Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The More Things Change ...

It’s funny how ideas change.  Back in the fifties when people told the story of David and Bathsheba, Bathsheba was a seductress who tricked David into becoming involved with her.  These days, in the articles I read, David is completely at fault, misusing his power and forcing Bathsheba into a no-win situation.  Then there are those who theorize that God arranged the situation because He always meant for David and Bathsheba to be together; that it was a scam perpetrated by both Uriah and Bathsheba (I don’t believe Uriah got what he wanted out of that deal); and that Bathsheba was a saintly and virtuous woman on the level of Proverbs 31 – because who do you think Solomon was writing about, anyway.  Maybe, I don’t know.  A couple of writers even went so far as to compare David and Bathsheba first to Bill and Monica and then to Joseph and Mary.  I'm so confused!  Hmmm.

Well, I’m really glad that I don’t have to make the final decision about who started what.  But I think I’ve learned some very important things from this story.

There are no new sins.
Really?  No new sins?  How can that be?  What about computer fraud? Identity theft?  Internet porn?  Insurance fraud? They didn’t have those back in Bible times, did they? Some of those they didn’t even have fifty years ago.  Well, they didn’t have those particular names, but all sin is based on the same things:  
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1John 2:16  
We sin for the same reasons we always have.  We think we know better than God.
We may call things by different names, claim that we have more to deal with than Adam and Eve and declare that it’s harder for us to resist sin than it was for those earlier folk-but it’s still sin. And the results are always the same:  Sin breaks God’s heart.

Sin always leads to sin.
Do you doubt that at all?  I don’t.  Look what happened to David.  I’ll bet if anyone had asked David before he’d met Bathsheba if he would consider having one of his best soldiers whacked, he would have laughed like crazy!  But that’s exactly where he ended up, isn’t it?  And even then, he really didn’t think of himself as having gone over the edge. Not until Nathan pointed it out.  
“Every effort which David made to conceal his guilt proved unavailing. He had betrayed himself into the power of Satan; danger surrounded him, dishonor more bitter than death was before him. There appeared but one way of escape, and in his desperation he was hurried on to add murder to adultery. He who had compassed the destruction of Saul was seeking to lead David also to ruin. Though the temptations were different, they were alike in leading to transgression of God's law. David reasoned that if Uriah were slain by the hand of enemies in battle, the guilt of his death could not be traced home to the king, Bathsheba would be free to become David's wife, suspicion could be averted, and the royal honor would be maintained.”  E.G.White Patriarchs and Prophets, p.718

When we look away from Jesus, we become fish in a barrel just waiting for a worm with a hook in it to come floating by and Satan is more than ready to help us out with that.  Once we’re hooked we spend all of our time trying to get ourselves out of trouble, doing whatever we think will get us free and all the time getting dragged farther and farther away from where we ought to be.  
“David had been blinded to his wonderful departure from God. He had excused his own sinful course to himself, until his ways seemed passable in his own eyes. One wrong step had prepared the way for another, until his sins called for the rebuke from Jehovah through Nathan.”  E.G.White, Spiritual Gifts V4, p.86

Sin always deceives.
Sin always promises something it can’t deliver.  Look all the way back to Eden.  The serpent promised Eve that she would be like God and that she would not die.  Look at what we believe about the sins we commit today-Satan tells us we can be richer, happier, more popular, or smarter.  
“Satan presents sin to us as the way to life, the way to enjoyment, the way to fulfillment – when really it is the way to death and destruction.  Satan persuades us that engaging in sin will fulfill our desires, when sin gives satisfaction to our least important desires, and that only briefly, leaving us dying for true love, for true joy, and for true peace.”  Coty Pinckney, “David and Bathsheba, Bill and Monica”

Sin always destroys.
Sin destroys everyone it touches.  It destroys our relationships with people and with God.  It destroys what is the best in us and the thing we love most.  Sin never happens in a vacuum.  There is no such thing as a sin that doesn’t hurt anybody.  Look at how things ended up for Uriah, and it wasn’t even his sin!  Add to that the other good soldiers who died with him (collateral damage), just to keep David’s sin a secret.  Try to imagine grief of the families of those other soldiers who were lost with Uriah.
But most of all, God was hurt by David’s sin.  
“The Lord was dishonored. He had favored and exalted David, and David's sin misrepresented the character of God and cast reproach upon His name. It tended to lower the standard of godliness in Israel, to lessen in many minds the abhorrence of sin; while those who did not love and fear God were by it emboldened in transgression. “  E.G.White, Conflict and Courage, p.179

Sin is always discovered.
We might think we have gotten away with something, but we never do, do we?  It never fails.  I was thousands of miles from home, in a country where I didn’t know anybody, eating a hamburger and drinking a Coke.  Someone walked up to me and started a friendly conversation that inexplicably turned to me being a Seventh-day Adventist Christian and the other person remarking that they thought Adventists didn’t eat meat or use caffeine.  Wow!  How in the world does that happen?  Now I know that’s pretty mild by comparison to David, but the principle is the same.  When we are not walking with God, we misrepresent Him.
I don’t believe that David could really have kept his involvement with Bathsheba a secret, not with all the attendants and other folk whose job it was to keep an eye on the king, but even if he had kept things secret here on earth-God knew.  God always knows.
We have a song we sing in Cradle Roll that says, “Angels are watching over me” in the first verse and “Angels are seeing all I do” in the second.  Well, if we apply those same statements to God, hmmm.  We all are quick to claim that Jesus is watching over us and taking care of us, but we often forget the other half of that belief.  Jesus is seeing everything we do. 

God brought Nathan into the picture to make sure that David remembered the flipside of that coin.  God had seen his sin and was calling him to be accountable for his mistake.
“The prophet's rebuke touched the heart of David; conscience was aroused; his guilt appeared in all its enormity. His soul was bowed in penitence before God. With trembling lips he said, 'I have sinned against the Lord.' All wrong done to others reaches back from the injured one to God. David had committed a grievous sin, toward both Uriah and Bathsheba, and he keenly felt this. But infinitely greater was his sin against God. ”PP, p 722
Confessed sin is always forgiven.
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.  Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.  Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.  Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.  Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.   Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.   Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.  Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.  Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.  Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.  For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.  Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.  Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.”  Psalm 51
What else is there to say?  

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