Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Did it My Way

Today's passage:  II Samuel 11
     Maybe the reason we have so many bumps in our road in this life is because when we have too many victories, too many successes, we lose our way and wander from God.  I can only believe that is what happened to David in this chapter.  What happened here?  How did David go from being a man who asked God what to do, who quelled his enemies (all Jehovah haters) to such depravity in this passage?  It is hard to fathom.  But it certainly shows me how careful I must be.  It is a warning that each day we must live anew and devoted to God.  I can not assume that because yesterday was a "good" day, that today will not be a bad one. I can not depend on the Bible reading and prayer from last week to get me through this week.  I need to be searching for God each and every day of life.  I need to grasp hold of His wonderful mercies, of His Words of Life every day that I can.  Does it mean I still may fall?  Yes.  But the more of God's Word I have in me, the more of His wisdom I have.  The more wisdom I have, the more able I am to discern situations and hopefully steer clear of ones that could doom me.
     Let me point out one more thing in this passage.  Sometimes if we want to do things our way long enough, God says okay.  What am I talking about?  After David has committed this sin with Bathsheba, after he finds out they are going to have a child together, he does everything he can to make it look like Uriah fathered that child.  He calls him back from battle and encourages him to go home to his wife.  This backfires because Uriah has an inordinate sense of duty which dictates to his conscience that he should still act the soldier even back on the home front.  So then, David keeps Uriah off the battlefield for a few days, apparently getting him drunk so that his conscience will be dimmed, and then perhaps he will go home to his wife.  This doesn't work either.  Too intoxicated, Uriah can only stumble as far as the servant's quarters, where he spends the night.  David is getting frustrated.  Does it seem that maybe God is giving David an out here?  I mean, in both of these instances, David could have made this situation right.  He could have owned up to his sin, asked forgiveness of this brother, and let God handle the matter.  But David is still plotting and scheming.  He gives Uriah a note to deliver to Joab when he returns to battle.  David has assessed enough about Uriah that his loyalty will have him deliver his own death warrant to the general, unopened and unread.
Nathan Confronts David
Original source and illustrator unknown

     Think about that.  Wasn't Uriah even a little curious as to what the letter contained?  Wouldn't he have wanted to sneak a little peek?  God could have had that happen.  That certainly would have been an awkward scenario.  But God lets David carry out this treacherous plan.  Uriah delivers the letter with David's wishes to have him killed, Joab reads and seems to immediately understand the situation.  Maybe Joab had been accustomed to David's wandering eye.  David did have a few wives already.  Joab does not ask questions.  He does what his king orders.  The move he makes is contrary to any he would make at other times.  Joab is too good of a military leader to do what he does here.  He moves his troops ridiculously close to the enemy wall.  In Judges, there is a similar story, where Gideon's son, Abimelech goes close to the wall and a woman drops a millstone on his head, which injures him enough that he could die a slow suffering death.  He chooses to have his men to run him through so that his death is quick and so that a woman does not get the credit for his demise.  Joab refers to this incident when he sends a messenger back to David to inform him of Uriah's death.  He basically tells him, "Ordinarily, we wouldn't have been so close to the wall as our forefather, Abimelech, but you did want Uriah dead, and we achieved that objective."
     David is relieved.  Little does he know that God allowing him to have his own way, is going to bring greater grief than David feels he can bear.  Sometimes God lets us have our own way.  Many times He gives us chances to make things right, to come clean, but if we refuse, God will allow us to bear the full consequences of our choices.  I will make mistakes.  I will make big mistakes.  Prayerfully, at the first opportunity, I will make it right, and not compound it with more foolish choices.  Prayerfully, I will allow His Word to saturate my decision making to avoid the mistake in the first place.  God allows me to do things my way, but it doesn't mean I will get away with sin.

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