on myself first.

For the first time in a long time, David is being honest with himself before God. He lets the truth undress him. There’s no place for him to run. His own judgment has betrayed him, and this is how God will work on us, too. He will dislocate your blame, one excuse at a time, until you really take a look at yourself and see you as you really are.

J.S. Park | The Life of King David

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Taking Down Goliath Starts Here.


Right now, you might be facing a ton of giants, and others have told you to “be the bigger person.” This is good advice and I recommend it. Yet if everyone is trying to be the bigger person, we end up stomping on each other. If you treat every person and problem like Goliath, you’ll be bitter all the time. It’s a triumphalist, self-affirming theology that cries, “They’re in my way.” It stirs up a dichotomous conflict by turning people into obstacles and critics into haters. It keeps us in the cycle of retaliation.

Taking down Goliath means taking me down first. It’s me. I’m the giant. I’m the bad guy.

The thing is, the idea of the “underdog” shouldn’t even have to exist. It implies that there is “my side” versus “your side” and it forces me to demonize an opposition. We cheer when an underdog wins, but we forget that someone else had to lose. You might think you’re the good guy, but to someone else, you’re definitely the bad guy. So who is cheering for whom? Who gets to win?

Jesus is the only one who won every side by losing for them. In order to undo our back-and-forth, binary violence, Jesus stepped into the crossfire and called us all equally loved and heard, which meant that every side hated him for loving the other side. He got rid of sides. He crossed the dichotomous divide of demonization. The divide died on the cross with Jesus. He called you a friend when you called him an enemy. Jesus killed his enemies by making them friends. And that’s why they had to kill Jesus.

But I can’t be against them. I’m them. You’re them. And I’m crossing over, that grace might win.

— J.S. | The Life of King David


David: Chronic Doubter, Constant Believer

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One of the most remarkable things about David was his doubt.

All through the Psalms, we see David contending with his doubts about God. Whenever there’s a stanza of praise, it follows just as quickly with despair and confusion.

There are so many Psalms where David is singing in a flowery refrain of awe, but out of nowhere, he’ll say, “Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.”   It’s all going so well, until you turn the page. These are like cysts that swell over the canvas, so jarring and troubling that you won’t see them on coffee cups and Twitter.

David was really all over the place in his faith.

But just as much as David interrupts his own Psalms with rage and grief, these are rolled over by a sudden clarity of God’s goodness, like a splash of cold water for bruised, bent hands. Most of the Psalms have a Turn, an about-face resolve where David recalls the truth about God’s sovereignty. These upward Turns don’t solve the situation, but they break David’s fear and paralysis, and keep a terrible season of life from making him just as terrible.

These sharp Turns in the Psalms are a frail and feeble call to remember God in the midst of so much distress. The deepest of David was calling out to deep.
In David’s prayer-life, we see both severe drops into depression and sudden bolts of euphoria, and we find a point of dizzying tension.

David managed to live with both complete joy and complete sorrow at the same time. He had a foot in the heavens and a toe in the abyss. He had a frighteningly pessimistic view of the world in the worst of his questions, but he was absolutely optimistic about a God who was working all things together.

David let the gravity of his hopelessness sink in. The Psalms are full of yelling because David and the other psalmists don’t hide under false coping mechanisms to dampen the pain. They hardly ever run to thrills and pills and religion and therapy, and if they do, they just as quickly run back. David allows the emptiness of his heart to take full course until the bottom gives out, so that he has no other choice but to find refuge in a bottomless God. The resolve of every Psalm could only come by scraping along the walls of a downward spiral, until there was a landing. It’s in our full-on grief that we find the fullness of grace.

— J.S. Park | The Life of King David


My Newest Book: The Life of King David


Hello wonderful friends! I’m excited to announce my newest book, The Life of King David: From Stone Slinger to Royal Sinner

This is a literary dynamic journey of David, from an unknown nobody to overnight celebrity, to his dark side as a chronic doubter and a royal sinner, and how his life ultimately points to Christ. It’s in a devotional style written for those who feel a bit intimidated by the Old Testament and have always wanted to get in-depth on David. Each chapter is wrapped in theology, philosophy, psychology, application, and the genre thrill of narrative. In discovering David’s story, we find our own.

It’s in paperback here and ebook here. The Preface is here or you can preview the book on Amazon. The rest of my books are here.

Be blessed and love y’all! — J.S.