Sunday, January 27, 2013

When I'm most tempted to escape...

"In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem."  2 Samuel 11:1

The story of David is captivating and thrilling.  He is the ruddy young shepherd who is picked to ascend to the throne of Israel, he evades King Saul time and time again as he tries to take his life, and he leads Israel to one of the most prosperous times in its history.  He was considered to be a man after God's own heart.  Yet, the verse at the top signals one of the most recounted pitfalls in all of scripture.  It's so devastating, that the genealogy of Jesus references it in Matthew 1 (for the record, five women are mentioned to show that Jesus came from a broken background, "Uriah's Wife" being one of them.)  It begs the question "how could this happen?"  How could King David, a man after God's own heart, commit adultery with Bathesheba, and even further, how could he cover it up by any means necessary, ultimately ending up with the murder of her husband.

Notice what it says in the verse above.  It was the time that kings go out to battle.  BUT, David stayed home.  David was a king, he was supposed to be at war.  He was supposed to fight.  Yet, he stayed home.  Later, he dabbled on the roof until the form of a woman bathing caught his attention.  He lingered.  And then, the pull of temptation conquered him, and then he had to hide it, because she became pregnant.  He did everything he could to hide it, manipulating her husband by getting him drunk and urging him to go home and enjoy his wife.  Uriah, however, was too honorable to enjoy the fruits of their marriage while he was meant to battle for Israel.  So, to cover up his sin, David killed him.  

To summarize: David's fall began when he chose not to fight.

There's a lie in this that I think we often struggle with here, and that's the lie that it's peace-time.  We aren't at war.  We're complacent about the spiritual warfare surrounding us, and we're complacent about the death-producing sin that saturates our hearts.  It's a disaster that's waiting to happen.

I see this in my own life so often.  My first failure is rarely the "big" failure, but rather something that happens much earlier.  I forget to pray before a bible study.  I choose to skip my time in the word and instead play a game or sleep in.  Instead of doing the work I should, I choose to spend time doing something less productive.  I choose to have pride in what I do, rather than praise Jesus for what He's done through me.  

The next step is what often cripples me.  In my pride, and in my forgetfulness of how wicked my heart is and how bad the world is around me, I choose to submit to sinful desires.  I choose to daydream, rather than commune with Jesus.  I overindulge in food, saying it isn't that big of a deal, Jesus wouldn't care if I had an extra piece of pie or another wing.  I explode in rage, choosing to believe I have the right to be angry with a person who has wronged me.  

Can you relate?  You fight so hard against lust for weeks, and just when you think you have it beat you decide to be complacent to the fight around you.  You choose to skip your quiet time.  Maybe you choose to go to a website that's not necessarily bad, but it's not helpful in terms of your thought life.  And all of a sudden, you're back to giving into lust.  Or maybe it's bitterness?  You know you struggle around a specific person, but instead of praying about your interactions with them and how you can love them, instead you skip out on praying to sleep in.  Then, you meet up with that person, only for it to turn into a shouting match, or worse, you say nothing at all and all you can think of when you're around the person is how much you can't stand them, holding onto all the anger towards them.  

What do we need to do to keep from being complacent?  

Break the cycle through repentance - "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  (I John 1:9)  Ask God for forgiveness, and choose to obey Jesus.  

Wake-Up! - Sin is sin is sin.  In other words, there's no such thing as a little sin, because it's all cosmic treason against the Lord.  We need to fight against the temptation that sin is minor and that sins doesn't hurt anybody.  

Fight - After we realize that all sin is deadly, we must do everything we can to pursue Jesus and His unending Grace.  

My hope is that we recognize our daily need for the One who never lost sight of the war that was waged by our sin and rebellion, and cling to Him who constantly intercedes for us.

In His Grace,
Zack