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"In the spring of the year,when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.
Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman who was very beautiful taking a bath. He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her."
- 2 Samuel 11:1-4
I was reading a book earlier about spiritual disciplines, it tackles about how spiritual disciplines can make a difference to a Christian in a rotten world. And then, I remember the story of David, the greatest King that Israel had, a man after God's own heart - from how he became a king and what made his kingdom to decline.
Why King David fall? How it was started? Like any other stories in the bible, a man's success usually ends when they forgot that there is a God in their life. David's forgetfulness of God made his kingdom to fall from the hands of his own son Absalom. But how David forget God when he is a man after His own heart? Keep reading so you will know.
During the time of King David, there was a never ending war and conflicts on their neighboring countries. These nations gather together with one purpose - to destroy Israel. In that period, it was normal for a king to go battle with his warriors to defend his country and his people, to conquer new territories and to kill other kings. But it was said in the scriptures, David let his generals and armies fight the Ammonites - leaving David relaxed, probably wandering around his palace and extremely bored.
At that day, David wasn't woke up with the intentions in his mind to sin but that day he sinned. One late afternoon, while he was walking on the roof of the palace, he saw a very beautiful woman who was bathing without modesty. Why without modesty? Because she could go to a private place where no one can see her bathing or maybe she could dress an appropriate wear for bathing.
David have been captivated to the beauty of this woman named Bathsheba. David did not stare once but he stared for a while made him to sin and forget God. His lust-glazed eyes cloud the image of God, thus he call his messengers to get her quick and David slept or sexed with her that night. That was only the beginning, David rationalize the sin did and attempted to ask Uriah his faithful warrior to go home and sleep with his wife but Uriah didn't.
And so, David became a calculating liar, that he plotted Uriah's death to cover what he did with Batsheba. And after that, the events were so fast, David's first son with Batsheba died, his beautiful daughter Tamar was raped, his son Absalom killed Ammon because he raped his sister, then Absalom led a rebellion against him that made his kingdom to fall. By just committing an adultery, he almost disobey the ten commandments of God.
I see three points that we can learn from David's story:
David was relaxed, he never thought that his relaxation will extend to his moral life. It happens, sometimes when we are relaxed, it is hard to maintain an inner discipline. The lesson here it's just when we think we are safe, when we are don't need to guard our hearts, when we think we will never compromise and we don't need to improve our inner discipline of integrity and purity, that's when the temptation will come!.
Temptation will try to take control over us, and if it wins, it make us to fixate on the sin and at that moment God disappears from us. I like the description of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to temptation, he said "Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God. And now his false hood is added to this proof of strength. The lust thus aroused envelops the mind and will of man in deepest darkness. The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us."
It's when we are in the grip of lust, God disappears from us.
2.David's rationalization of his sin.
To define rationalize, according to dictionary.com it is attempt to explain or justify (one's own or another's behavior or attitude) with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate.
Not long after that, David slept with Batsheba and after knowing that she was pregnant, his behavior suddenly change and made him to be a calculating liar and a master-mind behind Uriah's death.
In today's generation, sensual images, adultery and fornication is already a norm. You can't watch movies nowadays without kissing scenes, sexually explicit scenes and other immoral practices. Why because we Christians are afraid to stand out, we are afraid to be rejected and condemn by other people as religious freaks.
How rationalization occurs? It happens when we are defending the sin or attempting to sugar coat it.
"It is okay for him to tell others to be gay, there's nothing wrong about it!, it's his choice anyway". - God condemns homosexuality as a sin, why instead encourage the person to find his identity on God not on what others think of him!. Besides, there is only female and male, and more than that is evil!
"God's will for me is to be happy, he would not deny me anything which is essential to my happiness". - God is not a genie who will adjust to you.
"God is love, and I love this person so I think God will understand me if I will give up myself to him even for one night". - it is lust not love!
"It is okay to watch movies with sexually explicit content as long you will not give in to temptation". - is that even possible?
A Christian who rationalizes a sin could even say "By grace we have been saved, I think God will not even care if I sin again because he said I am clean already, don't become so judgmental as you are already judging me!." - a Christian who cannot accept the truth, and only wants to hear what he or she wants to hear from others and only do what others want so that he or she can please other people.
That's when David became a calculating liar. He allowed adultery to take control of him and so other sins followed.
- He broke the 10th commandment of God that led him to commit adultery.
- He steal his neighbor's wife thus he broke the 8th commandment and broke 6th commandment as well.
- He broke the 9th commandment by bearing false witness against his brother.
And then his decline happened so fast:
- David's first son with Batsheba died.
- his beautiful daughter Tamar was raped by Ammon.
- his son Absalom killed Ammon because he raped his sister,
- then Absalom led a rebellion against him that made his kingdom to fall.
This made me to realize that maintaining spiritual disciplines is important for a Christian life. I myself, I admit that I'm struggling with the area of lust so I continue fighting it with the help of God. There was also a time when I lie because I know what I did was wrong, and so my behavior changed caused me to bear false witness to other people, causing me to twist what is true. This what makes a Christian life so exciting. Nevertheless, Apostle Paul encourage us to stay in faith no matter how hard the battle is. In Acts 14:22 he said "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God".
By having an accountability group, daily prayer and meditating on scriptures, training of our minds, and putting hedges around our lives will help us to avoid what happened to King David. Actually while I am writing this blog entry, I am preaching this to myself as well and it hit me hard!
Men it is also good lesson for us. We must refrain from inviting woman to verbal intimacy or pouring out our troubles and all of the details of our life and bare our hearts to them - you can only do that to your spouse (for married men). Because talking about personal matters, and problems can fill another's need for intimacy and will awaken a desire for more and many affairs just began this way. As men guard we should guard our heart and guard our mouth - stop sharing what is unnecessary!
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