Posted by: arieliondotcom | April 9, 2013

The Delicious Day of Decline (2 Samuel 11)

The Delicious Day of Decline
(2 Samuel 11)

Everyone knows the story of David and Bathsheba. It has been made into movies. And I think it’s used as an excuse: “Well if David himself committed adultery I should get a freebie!” Christian adulterers actually feel smug and self-righteous about having something in common with him, I think!

If you have ever heard 2 Samuel 11 preached you’ve heard it emphasized that David should have been out with his troops instead of hanging around the palace. Then he wouldn’t have seen Bathsheba and none of this might have happened. And that’s probably true.

But what you never hear is that it was a delightful day for David. The day that would put the rest of David’s life in decline, that would devastate his family, his country, his reputation, his legacy and dishonor GOD, was an absolutely delicious day for David. And that is what makes it so terrifying.

You know the feeling. It’s a beautiful Spring afternoon and you take a nap. In David’s case it was on the roof of his house. Even poor people would have flat rooves that they used as verandas to catch the breeze and David’s roof would be higher than most. He would have a panoramic view of the city. So he gets up from his nap and strolls about the rooftop enjoying the refreshing breeze, the scents of the trees and flowers that would be just starting to bloom. Spring Fever. Boredom mixed with itchy blood, like a lion on the prowl for something. A delicious, delightful, decadent feeling.

The difference is, for you and I, that we have limits. We know that if we indulge those lusts born of our boredom we will be easily caught. Foolishly we usually indulge in sin anyway. But the limits of our lives usually…usually, I say…reign us in. And usually it keeps us to romancing our wives and keeping the sin in our hearts as we think of another woman or think of only sex and not the soul inside the shell we’re holding.

But for the first time in his life, David realized that in terms of other humans, he had no limits. He literally had a harem (though a small one) of wives he could have enjoyed with or without a sinful heart. But on that delicious, delightful Spring day, as he stretched himself in the prime of life over a country he absolutely ruled, he knew he could physically take whatever he wanted. And when he saw the glory that is womanhood in the glow of the afternoon sun, he wanted her. We might even be crass and say “that.”

Because David wasn’t thinking with his brain. He knew Uriah. Uriah was one of his closest guards. That’s why he lived so close to David that David could see Bathsheba so closely. But that thought of betrayal didn’t register. He wasn’t thinking with his ears because the word “wife”, not “widow” didn’t stop him. And saddest of all, he wasn’t thinking with his heart. We know from previous Scripture that the Holy Spirit had dwelt in David’s heart since childhood. But he didn’t listen to those warnings.

David listened to his crown. He had never before used the full breadth of his power as king but now gave full reign to it. He saw what he wanted, Bathsheba, and ordered she be brought to him. He had sex with her even though she had been bathing from purifying herself from her menstrual cycle and got her pregnant when her husband was away at war. And once on a roll, David kept going. At least a month goes by when he gets word that Bathsheba is pregnant. Uriah is still at war and can’t be the father so David acts fast. Hoping Uriah isn’t as good with math as he is with a weapon, David orders Uriah back from the front. King David smugly thinks he has outwitted sin.

But understand that David has enjoyed it until now. A glorious day, an evening of sex with the object of his desire, and the power to make it all happen at will without consequences. So he thought.

But Uriah’s noble heart defeats the king’s plot. Uriah acts more like David than David does. Just as years ago David had not allowed himself a drink of well water his men had risked their lives for, Uriah won’t allow himself to enjoy comforts, including his wife, his comrades in arms can’t enjoy in their homes with their wives.

So lust and adultery roll into deception for David. Still playing some obscene game of chess with Uriah as pawn he tries to get Uriah drunk to overcome his nobility. But even that doesn’t work. So he sets Uriah up to be murdered.

Joab, who was a sketchy fellow for having tricked the noble Abner into a death trap is now used by King David to murder another loyal, noble soldier. But this time with David’s blessing.

David had a delightful day. And the result already is ruining his reputation with the servants who arranged his liaison and the soldiers, including untrustworthy Joab. He had dishonored the Name of the LORD and the reputation of Believers and the kingdom. And things would get much worse.

We all know the story of David and Bathsheba. But what we need to remember is that the beginning of sin is delightful. The forbidden fruit is a pleasure. But deadly. Guard your heart. And know that the reason even Believers must guard their hearts is that sin is so subtle and so sweet. In Philippians, the Apostle Paul will tell us that the peace of GOD will help guard our hearts. But there’s a prerequisite: prayer. Petitions. Requests. Constant communication with GOD. The Holy Spirit guards our heart but our free will always has a key. We may still sin as Believers, with horrible consequences for us and others, including death, though our souls are saved. (Paul will refer to this happening to Believers who dishonored the LORD’s Supper/Communion).

A daily diet of prayer is the only hope of losing a taste for the delightful deliciousness of sin.

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