The month has been full of posts about God’s sovereignty, my thoughts on the evil of divorce, more thoughts on dealing with sin. And the Sunday School lessons and the pastor’s sermons keep tracking right along.
Sunday School has moved into the book of Judges. The book of Joshua reinforced to the people that if they obeyed God, things would go well. But if they disobeyed and turned their back on God, things would not go well. Not just as punishment for disobedience, but for disciplining them to bring them back. We so easily forget that we need God, desperately. We start to think we can do it all by ourselves. It’s cute in a toddler expressing “do myself!” in indignation, but it’s ugly and disastrous in adults.
The sermon this past week was on King David and Bathsheba. We learn in 2 Samuel 11:1-17 that David sent his men off to war. He wasn’t where he should be doing what he should be doing. He’s back in the palace wandering around. He entered a season of temptation.
The pastor explained that it’s easier to hit a target that is standing still. So when we aren’t where we should be and aren’t doing what we should be doing, we become easy targets for Satan. Pastor Hamer first referred to Achan (from the Battle of Jericho and the disastrous battle at Ai) – he looked and he coveted and he took (he gave in to temptation). And he caused a lot of hurt to the people of Israel (36 men died and the reputation of Israel was in danger). Then he moved to King David. He looked and saw Bathsheba. Then, instead of fleeing sin by looking away, leaving the roof, quickly heading off to find some business he should be about, he kept looking at her.
He has a very godly servant who points out this is the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Hello, David, she’s married – she’s off limits. It is dangerous to ignore counselors who point out that what you are doing or contemplating is against God’s word.
In addition to not being about the Lord’s work and being a target for temptation, and not resisting and running from the temptation, the next problem is fear. Once fear takes hold, we tend to sin even more. One sin leads to another and another.
King David finds out Bathsheba is pregnant. He’s afraid now because there is huge evidence of his sin coming out. He coveted. He committed adultery. Then he lied to Uriah trying to cover it up. And then he committed murder so Uriah wouldn’t raise accusations that David didn’t want to deal with. The son died, David’s other children experienced and caused much pain, the entire country of Israel suffered as a result of David’s sin. We like to think our sin has no affect on others, it’s private. But that is almost never the case.
The pastor followed up stating if something you are considering doing causes you great anxiety – you should step back and examine it. Is it against God’s word? Then don’t do it. Face up to the sin you’ve already committed, confess to God and to man as necessary. Make it right. Don’t compound it with further sin.
It seems easy to say, but oh so difficult to do some times. First – running from the truth when it hurts becomes a habit. Second – there are a lot of judgmental (and hypocritical) people in the world so confessing and facing up to the truth is really painful sometimes. It takes a lot of strength to not only admit you made a mistake and try to make it right, but to then deal with the remarks and treatment from people who have apparently never made a mistake in their life at all (it must be nice). Third – our self-esteem really doesn’t like to admit we messed up. We can rationalize a lot to keep from having to admit we are wrong (same goes for those people who judge others so quickly).
This is why we need to stay in the Word and take sin seriously and learn how to trust God in all things. His way really is best, and when we don’t obey Him, the best way to fix things is to turn back to Him as quickly as possible. We need accountability; counselors who we can trust and listen to, even when they are telling us things we don’t want to hear. And we need to listen to them, especially when they are saying things we don’t want to hear.
Pray – a lot. Pray for wisdom and courage and strength and discernment. Listen and think before you leap. Your conscience isn’t a perfect guide, but it can be trained to be pretty trustworthy. Then you have to listen to it.
Temptation is real. We are all very prone to it in different areas and different degrees. We need to be alert and prepared to do our part to fight temptation. And always recognize our need for a savior and rely on His strength.