Daily D – 2 Samuel 11:2-5
2 Samuel 11:2-5 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
The headline asked a question: What do you get for the man or woman who has it all? The article was about Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts. Maybe a better question to ponder is how a mother or a father who has everything she or he wants should keep her or his hands off of what she or he should not seize simply because she or he can.
Now that is an awkward sentence! Intentionally so.
President Bill Clinton was asked a few years ago about his womanizing ways. He was asked why he did what he did. He famously said, “Because I can.”
How can we not read this chapter and the next without a heavy sigh? Across the distance of three thousand years, King David’s sin still grieves us. His unforced error, his signature sin, led to the death of an honorable man, the death of soldiers in the wrong place at the wrong time alongside the intended victim, and the death of an innocent child. Collateral damage is what the talking heads on television news and entertainment shows call it.
God calls it adultery and murder.
The king was sitting on top of the hill. He was literally King of the Mountain. He had it all. That’s the problem when you have it all. You think you can take whatever you want whenever you want it. You think it all belongs to you.
Unfortunately, so, so many people fail to learn the lessons of King David’s fatal failure. The owner of the local football team is dealing with an issue not unlike King David. A friend and well-known ministry leader is living through an echo of the same behavior.
Today is a good day, and right now is a good time, to decide decisively how you and I will protect ourselves and others from such despicable decisions. We cannot wait until the moment when desire turns deadly to make up our minds. Here and now is where we place safeguards in our lives. Right now is when we decide what we will not do and what we will do instead. When an opportune moment arises, we will know where to run and hide.
King David and President Clinton (and a whole lotta others) did what they did because they could. They also could have made other decisions which would have led to better consequences for them and for everyone else as well. King David and President Clinton and everyone like them saw their family lives hit the skids. They hurt a lot of people. They betrayed trust. They never again achieved the same level of esteem and effectiveness.
One prominent thinker in the history of the USA declared the simple truth that finishing well is hard. Finish well anyway. Give yourself to the good, hard work of noble living. Remember what your mother said when she told you to “make good choices.” Good choices almost always produce good results. Bad choices always leave us lacking something good, something true.
Our first, and most challenging, leadership is self-leadership. Develop the habits you need now to protect you for the rest of your life. Look at every person the way our Father in heaven does. He does not want any of us to ever indulge our sinful desires “because we can,” because we want it, because it is available, or anything else we might tell ourselves in one rationalizing manner or another.
Our Father in heaven wants us to want what he wants for us. (See Psalm 37:1-7.) What he wants to give us is many times more wonderful than what we would take for ourselves.
Protect yourself and everyone else from sin and its consequences. Make up your mind what you will do and how you will do it when your ego, your hunger, or your greed steers you into the danger zone.
I will replace my desires for God’s desires for me.
Our Father, I want what you want for me. Deliver me from evil desires leading me to take what does not belong to me, to use people like things, or to make me look powerful. Give me a biblical battle plan like Jesus had when he was tempted in the wilderness. Give me the successful outcome he demonstrated when he left the wilderness empowered by the Holy Spirit. Empower me now for what lies ahead. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”