pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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A Beautiful Love

Reading: 2 Samuel 11:26 – 12:7a

Verses 5 & 6: “David burned with anger against the man… He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity”.

Today’s passage comes in the aftermath of David’s affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah. We recall that David simply took what he wanted and then did what needed done to cover up the problem. At least that’s how David saw it. As the king, there was nothing outside of his appetite. David is far from that young shepherd boy that God anointed years before.

We too can get to a similar point. No, we may not commit adultery or murder, but we can commit a sin and do as David did. We can try and rationalize it in our minds. We can try and make ourselves feel better through a variety of distractions. We can tell ourselves that ‘x’ is a sin but at least it is not ‘y’. And a favorite: we tell ourselves that we are not as bad as ___. The other trap we fall into is offering up a hollow and insincere admission of sin. Yet even as we do so we are thinking about committing that sin again. There is no repentance involved.

To bring David face to face with his sin, God sends Nathan to tell David a story. There is a rich man with many, many lambs. There is a poor man with only one lamb. The rich man probably hasn’t even seen all the sheep he owns. The poor man treats the one lamb that he owns as if it were his child. When a guest arrives at the rich man’s home, instead of taking one from his own vast flock, the rich man takes the poor man’s one and only lamb. The poor shepherd boy in him kicks in and “David burned with anger against the man… He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity”. What a consequence David metes out! The wealthy man with a vast flock of wives and concubines now stands in the shoes of the one poor soldier with only one wife to love and cherish.

Nathan says to David, “You are the man”! At once David recognizes the depth of his sin. We too come to these moments. Maybe it is the Holy Spirit, maybe it is a ‘Nathan’ that God has sent into our lives. God sends us a messenger to draw us back into a right relationship with Him. The conviction falls heavy upon us and we fall before the throne, begging for mercy. In that moment, Christ reaches out, helps us up, and reminds us that the price has been paid. Once again we are made new, holy and perfect in His sight. It is a beautiful love that we find in Christ. Thanks be to God.


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Natural Tendency

Reading: 2 Samuel 11: 1-5

Verse One: “But David remained in Jerusalem”.

Today’s passage is the beginning of a very familiar story. Simply saying the name “Bathsheba” recalls the whole story. It is a story about power and satisfying the desires of the flesh. Power and lust – two things that many of us struggle with. On that level this story is uncomfortable. But we do not willingly go there, to the uncomfortable place.

In verse one Joab and the whole army head off into battle. This was the norm for the springtime. It was the time for heading off to war. “But David remained in Jerusalem”. Here is where our story really begins. Here is where it goes astray. Kings always lead the troops out in battle. That is just one of their roles as king. They lead. “But David remained in Jerusalem”.

When we consider this decision, we do not ordinarily look at it as a sin. Choosing to stay home instead of going off to war is a decision we could easily rationalize or “what if…” and move on to the rest of the story. Yet let us not go there. Let us stay with this decision. The choice to stay home indicates something askew in David. It is a way to say that he is larger than the average guy. He does not have to do what kings traditionally do. He can break the mold. He can do his own thing. He is in charge.

Here is where I connect to the story. Here is where most of us enter the story. Yes, most of us struggle with the desire for power and with lusting after the things of this world. But the decision to do his own thing is what got David in trouble. If we are honest – and this is where it gets uncomfortable – it is what causes us to sin most often too. Our natural tendency is to want to be in control, to make our own decisions, to be in charge. Here is the danger though: there is only room for one on the throne of my heart. And if it is me, it is not God. This is the danger. It is what caught David. It is what catches me.

Lord God, strengthen my faith so that I can become weak, fully yielding control of my life to you. Come, be Lord of my life. Amen.


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Integrity

The story of King David and Uriah the Hittite is quite a contrast in terms of their integrity.  David’s infidelity has led to a pregnancy so he brings home the husband to sleep with the wife to cover it up.  After talking with him about the battle, David sends Uriah to clean up and to go home for a good night’s rest.

But Uriah does not go home.  Instead he sleeps on the front steps of the palace on his mat.  David questions him and Uriah says how could he go home to sleep with his wife when his fellow soldiers are on the battle field?  So David decides to get Uriah drunk and then to send him home to sleep with Bathsheba.  But out of loyalty to and respect for his fellow soldiers, Uriah again sleeps on the palace steps.  After weeks away at war, after sleeping on the hard ground, Uriah does not go home to his wife.  Talk about integrity and commitment!  So David sends him back to battle with instructions to the general to allow or arrange for Uriah to die in battle.

David knew at the start that sleeping with Bathsheba was wrong.  But he did it anyway.  One lie grew into another which eventually grew into a murder plot and a murder.  Even though David saw Uriah’s integrity it did not kick start his own.  He allows the lies to grow and his integrity to continue to erode.  Once a lie gains traction, it is hard to stop.

All of this happened in spite of David’s knowledge that God already knew.  In this we are the same.  As soon as we sin, God already knows.  At that point we have a choice.  Do we stop, confess and repent, and seek forgiveness?  Or do we look the other way and continue in our sin?  We know the right choice.  God’s forgiveness is a gift.  All we need to do is claim it.  May we show Uriah’s integrity when we can and admit our sins when we cannot.  God loves us equally either way.

Scripture reference: 2 Samuel 11: 6-15