Aloe Blacc, King David and Us: Lessons in Not Being the Man
You can tell ever’ body, “I’m the man. I’m da man, I’m da man!”
It’s a catchy tune by Aloe Blacc that I have to admit I’ve found my head bobbin’ to every once and awhile. And, make no mistake about it; this is the desire of the times—to be the man!
I’m da the man, I’m da man … /
Somewhere I heard that life is a test /
I been through the worst but still I give my best /
God made my mold different from the rest /
then he broke that mold so I know I’m blessed/
As I listened to the song, I couldn’t help but think that King David and Aloe had the same tune running through their minds.Oh, I know, I know. David was a few thousand years before Aloe’s parents started to go all “Marvin Gaye” for another, but I think both men were bobbing their heads to a similar tune nonetheless. Let me prove it to you!
“And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
Here’s the question: What does sexual ethics—since contextually that’s what David has just transgressed in God’s law (i.e., adultery)—have to do with being rich or poor?
God established David as king over his people. David reigns and rules with power and wealth that no earthly king would ever know. One of his righteous men, Uriah, has not only been his comrade in arms but there’s enough textual evidence to suggest they were probably good friends. Which brings us to the tragedy of the story. David, a man tremendously blessed by God, is not only unsatisfied with the drink the Lord has poured in his luxurious cup but he selfishly desires to drink of his brother’s cup as well. And drink it up he does! After stealing the intimacy of Uriah’s marriage he then has Uriah put to death. Here now we come to our answer concerning sexual ethics and being rich and poor.
At the root of David’s sexual sin is a lack of gratitude. He lacked the resolve to make the fleeting desires of his heart sit down at the table the Lord had prepared for him and be satisfied. Specifically, the great sin of David’s heart was lack of contentment. He wanted more! He wanted “the poor man’s lamb” while at the same time holding onto his own sheep.
Nathan declares, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight?”
You catch that? Who’s “da man”? David is—only not in the way he might desire. He’s “da man” whose appetite was insatiable and whose thirst knew no satisfaction. He’s “da man” because he failed to find satisfaction in God’s goodness and mercy to him. Ultimately David’s lack of trust in God’s provision made him desire to be “da man” in a way that was unintended by God—intimacy outside of marriage. As a result, God promises that David’s descendents would know intimacy with the “sword” and “death.” So there it is. Both men bobbing their heads to a similar tune—one bobs in remorse while one bobs in self-exaltation.
So the question becomes, what’s the tune in our hearts? Are we people with an unquenchable thirst and desire for pleasure? Or, are we people who daily remind our hearts to be pleased with what God has graciously provided? Have we learned with the apostle Paul to be content in whatever situation God has called us? In marriage he has provided us with a helpmate and we need no other. In singleness God has gifted us with “anxiousness about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord” (). Don’t waste it! God has blessed the poor man with freedom from worry ; owning more things don’t make you less worrisome but more.
Do we lack faith that God’s ways and timing are better than our own? In our battle with lust, greed, and anxiety, the question is: Will we fight for joy not merely in what God will give but in what God has already given? Will we dance to a tune that acknowledges we are not “da man” and that we must wait on the Man to provide? Or will the desire to be “the man” be the constant refrain in our hearts?
Our satisfaction will come when our hearts willingly sing and confess “Jesus is ‘da man’.” Unlike King David, Jesus is the true forever King that drinks with satisfaction and rejoicing the cup His father gives him—even when it is a bitter cup full of suffering and judgment. Though the Lord had every right to rock heavenly speakers blaring his status as “da man” of the universe, he drinks deeply from a cup of humility and becomes not “da man” but a man. David’s unwillingness to wait on God made his descendants intimate with death and destruction. Jesus’ willingness to trust his Father provided for his decedents intimacy with everlasting life. Jesus trusted in his Father’s will. Will we?
I wonder what we have that we think we deserve? Are not the eyes in our head reading these letters a gift from God? Is not the sleep we took for granted last night a precious gift? Are the same words we use to declare our entitlement to people, things, and positions not of His creation? What do we have that we have not been given? The true battle of the heart as it pertains to lust and sin is one of contentment. May our hearts rejoice and sing a tune of thankfulness to God for what he has given us.
Aloe ends his song with the bridge:
I couldn’t help but think of the irony. For those who bob their heads haughtily to the tune of “I’m da man” in life, in sex, in general, there will indeed be a facing of the Son—a Son more powerful and unfathomable than the sun that sets in the sky each evening. On that day, “when the kingdom comes,” their will be no “turning to run” because the omnipresent King will do what must be done! Rather than defy God and his Christ, may we all be aggressive in finding ways to not be the “da man.” May we be men and women who daily dance to grace that over flows our cup and be satisfied with God’s call on our lives.
12:1 And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8 And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. 9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’” 13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.” 15 Then Nathan went to his house.
And the Lord afflicted the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and he became sick. 16 David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. 17 And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. 18 On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.” 19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” 20 Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. 21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” 22 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
24 Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him 25 and sent a message by Nathan the prophet. So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord.
26 Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and took the royal city. 27 And Joab sent messengers to David and said, “I have fought against Rabbah; moreover, I have taken the city of waters. 28 Now then gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it be called by my name.” 29 So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah and fought against it and took it. 30 And he took the crown of their king from his head. The weight of it was a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone, and it was placed on David’s head. And he brought out the spoil of the city, a very great amount. 31 And he brought out the people who were in it and set them to labor with saws and iron picks and iron axes and made them toil at the brick kilns. And thus he did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem. (ESV)
7:1 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
6 Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.
12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.
25 Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38 So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God. (ESV)