"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Integrity part 3: Lessons from the life of David

King David’s life slipped into territory reserved strictly for weekday soap operas pretty quick. Ironic since the whole incident started with a bath gone horribly wrong (get it…soap opera, bath…soap…bath…funny, right?). Equally ironic since the lady bathing was named Bathsheba…but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s look at David’s blunder, and the how he responded to the confrontation of his sin.  2 Samuel 11 says,

1 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.

There is a bit of a conflict in that first verse. It was the time of year when kings go out to war, yet David was bumming at the palace. David was not where he was supposed to be. There was a battle for him to be fighting
Like David, we too have been given a war to fight. Ours is a spiritual battle. We have been called to make disciples, to share the gospel of Christ. To do this effectively, we also have to battle our own sinful desires. But doing both of these things works best with a team of warriors fighting beside us. 4th lesson in integrity: Are you fighting your battle with a team of soldiers?

God has graciously given me a group of guys who I meet with regularly. They are my fellow warriors. Like David’s army, they are mighty men. Friends, we need brothers and sisters in arms fighting the spiritual battle with us—fighting our own sin and temptation to maintain integrity, and fighting to win souls. What is church if not that? I want to be a battleship—not a cruise line. When Christ returns what do you want to say to him—I sought souls for your kingdom, or I spent my years warming a pew?

2nd Samuel 11 goes on to say,

2 Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace.

Let’s just stop there, shall we? What was David up to? Napping mid-day, taking strolls on the roof…there is no problem with finding rest every now and then—in fact God asks us to, but this was not the right time for it, not when his men are out fighting his battles. He is not using this time wisely. Chances are if you got a bunch of free time with nothing constructive to fill it with, you also have a lot of sin issues that need dealing with. Idle time is the breeding ground of all sorts of evil. 5th Lesson in integrity: Don’t be idle?

…As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath.

David was in the danger zone. He saw a beautiful woman and instead of fleeing temptation he lingered. Jesus says in Matthew 5:28 that if you look at a woman with lust in your eye, you have already committed adultery with her in your heart.  6th Lesson in integrity: Flee the danger zone.

What temptations do you need to flee from? Gossip, alcohol, anger, sex? We all have our sins of choice—let’s not give ourselves an opportunity to choose. When temptation attacks, run for your life!

3 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.” 4 Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her…

And that dirty slushy ball of sin grew as it snowballed down the hill. Unrepentant sin tends to breed new sin. David got Bathsheba pregnant, and attempted to cover it up through deceiving her husband; inviting him home from the battlefield, with the hope that he would sleep with his wife. Because Uriah is an honorable man, he refuses to face the comforts and pleasures of his wife’s company while so many others were suffering out on the battlefield. Since Uriah doesn’t bite the bait, David conceives a plan to have him killed.

David the king  royally messed up!

So, how does David’s response to confrontation compare with Saul’s? Let’s read it:

2 Samuel 12: 1-13,

1 So the LORD sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. 2 The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. 3 The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. 4 One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.”

5 David was furious. “As surely as the LORD lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! 6 He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.”

7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The LORD, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. 9 Why, then, have you despised the word of the LORD and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. 10 From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own.

11 “This is what the LORD says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. 12 You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”

David Confesses His Guilt

13 Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

7th Lesson in integrity: Do you have a Nathan in your life? Are you willing to listen to him or her? I have a friend who really cares about me. He asks me the tough questions. When I fall short, he calls me on it, and helps me get my feet walking in the right direction again. We all need a Nathan in our life.

When looking at Saul and David and comparing their two mistakes, if you were to ask me, it appears that David’s was a little bit more extreme. Yet, David was the one who was made right again. Why is that?

What sets Saul and David apart in their responses to the criticism from the Lord they received through two godly prophets? Like Saul, David confessed his sin, but unlike Saul, David admitted his sin right away without any justification. Why was David’s confession more favorable to God then Saul’s? We are not told, and can only guess. God does not look to our outward actions, but the motives of the heart. David was truly repentant, when it appears Saul was not. David cared about what God thought, while it appears Saul was concerned with the opinions of others.

David wrote a Psalm in response to his sin. I will share a few verses with you. Notice how similar his words are to the response given to Saul after he fell from grace.

Psalm 51:10-12, 16-17

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit[d] from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you...

...16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

May we walk in companionship with the Lord our God with repentant hearts, and offering our obedience through a spirit broken for his Glory.

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