Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 8-12; 1 Chronicles 18-19; Psalm 51 & 60
One of the most common plotlines in movies and television sitcoms is also one of the most frustrating to watch. The main character makes a mistake and tells a lie to cover up the truth, but then they have to tell another lie and then another lie to cover up the first lie. Everything becomes a mess, the truth comes out, and they realize it would have been better to just tell the truth right away. I think this is the plot of every “I Love Lucy” episode.
This morning David is that main character. David takes a break from the battlefield and goes up on his roof to walk around. From there he sees Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, taking a bath. In this moment, David makes a choice. God is telling him to look away but the enemy is telling him to look closer. God is telling David you can’t have that and the enemy is telling David you need that, you deserve that – after all, you’re the king!
This is the moment when David makes a huge mistake – not an accident but a choice. He gives in to temptation and to his own fleshly desires instead of listening to the Spirit. David’s behavior is self-serving, instead of God-serving. David did not fall into sin, he stepped into it. When Bathsheba becomes pregnant with David’s child, David makes another choice. Instead of confessing his sins, he tries to cover up his indiscretions through manipulation and lies and then murder.
If you read through this story in 2 Samuel 11, take notice that Uriah the Hittite is not even an Israelite and yet he is so dedicated that he refuses to go home and be with his wife as long as the ark and the army are out on the battlefield. David, on the other hand, is less concerned about his soldiers and the safety of the Ark and more concerned about himself. The king of Israel has always gone into battle with his army, but David remained safe in the palace while his men risked their lives for their country.
When did this shift happen? In 2 Samuel 6:14, David is dancing before the Lord with all his might, rejoicing that the Ark of God was coming to the City of David. In Chapter 7, the Lord is reminding David of where he was and to what God has brought him – “I took you from tending sheep in the pasture and selected you to be the leader of my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies before your eyes” (2 Samuel 7:8-9).
It would have been wise for David to remember all God had done for him. It would have helped David to remember God was with him wherever he went – even when he was sinning in secret, God knew all.
So the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.” David was furious…Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man!” – 2 Samuel 12:1-7a
David confessed his sin and suffered greatly due to the consequences of his first sin and the many sins he committed in an attempt to cover up the first. God forgave David but there were consequences and David’s baby lived only 7 days. This is where the movie might end but David’s story continues. God forgives David and still has a plan for his life.
The enemy has plans for us today, plans to trip us up and lead us into temptation. God has another plan – a plan that involves keeping our focus on Him and saying “no” to temptation. When the enemy says to look closer, may we hear God’s voice telling us to look away. When the enemy tells us we need something, may we accept God’s answer of “no”. Today may we give in to the urgings of the Spirit instead of the urgings of the sinful nature.
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace…
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. – Romans 8:5-6,12-14
God will give us the strength to follow Him today. We were just worshipping and praising God yesterday, weren’t we? Let’s not forget who He is, who we were and who we now are in Christ! Let’s make a choice today – let’s choose God and walk away from sin.
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner – yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me – now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you.
Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you.
You do not desire sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. – Psalm 51:1-17