Friday, March 9, 2012

Flee temptation! Good advice from one who knows!

Next to the fall of Adam and Eve, the fall into sin by King David is perhaps the most familiar account of a fall in all the Old Testament.  David's sins of adultery and murder stand out sharply against the background of a man who is described in the Bible as "a man after the Lord's own heart."  David's story has been glamorized by movie makers but it's not that at all.  It is a frightening reminder of how vulnerable we all are.  His sins stand there as a valuable lesson and warning for us all.
David had reached the highpoint of his career.  He had distinguished himself in many ways. But sometimes the most dangerous times in our lives, the times when we are most vulnerable in our spiritual life, is when everything is going well. When life is hard, and we're struggling just to hold on, God is never far away.
David allowed himself to grow idle and become complacent.  He stayed back in Jerusalem while his troops went off to war.  He was bored.  From his palace he gazed upon a beautiful woman bathing nearby.  Her name was Bathsheba.  He forgot his devotion to God.  He forgot what was right and wrong. 
He sent his servant to find out more about her.  The servant came back with a gentle reminder for David. Knowing what David had in mind, the servant tactfully asked, "Isn't this Bathsheba,... the wife of Uriah the Hittite?"
David didn't heed the warning. He slept with Bathsheba and soon after learned that she was pregnant.  At this point David should have confessed his sin and turned to the Lord for forgiveness.  Instead, he set out to cover his tracks.  In the end, he arranged to have Bathsheba's husband killed in battle.  How the mighty have fallen!
What happened to David could happen to you and me. Look at the disgrace that many clergy have brought to their high calling by committing flagrant and disgraceful sins.  Instead of setting an example for God's people, they succumbed to covetousness, greed and lust.  David is a reminder that no one is above temptation or falling into grievous sins.
The truth is that it can happen to any one of us.  Just one "little" affair can destroy a family and a marriage.  Just one too many drinks can end up in an accident that takes the life of another human being.  The love of money can lead to committing fraud and embezzlement. Don't say, "It could never happen to me!"  That's how David must have surely felt.  It can happen to you or to me. Look into the Scriptures for examples.  Look around you.
With good reason, God tells us to flee temptation.  Stay close to God and his Word for it is only with his help that we can successfully resist the temptation to sin.  And when we fall, and we surely will, let us go back to the Lord, as David finally did, and ask for his forgiveness.